MPP gets cold reception

The Glengarry News - - News - BY STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON News Staff

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.

STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON PHOTO

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.

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