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On October 4, the Minister for Regions Gaétan Lelièvre, as well as members of the Comité des partenaires de la ruralité, announced the winners of this year’s Rurality Prizes, the Grands Prix de la ruralité 2012. A total of six awards were presented at a ceremony held at the Quebec National Assembly.

Comité des partenaires de la ruralité inlcudes including the Association des centres locaux de développement du Québec (ACLDQ), the Fédération québécoise des municipalités (FQM), Solidarité rurale du Québec (SRQ), and the Union des municipalités du Québec (UMQ).

The winners included three rural agents of the Local Development Centre (CLD) for the Regional County Municipality (RCM) of Matane, members of CUPE Local 5006.

Winner of the Rural Agent Prize, the team of rural development agents of the Matane RCM CLD, was cited for the group’s complementarity, skill and wealth of experience. The sum of the strengths of this team multiplied by the various challenges of rurality equalled territorial success.

An example of this success was the organization of the Ruralement Vôtre (Rurally Yours) event, which allowed communities to define their common needs and ignite the spark of an inter-municipal or territorial authority. In short, the skills of this dynamic team enabled it to innovate in order to achieve greater mobilization, develop projects to provide local services, maintain and improve the quality of life, train and inform community resources, and restore a sense of identity to the communities.

“The achievements cited demonstrate that rural areas can serve as models of mobilization, cooperation, commitment and dialogue. The actions of the finalists whom we are celebrating highlight the dynamism and diversity of an innovative, modern rurality. I hope that the finalists and the winners will continue their work and become ambassadors for all rural communities,” said Minister Lelièvre.

The Grand Prix de la ruralité ceremony is one of the measures in the 2007-2014 National Policy on Rurality. The aim of the event is to promote innovation and the strategic role of rural communities in today’s Quebec. The Grand Prix de la ruralité recognizes the importance of key players in rural development such as municipalities, RCMs, local development centers, rural agents and local actors.