December 1, 2018 2:41 pm

Quebecers protest Ford government’s cuts to French language services

Thousands gathered in Ottawa to protest cuts to French-language services in Ontario on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018.

Courtesy of Jennifer Crane
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Quebecers are among the thousands protesting in Ottawa against the Ontario government’s decision to cut French-language services.

The crowd includes members of Quebec’s Liberal party and leaders of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), a non-profit representing 56 English-language community organizations across Quebec.

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“We want to send a solidarity message and to tell the government of Ontario that this public relations problem they created for themselves is not going to end until they fix the problem,” said QCGN president Geoffrey Chambers.

READ MORE: Ontario PC legislator working to reverse premier’s moves on Francophone issues 

Earlier this month, Premier Doug Ford’s government decided to eliminate both the province’s French-language services commissioner and a proposed French-language university.

Ford initially said the decision was made to trim the provincial deficit, but the government hasn’t outlined how much money would actually be saved.

WATCH: Politicians react to Ford government decision on French-language university, speak about five-party meeting on francophone issues in Ontario

Pressured by intense public and political backlash, the provincial government announced it would create the position of French-language services commissioner within the provincial ombudsman’s office but stuck to its plan to eliminate the development of the French-language university.

“We want to support franco-Ontarians who have worked for the last 25 years to develop a set of structures that had real traction in terms of protecting their language rights,” Chambers said. “It’s an example we want to follow, and seeing them have these assets taken away is very discouraging and we want to show we’re against it.”

More than 40 communities across Ontario plan to hold rallies over the course of the weekend to protest the programming cuts.

READ MORE: Ontario government announces new French commissioner job amid outcry over cuts

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