The second ministerial conference was held in February during Winnipeg’s Festival du Voyageur. The main theme of the conference was intergovernmental cooperation oriented around the development and enhancement of francophone communities in a minority setting. From that flowed various activities to facilitate cooperation and exchanges between government translation bureaus.
Following a presentation by the francophone community, the elected officials decided to encourage the holding of economic development forums for the francophone communities. Canadian Heritage agreed to help get such a project off to a start. It was in large part the desire and encouragement of the politicians present at the Winnipeg gathering that gave francophone economic development the infrastructure and momentum it has today.
The francophone business forums that took place in Saint-Georges-de-Beauce in December 1996, St. Boniface in February 1998, and Bathurst in June 1999 were the result of a recommendation by the ministers. The francophone communities have put some extremely solid and worthwhile structures in place, with participation and support from their municipal, provincial and federal governments.