8 February 2012
To the editor of Fiddlehead Focus:
First of all, to clarify the matter, we’re not broke.
The Maine Regional Coordinating Committee of the Congrès Mondial Acadien 2014 is being funded by a couple of levels of government: St. John Valley municipalities are funding Maine’s participation at a rate of $1 per capita for the duration and the State of Maine is funding it at a rate of $250,000 a year, also for the duration.
As most of you know, the budget for CMA 2014 is based on the previous four Congrès Mondial Acadien. When we first showed Maine’s budget to Gov. Paul LePage, he immediately said, “This is a no-brainer. It’s tourism and economic development.”
However, the American federal government, more precisely the representatives for Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and Congressman Michael Michaud, tell us there are apparently no federal funds available.
The total budget for CMA 2014 is $11.5 million. It appears that the US government will most probably not fund the $1 million stipulated in the international budget prepared for the World Acadian Congress. The Canadian government will contribute $4 million as budgeted. This is where Maine’s shortfall could be.
Whichever way this funding thing works out, Maine is still in this and we will hold our own. We’ll just have to plan according to our means.
– However, the major event of CMA 2014 is Acadian Day, la fête de l’Assomption, and it will be held in Maine on August 15, 2014.
There were approximately 25,000 people in Caraquet, NB, on August 15, 2009, during the last CMA. Caraquet is about the size of Madawaska or Fort Kent. You can go to YouTube if you want to see just a little bit of what an August 15 celebration looks like. It’s mind boggling.
– Plus, our goal is to host between 50 and 60 family reunions in the Valley between August 8 and August 24, 2014. There are already 30 families meeting in the Valley and we still have three years to go.
If the average family reunion comprises 500 people, that means between 20,000 and 30,000 visitors to the Valley during those two and half weeks. This is unquestionably tourism and economic development. What else could it be?
So, we’re not broke and we’re not out of it.
You’re invited to join the Maine Regional Coordinating Committee which meets every third Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. in the Fox Street conference room of NorState Federal Credit Union.
Don Levesque, President, Maine Regional Coordinating Committee
Jason Parent, Maine International President
Loraine Pelletier-Marston, Maine Coordinator
Congrès Mondial Acadien 2014