QUEEN'S PARK - Official Opposition Critic for Francophone Affairs Guy Bourgouin (Mushkegowuk - James Bay) made the following statement for Franco-Ontarian Day:
"Our history consists of the forests north of 11, the Timmins gold rush and the Sudbury nickel rush. Our history is that of the Kapuskasing paper mills and Hearst lumber.
It's also the story of Ottawa's Le Droit newspaper, TFO Media, the University of Sudbury, Collège Boréal, Université de Hearst and La Cité. It's the story of our gatherings under the Assemblée de la Francophonie. It's a story rooted in the For, By and With movement that drives and will drive our aspirations as the francophone people of Ontario.
Our history can't be summed up in a word or phrase. It's the story of generations of builders, thinkers and people who have shaped not only our communities but Ontario itself.
The flag that flies in front of Queen's Park and in the Chamber, a flag we fought to have recognized, symbolizes the Franco-Ontarian contribution to our province.
We fought for the French Language Services Act and recognition of the growing need for French-language services in the essential areas of health and education. Our community feels it harder with every cut in these programs and every labour shortage that affects the province. Fewer young people will serve their neighbours in French. Fewer children will be able to attend French-language schools. It's more pressure on our culture and our language.
On September 25, Franco-Ontarian Day, let's celebrate our courage and heritage and continue the battles we've begun to protect our children's rights."