Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Cuts to Ontario Francophones Touch All Linguistic Minorities: Quebec Group

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Cuts to Ontario Francophones Touch All Linguistic Minorities: Quebec Group

Article excerpt

Ontario cuts felt by Quebec anglophones

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MONTREAL - An organization representing Quebec anglophones says linguistic minorities across the country stand to lose from Ontario's recent moves to cut funding to institutions serving francophones.

The head of the Quebec Community Groups Network, which represents more than 50 anglophone groups across the province, said the Ontario moves are "a step backwards" after years of gains.

Geoffrey Chambers, the network president, said the trend for linguistic minorities in Canada "had been to establish new and better services -- just last year a francophone advisory council was put in place in Alberta, and we got our secretariat (in Quebec). The trend line had been good for quite a long time."

Ontario was held up as a model for other minority linguistic groups in Canada with its French Language Services Act, an office of francophone affairs and a French language services commissioner to ensure rights are respected -- a position Chambers would like to see in Quebec.

But last week Ontario announced it was scrapping the office of the French language services commissioner and cancelling a French-language university planned to open in Toronto in 2020. Meanwhile in New Brunswick, Canada's only officially bilingual province, language tensions have been fuelled by election results that left the balance of power with a party that questions bilingualism.

"Now (the trend) seems to have reversed a bit, and that's worrying," Chambers said.

In Quebec, lawmakers like to describe the province's anglophones as among the best-treated minorities on the continent, but Chambers said the notion his community receives special treatment misinterprets the history of its hospitals and universities. …

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