Thursday in question period, Guy Bourgouin, NDP critic for Francophone Affairs, called on the Ford government to reverse its callous cuts to Francophone services in Ontario by supporting a motion from NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, which does just that.
Last week, Doug Ford axed the French Language Services Commissioner, and the long-awaited Francophone University. Bourgouin’s comments come following additional news that the Ford government has cancelled a $2.9-million grant for the Ottawa-based Francophone theatre La Nouvelle Scène Gilles Desjardins.
“The Ford Conservatives made the irresponsible decision to cancel a $ 2.9-million grant for La Nouvelle Scène Gilles Desjardins, a francophone arts centre in Ottawa,” said Bourgouin. “Is it not enough for the Conservatives to eliminate the office that defends our constitutional rights and to cancel what should be our university?”
The NDP is fighting to protect the rights of Ontario’s Francophone community to access education and services in French, when and where they need it. Horwath has put forward a motion that will be debated next week to restore the funding, office and powers of the French Language Services Commissioner and the funding for the Francophone University.
“It seems that our constitutional rights, our education and, now, our culture, are for the Ford government but a mere financial affair,” said Bourgouin. “It is more than clear that the Conservatives have no interest in assuming that they have left Franco-Ontarians like me behind, as if we and our rights, education and heritage, were unimportant.”