Thursday , May 6 2021

In protests outside the offices of MPPs, Franco-ontariers oppose the French government's reduction of the Ford government



On Saturday afternoon, thousands of French speakers in nearly 40 communities across Ontario condemned Prime Minister Doug Ford's cuts for some services in French.

The protests, organized by the Francophone Assembly of Ontario, representing 740,000 French-Ontariants, were held in front of the offices of all political parties.

"Franco-ontarios have the right to protect our rights," said Quebec actor Lina Blais, in front of the office of Ford's office, where 300 people gathered.

"Our population justifies our institutions."

This "resistance" is in response to Prime Minister Doug Ford's move to replace an independent provincial governor for francophone services and to abolish the funding of a planned French-language university in the Greater Toronto area.

The decision prompted an instant reaction from the Ontarians, the federal government and the new Quebec prime minister, Francois Legolt, who all repeatedly asked Ford to change the cuts.

MPP Amanda Simard, left, poses with three-year-old Glorian Gadre-Chef at a rally in Hawkesbury. (Submitted by Marilou Gaudreau)

One of Ford's MPPs, Amanda Simard, broke ranks to criticize the move, saying she was disappointed and frustrated. Earlier this week, the eastern Ontario MPP left the progressive conservative group to stand as independent.

She was standing among those who gathered at the doorstep of her Hockbury district election office. This included a three-year-old Glorian Gadre-Chef. She was dressed in green and white, the colors of the Francophone flag of Ontario and wearing a sign saying, "I could not be big enough to have a voice, but do not take my voice."

On the Francophone Assembly of Ontario, estimated at more than 13,500 people attended the day of the action

Protesters carried posters with messages, such as "respect for Franco" and "Franco-Ontario people are not just a minority," while listening to their voices.

Hundreds fought in the cold weather and gathered in front of the office of Carolina Malroni's constituency in Bradford. York-Simko MPP was appointed Minister of Francophone Affairs on November 22, after computers were redirected to some cuts that were swept by Ontario francs.

Mulroney, who is also a provincial lawyer, has vowed to continue advocating for a separate French language university, but noted that the fiscal reality of the province has prevented computers from funding it right now.

This young mother says she moved to Ontario from New Brunswick four years ago to insure her daughter had access to French education. (Rosen Nicole / Radio Canada)


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