MPP gets cold reception
If you know François Bazinet, then you probably wouldn’t have been surprised to see him outside MPP Jim McDonell’s Cornwall office on Saturday afternoon, where he joined hundreds of other people to protest the provincial government’s decision to cut the office of the French Language Commissioner and stall the creation of a French university in Toronto.
In 2010, Mr. Bazinet helped install a Cornwall monument that pays tribute to franco-Ontarians. He has helped to raise similar monuments in Hawkesbury and Embrun and is currently working on another one in St- Albert.
With such passion for francophone issues, it’s obvious that he would have made the trek to Cornwall on Saturday, a day when similar protests were taking place around the province.
“Thank you, Mr. Ford,” the 65-year-old president of Le Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l'Est ontarien told The News as he clutched his green and white franco-Ontarian flag. “You made us visible to the rest of Canada. We don’t want to lose what we gained over the past few years.”
Also present at the protest was Dianne Poirier, president of l’Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario de Stormont-DundasGlengarry.
“We’re here because we’d like Jim to listen to us and to bring our point of view to the province,” she said. “When Doug Ford was elected, he didn’t realize what franco-Ontarians are.”
She said that francophones want the government to fund a French university and to bring back the French language commissioner.”
Of the university, she says there’s a lot of students who would like to attend there and such an institution would be a boon for the province.
Ms. Poirier said that more than 200 people had registered for the Cornwall protest. By early afternoon, it looked like they all showed up, and then some.
Mr. McDonell, the Conservative MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, made an unexpected appearance. Using a microphone, Mr. McDonell assured the protestors that he would bring their concerns to Toronto, but still toed the party line that budgetary constraints made it difficult to fund the university or the officer. His remarks were met with a chorus of boos from the crowd and the MPP left shortly afterward in order to march in the Santa Claus Parade in Lancaster.
PROTESTING IN CORNWALL: Dianne Poirier, president of the Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario de SDG, was joined by François Bazinet at a protest outside MPP Jim McDonell’s Cornwall office on Saturday afternoon.