March 20th, 2019

Doug Ford must listen to Franco-Ontarians and reinstate commissioner, fund university

QUEEN’S PARK — On International Francophonie Day, the NDP’s critic for Francophone Affairs, Guy Bourgouin, hosted the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario (AFO) and members of the Franco-Ontarian community at Queen’s Park.

Bourgouin supported the demands of the AFO’s Franco-Ontarian manifesto during question period on Wednesday, pressing Doug Ford to stop turning his back on Ontario Francophone communities , bring back the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner, and restore funding for the Université de l’Ontario français.

“Today we had a visit from a francophone town crier to present the Franco-Ontarian manifesto to this government,” Bourgouin said. “Like the town crier, Franco-Ontarians are here at Queen’s Park to tell you loud and clear to listen to them and to take action on what they have been asking for since November, 2018.

“Will you reinstate the French Language Services Commissioner’s independent office and restore funding for the Université de l’Ontario français?”

Ford refused to commit to do so.

The AFO released the Franco-Ontarian manifesto for International Francophonie Day at Queen’s Park on Wednesday. The manifesto represents the voice of all Francophones and French-speakers in the province and calls for francophone rights to be respected in Ontario.

“Ontario’s francophone community is here today on Francophonie Day to remind the Ford government that they have turned their back on our community,” Bourgouin said during question period. “The Ford government attacked the French language and francophone community, saying they needed to cut the independent Commissioner for financial reasons, despite Ford’s ongoing spending on his own pet projects, like tax cuts for the wealthy.

“Will this government stop their needless cuts to French language services and culture in Ontario and finally listen to Franco-Ontarians?”

Ford refused to commit to do so, turning his back on Franco-Ontarians again.

Adding insult to injury, the minister of Francophone affairs was absent from question period, and she skipped this morning’s Franco-Ontarian ceremony in honour of International Francophonie Day which took place in front of Queen’s Park.