Saskatoon – Following rallies in over 40 communities across Ontario this weekend, the National Farmers Union (NFU) is reaching out to the Ontario government urging respect for the improvements and culture Franco-Ontarians have contributed to our society.
“Our farming members in Ontario, and particularly our Francophone farmers, have reached out to our membership across the country because they are concerned at cuts to services and we are proud to stand in solidarity with them,” noted Katie Ward (Chiasson), NFU President. “Agricultural education is offered in French in Ontario at Boreal College, La Cité Collégiale, and the Educational and Research Farm at the Alfred Campus of the University of Guelph. We encourage expansion of postsecondary education services in French rather than an unkept promise that pulls us backward.”
“An independent Ombusdman of French language services is essential,” noted Marcelle Paulin, National Farmers Union – Ontario (NFU-O) Board member from northern Ontario. “In addition to receiving and acting on complaints, an Ombudsman’s office would be able to advocate for the responsibilities and obligations that government departments including OMAFRA/MAARO have to citizens, including our Francophone farmers.”
“Due to the demographic crisis facing aging farmers in Ontario and everywhere in Canada, we must work tirelessly to encourage new farmers and to support them in accessing land and creating new farming businesses,” added Christopher Kelly-Bisson, who is currently an Associate Member of the NFU while he temporarily puts his farm business on hold to complete a PhD at l’Université d’Ottawa investigating farmland ownership consolidation and speculation in Ontario and Quebec. “Francophone youth, and newcomers to Canada with an agricultural background who are arriving from French-speaking countries, need the support of government services in their language to enable Ontario to be open for business when it comes to agriculture.”
For more information:
Katie Ward, NFU President: (613) 797-0601
Marcelle Paulin, NFU-O Board member: (807) 977-1631
Christopher Kelly-Bisson, Associate member, NFU: (613) 220-1152