Just ahead of a protest outside his office on Saturday, Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli says the Ford government will take steps to keep the office of the French-Language Services Commissioner independent even though it will fall under the Ombudsman’s office.
Fedeli says the office will maintain its independence when conducting investigations and those provisions will be added to The Restoring Trust, Transparency and Accountability Act.
The provisions will include recommendations to improve French language services and encourage compliance with the French Language Services Act.
However, when it comes to reversing the decision to cancel the Francophone university, Fedeli says the government is not changing its mind.
He’s standing by his earlier position that Ontario cannot afford a stand-alone Francophone university at this time.
But Fedeli says the government will explore education models that meet the needs of Francophone students.
In the meantime, Fedeli and the new Minister of Francophone Affairs, Caroline Mulroney, want the federal government to fund Francophone services in Ontario at the same per capita level as the feds fund the same services in other parts of Canada.
In Ontario, Fedeli says the federal government’s share for Francophone programming is $2.78 per Francophone.
He says the feds give New Brunswick $7.31 per Francophone toward French-language programming and $35.71 per Francophone to Manitoba.
The Tory MPP adds over the past five years, while Ontario has spent $13.2 million towards French-language services, the federal government’s contribution over the same time frame has been $7 million.
Fedeli is also calling on all Northern Ontario Liberal MPs to press their boss, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to properly invest in Ontario’s Francophone services.