Hun­dreds protest in front of McDonell’s of­fice over Fran­co­phone rep­re­sen­ta­tion

Seaway News - - NEWS - NICK SEE­BRUCH ni­cholas.see­[email protected]

CORNWALL, On­tario - Roughly 300 peo­ple came out to a pro-Franco-On­tar­ian protest in­front of Stor­mont, Dun­das and South Glen­garry MPP Jim McDonell’s of­fice on Sec­ond St. in Cornwall.

The Fran­co­phone com­mu­nity was gal­va­nized against McDonell’s Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive Party af­ter leader and Pre­mier Doug Ford an­nounced his in­ten­tion to cut the of­fice of the French Lan­guage Com­mis­sioner and de­lay the cre­ation of a French lan­guage uni­ver­sity in Toronto.

Ford back-tracked on these moves to a de­gree. While there are still no im­me­di­ate plans to build a French lan­guage uni­ver­sity, he did say that the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of the French Lan­guage Com­mis­sioner would be folded into the of­fice of the Om­buds­man.

McDonell briefly spoke to the crowd that had gath­ered in front of his of­fice.

“We’re here, I’m here tak­ing this mes­sage to Queen’s Park,” he said.

McDonell went on to de­fend the gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to not go for­ward with a French lan­guage uni­ver­sity in Toronto and cut­ting the of­fi­cer of the French Lan­guage Com­mis­sioner, cit­ing bud­getary con­cerns by the gov­ern­ment.

McDonell’s ad­dress to the crowd was met by a loud cho­rus of anger. Af­ter fin­ish­ing his re­marks, McDonell left the protest to head to Lan­caster for their an­nual Christ­mas pa­rade.

“It is very coura­geous for him to come here to­day,” said Dianne Poirier, one of the or­ga­niz­ers of the event. “We want him to lis­ten to us.”

Poirier said that the cost of the French lan­guage uni­ver­sity was less than one per­cent of the pro­vin­cial bud­get.

She said that what she and many other Franco-On­tar­i­ans wanted was a restab­lish­ment of the of­fice of the French Lan­guage Com­mis­sioner and the con­struc­tion of the new French lan­guage uni­ver­sity.

She also praised Glen­garry-Prescot­tRus­sell MPP Amanda Si­mard who left the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive party ear­lier this week over the gov­ern­ment’s stance on Franco-On­tar­ian is­sues.

“Mme Si­mard is a coura­geous woman and she is do­ing what an MPP should,” she said.

Go to www.corn­wallsea­waynews.com for the rest of this great story PLUS ad­di­tional SN cov­er­age.

(Nick See­bruch/ TC Me­dia).

MPP Jim McDonell speaks to a pro-Franco-On­tar­ian protest in front of his of­fice as Dianne Poirier looks on on Satur­day, De­cem­ber 1, 2018.

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