Local Francophones Protest PC Government

Francophone Protest
Francophone Protestors rallied outside of local MPP Ross Romano's office on Saturday as part of a province-wide protest. Photo by Megan Pounder/SaultOnline

Local Francophones joined the province-wide protests against the PC government on Saturday afternoon, banding together in front of local MPP Ross Romano’s Sault Ste. Marie office.

Sporting green and white attire – the colours of the French flag – protestors chanted and held up signs, cheering loudly as passers-by honked their horns in support.

This protest comes after the PC government’s announcement to remove the province’s French-language Commissioner as well as to scrap plans for a French-language university in the GTA.

“We’re just trying to prove to (Ford) that we might be a minority, but we are here to stay and we do have rights,” Centre Francophone de Sault-Ste-Marie President Jessica Torrance told SaultOnline. “And we are hoping that this will make him think again and put back in place the Commissioner and also do something about the French university.”

In a statement last week, Ford said his government will be creating the position of a French-Language Services Commissioner within the provincial ombudsman’s office, and is seeking to turn the office of francophone affairs into a ministry.

Torrance said they didn’t get a chance to speak to Romano (at the time this article was posted), but are hoping they have the opportunity to in the near future.

She said protesting this is important to her because up her upbringing. Raised in the small town of Dubreuilville, she grew up speaking French. She said

“Being able to speak French is very, very important,” she said. “I see around here, around everywhere in Ontario, that it’s hard for kids to understand how important it is to speak French and keep your French, so I’m hoping that this here will prove to the kids, to everybody around us, that being French is who we are – we want to keep that and that it’s not because you’re French that you don’t have rights, it’s not because you’re French that you’re unimportant. So that’s our point today, to show everybody that we’re here to stay.”


  1. When you have the money, buy a “new car”, but when you are in debt you should keep what you have. This does not mean that we will never build the Francophone University, just not now. Many of these decisions believe it or not are not that personal. Previous governments made decisions that were popular with certain interest groups to buy votes, not because the timing was right or it made sense.

  2. I have no qualms with cancelling the French language university in Toronto. Previous reports indicated the university was expected/anticipated to cost taxpayers 83.5 million dollars to create. The initial student population was anticipated to be 300. So, the former Liberal government was willing to spend more than 283 thousand per student to create a French language university while the province wallows in debt. That seems familiar.
    My question when I first saw the story about the university, was, Why would they build such a university in Toronto where there are very few Francophones compared to areas such as Ottawa and northeastern Ontario (Sudbury, North Bay, Timmins)?
    Well, I know why. It’s the typical myopic and elitist attitude of those in education and government. Let’s put everything near us (Toronto) so that we can control it from our ivory taxpayer funded towers.
    If this province ever looks to move forward with such an endeavour in the future the university should be built as far away as possible from Toronto. The GTA is a growing blight(much larger than the oil sands in Alberta by the way) on our province as it eats up more and more of our arable land on a daily basis. Instead of our government overlords wanting to expand Toronto, they should be looking at limiting its growth and promote diversity of economic opportunity across the province.
    Any plan for a French language university in Ontario should include a clause that it be built in Northern Ontario. If, as a news report noted in London, that the cancellation of the university denied the opportunity of 10,000 students attending French language schools and French Immersion schools(fake news??), then I’m sure those students (in the future) would not hesitate for a minute to sign up at a French language university in Northern Ontario. Since Sudbury and Thunder Bay got the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. I propose the province build a French language university in Sault Ste. Marie.

  3. Doug Ford is trying to reverse what David Peterson did 20 years ago and that brought a lot of controversy too. They both should have left things alone

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