By Jesse Robitaille
The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) has launched a committee to expand its French-language presence in not only Québec but across Canada and francophone countries worldwide.
The six-person committee includes:
- Mario Chevrette, the president of Montréal’s Lakeshore Stamp Club;
- Stéphane Cloutier, the auction manager of Ottawa’s Sparks Auctions;
- Hugo Deshaye, an RPSC director and long-time Québec dealer;
- George Pepall, a long-time RPSC official and past president from Kitchener, Ont.;
- RPSC Secretary Jane Sodero, of Halifax; and
- Grégoire Teyssier, another Québec-based RPSC director with deep roots in “Organized Philately.”
The committee’s creation comes after RPSC officials unanimously passed a motion at the society’s May 2 board meeting “to make more room for the language of Molière in our national society,” according to the new committee’s first official statement, released in early May.
The reference is to Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (known by his stage name Molière), an iconic French actor, playwright and “the greatest of all writers of French comedy,” according to Ronald Tobin, a research professor of French at the University of California in Santa Barbara, writing for the Encyclopedia Britannica.
The RPSC has made “great efforts to give a better place to the French language” in recent years, according to the committee’s recent statement.
Each issue of The Canadian Philatelist (TCP), the RPSC’s bimonthly journal, is partly bilingual, with some of its text written in both English and French. The society’s National Office also offers francophone services through a two-person committee of Deshaye and Michèle Cartier, an award-winning exhibitor from Coteau-du-lac, Qué.
Fulfilling these services, however, can prove difficult if French-speaking or bilingual directors cannot be recruited—something that has been an issue in the past.