NICE, France, Sept. 7, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister for La Francophonie and head of the Canadian delegation to the VII Games of La Francophonie, and the Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, today wished the best of luck to the athletes and artists taking part in the Games. " Canada is a proud member of La Francophonie and a strong supporter of all our athletes and artists in their quest for excellence," said Minister Paradis. " Canada has a long history of participating in these games, which give young Canadians the opportunity to celebrate our cultural diversity, our French heritage and excellence in sport—all values our country holds dear." The VII Games of La Francophonie—a huge international sport and cultural event—opened today in Nice, France, and will continue through September 15. Team Canada is represented at the Games by athletes and artists who are competing against participants from 56 other countries in La Francophonie. "Cultural and sport events contribute to our quality of life, stimulate our economy, and strengthen our sense of belonging to society," said Minister Glover. "Our Government is committed to supporting major events such as the Games of La Francophonie, which showcase culture and the arts while also promoting participation in sport. I wish every success to all of the young athletes and artists representing our country on the international stage. I know that you will do credit to Canada's reputation for excellence." The Games of La Francophonie, a major forum for Francophone youth, are held every four years. They bring together nearly 3,000 athletes and artists from member and observer states and governments of La Francophonie. They are unique in that they are the only international games that feature both cultural and sport competitions.