Mon. Dec 4th, 2023

Course for the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party: the candidates and the French fact

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The Assembly of the Francophonie of Ontario asked a series of questions to the four candidates for leadership. (Archive photo)

  • Rebecca Kwan (View profile)Rebecca Kwan

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One week before the vote which will determine the new leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party, the Assembly of the Francophonie of Ontario (AFO) revealed this weekend the priorities and positions of the candidates regarding the French fact in Province. The candidates positioned themselves on issues such as education, health and employability.

Questioned about their main priority for the Ontario Francophonie, the four candidates mainly addressed the themes of education and health.

There is a significant shortage of health professionals capable of offering health services in French in several regions of Ontario, raises the candidate, Liberal provincial MP for Kingston and the Islands, Ted Hsu. Access to a French-speaking family doctor […] is a major asset for improving the detection of learning problems at school, he believes.

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Candidate, Liberal MPP for Kingston and the Islands, Ted Hsu (Archive photo)

For his part, candidate Yasir Naqvi, federal MP for Ottawa Centre, acknowledges in his response that he is not French-speaking, but assures that he wants to get involved with the community. p>

The latter wants to recruit more health professionals to improve public health care and improve the province's public education system.

My top priority for Ontario's French-speaking community is the same as my top priority for all Ontarians: defeat Doug Ford and restore Ontario's promise, writes the candidate in response to the AFO. /p>Open in full screen mode

Candidate Yasir Naqvi, federal MP for Ottawa Center (Archive photo)

For his part, candidate Bonnie Crombie, currently mayor of Mississauga , has as a priority the development of education and post-secondary education in French. Among other things, she wishes to remedy [the] shortage of French-speaking and French-language teachers and expand social services in French.

We must strengthen Franco-Ontarian education across Ontario, writes candidate Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, Liberal MP for Beaches-East York. The latter wishes to train and hire more French-speaking teachers and school workers and promote the work of Franco-Ontarian educators.

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Candidate Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, Liberal MP for Beaches-East York (Archive photo)

The four candidates commit to participating in a leaders' debate in French during the next election campaign. They also intend to restore complete independence to the French Language Services Commission, as requested by the AFO.

The AFO asks candidates if they are in favor of Ontario becoming a bilingual province.

Candidate Yasir Naqvi does not beat around the bush. Yes, he answers the question. This is an ambitious objective, nevertheless recognizes the latter, who believes that the mechanisms to achieve it in a substantial way will require significant consultation.

I would like to work on practice before asking the ideological question, answers Ted Hsu.

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Candidate and Mayor of Mississauga, Bonnie Crombie (Archive photo)

I believe that we must respect the Official Languages ​​Act and other relevant laws, offers Bonnie Crombie in response. Francophones are essential to our communities and our society, and their contributions are monumental. We must recognize that more must be done to continue to support francophone communities.

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, for his part, says he is in favor of 'an Ontario where all Francophones have access to cultural and government services in both official languages.

The latter is committed to working with partners to provide services in both English and French to Ontarians. He also plans to examine how we can help Ontario cities declare themselves bilingual, by providing them with additional funding.

Members of the Ontario Liberal Party are scheduled to vote on November 25-26. After the counting of the ballots, the announcement of the new leadership will take place on December 2.

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