Francophone high school students walk out, protesting Ontario service cutbacks

Some French high school students are upset with Ontario cancelling a planned French university.

There may only be about 80 students at Ecole Secondaire Publique Mille Isles located in Kingston’s downtown core but they were boisterous Friday morning.

The students walked out of class at 10 a.m., protesting the provincial government’s cutbacks to French services and the cancellation of the plans for a French university.

READ MORE: Minister says Ontario must ‘prioritize’ Francophone university

Protest organizer and Grade 12 student Jordy Running says the decisions by the Ford government are regressive.

“That’s insane. We were taking so many steps forward and we just took twenty backwards.”

Grade 11 student Max Parker would have been finishing high school close to when the Universite de l’Ontario was set to open in 2020. He doesn’t like the options he is having to consider for his post-secondary education.

Story continues below advertisement

“Going out of province or going to Quebec, I wouldn’t want to do. It’s two different types of French. I’d have to re-learn.”

Magalie Galarneau planned the morning protest with Running.¬†She says there isn’t a French program in Ontario for what she wants to take.

READ MORE: Amanda Simard says government ‘backtracking’ on Francophone issues not enough

Even though Galarneau is bilingual, she says going to an English university would put her at a disadvantage.

“I learned biology in French and all my other lessons in French, so if I were to go to an English school I think I would be completely lost. I wouldn’t know any of the correct terms that I learned in French.”

Well on her way to finishing Grade 12, Melodie Normand says going to school out of province isn’t a plan she’s excited about.

“It’s hard. It can be more expensive and my family is farther away.”

Protesting the Francophone cuts continues in Kingston with residents gathering at Kingston and the Islands MPP Ian Arthur’s office December 1.

The group will march from the NDP politician’s offices to Confederation Park across from city hall.



Story continues below advertisement