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MP Drouin under attack, despite the support of Franco-Ontarians

Photo: Sean Kilpatrick archives The Canadian Press Liberal MP Francis Drouin was vigorously criticized for insulting researchers in committee.

Michel Saba – The Canadian Press in Ottawa

Published at 8:51 p.m.

  • Canada

Franco-Ontarian MP Francis Drouin, vigorously criticized for having insulted researchers in committee, retains the support of the Assembly of the Francophonie of Ontario (AFO), which describes him as an “ally” of their cause, but the Conservatives and the Bloc doubt that this is the case.

In a letter sent Tuesday to all members of the official languages ​​committee, the president of the organization, Fabien Hébert, assures that the member for Glengarry–Prescott–Russell has the Canadian Francophonie “at heart”.

“He was an ally” for several causes, including obtaining the University of French Ontario and modernizing the Official Languages ​​Act, he writes. Furthermore, according to Mr. Hébert, whose organization prides itself on representing “795,760 Franco-Ontarians”, MP Drouin performs his duties as president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie (APF) “very well”. 60~/p>

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However, the Conservative Party of Canada and the Bloc Québécois now say they doubt that Mr. Drouin is really an ally of the French-speakers.

« I I have a big question mark today with what happened last Monday,” replied the Conservative official languages ​​spokesperson, Joël Godin, on Wednesday during a press scrum.

According to its reading, the Franco-Ontarian organization defends the work of Mr. Drouin before the events of last week where the MP described witnesses who campaign for the protection of French as “full of shit” and “extremists”.

His Bloc counterpart, Mario Beaulieu, judges for his part that on the merits, even ignoring the vulgarity of the words spoken, Mr. Drouin “did not defend French”.

“There is underfunding of […] French-speaking universities outside Quebec and in Quebec,” he said. So, I don't see why when we denounce him, when we take stock of the situation in Quebec, it's insults. We are in favor of restoring the situation outside Quebec and in Quebec. And I think that Mr. Drouin has disqualified himself as a representative of the French-speaking world. »

Resign ?

The two witnesses, an independent researcher and a CEGEP professor, explained, based on Statistics Canada data, that when a Francophone or an allophone attends an English-speaking university or CEGEP, this significantly increases the probability that he lives his life in English.

Mr. Drouin launched his controversial words after asking them if they sincerely believe “that the big problem with anglicization in Quebec is McGill and Dawson College”.

The MP has since apologized, but the discontent has not yet subsided. Some have called for his resignation as president of the Canadian section of the APF, which will meet in a general assembly next week to deal with this issue.

During a meeting of the Standing Committee on Official Languages ​​on Wednesday, the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Official Languages, Marc Serré, described Mr. Drouin as a “proud Franco-Ontarian” and denounced the “political games” of “the Bloc coalition -conservatives”. According to him, it is time to move on to “important things” for the Francophonie.

Mr. Serré told reporters that his colleague apologized for his “clearly […] inappropriate” comment which was nothing more than “a small sin.”

“It’s just separatists” who claim that Mr. Drouin is against the protection of French, when on the contrary he has defended this language “all his life”, he continued, not without assert that the Bloc “does not like bilingualism”.

The Liberals had replaced several of their permanent members with Franco-Ontarians during this meeting. “I don’t know why the artillery came out to defend the indefensible,” said Mr. Godin.

In the Bloc, Mr. Beaulieu considered it “unacceptable” that the Liberals were “instrumentalizing” French-speaking communities outside Quebec by putting them in opposition to those in Quebec, which are “a minority in Canada”.

The conservatives attempted, without success, to debate a motion aimed at ultimately removing Mr. Drouin from the committee and resigning from the APF because of his “filthy and offensive” remarks. It was deemed inadmissible. They promise to come back next week.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116