Provincial government reconsidering French-language university

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Following so much backlash in a federal election year, Ontario is reconsidering plans for a proposed French-language university it cancelled late last year, negotiating with the federal government to split the costs of the multi-million-dollar project.

A spokesman for Francophone Affairs Minister Caroline Mulroney said Tuesday that the province and the federal government have been in talks for weeks to secure a potential funding agreement to build the school.

That comes after Ontario said in January that it would not reverse the cancellation despite an offer from Melanie Joly, the federal Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, to extend funding for a team working on the project.

The Progressive Conservatives are seeking $63 million from the federal government as their contribution to the project and the total price tag is estimated at around $126 million.

News reports suggest that an agreement could happen before the federal election this fall.

The provincial Tories scrapped the project in November as part of their effort to balance the books, a move that sparked outrage and protests amongst Franco-Ontarians. The decision prompted Tory legislator Amanda Simard to leave the party caucus and sit as an independent.

The school was to be the first French-only university in the province, which is home to 600,000 francophones, and was set to be located in southwestern Ontario.

NDP francophone affairs critic Guy Bourgouin said the provincial government has dragged its feet on the discussions with Ottawa for months, delaying progress. -CINEWS

Comments: 1

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  1. The government’s decision to fund this likely has much to do with the upcoming federal election and is a form of damage control. Nevertheless, I am quite pleased with this announcement. Ontario has the most Francophones of any province outside Quebec, which has three English-language universities. It is good to see Franco-Ontarians gain control over all parts of their education. Our citizens should not be forced to leave the province to pursue studies in French.