December 1, 2018 3:18 pm
Updated: December 22, 2018 2:37 pm

Franco-Ontarians protest PC government’s cuts to services for French-speakers

WATCH ABOVE: Premier Doug Ford is down a member after cuts to French-language services have prompted rookie MPP Amanda Simard to leave caucus. Marianne Dimain has more from Queen's Park.

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OTTAWA – Franco-Ontarians and their supporters are gathering across the province to protest Premier Doug Ford’s cuts to services for French-speakers.

Many are donning the green-and-white flag that represents Ontario francophones as they rally to denounce the Ford government’s decision to scrap plans for a standalone French-language university and eliminate the independent office of the French-language services commissioner.

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


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The largest of the 40 or so rallies is expected to be in Ottawa, where the crowd will include a number of politicians including federal Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna.

The Ford government’s moves sparked widespread anger within French-speaking communities in Ontario and Quebec and have been publicly denounced by the Quebec legislature.

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

Ontario legislator Amanda Simard, who represents a riding with a large number of French-speakers, severed ties with the Progressive Conservative party this week after failing to convince Ford to reverse the cuts.

Ford has sought to soften his decision by announcing he would create a commissioner position within the office of the provincial ombudsman, establish a Ministry of Francophone Affairs, and hire a senior policy adviser on francophone affairs in the premier’s office.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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