TORONTO – Ontario’s premier will issue a formal apology in the provincial legislature today for a 1912 regulation that prohibited teachers in elementary schools from speaking with students in French.
Kathleen Wynne said last December that it would be “very appropriate” for her to offer an official apology on behalf of the Ontario government for Regulation 17, which was enforced for 15 years before it finally fell into abeyance by 1944.
The premier said she wanted to acknowledge that the province’s bilingual heritage wasn’t always respected in the past.
Sudbury Liberal MPP Glenn Thibeault moved a motion in the legislature asking for the official apology to the province’s French-speaking residents.
Thibeault said it will demonstrate that the government recognizes its past errors and is serious about growing the Franco-Ontarian identity and culture.
New Democrat Gilles Bisson said his party will support the apology because “it doesn’t hurt,” but he called it “much ado about nothing” because the ban on French in Ontario schools hasn’t been enforced in 70 years.