At a time when attacks against the language rights of Francophones across the country have been increasing with the election of right-wing governments in Ontario and New Brunswick, CUPE is reiterating its support for Acadian and Francophone communities across Canada.
“CUPE will always stand shoulder to shoulder with the Francophone and Acadian communities that are fighting to protect their rights,” declared Mark Hancock, the National President of CUPE. “These affronts to the rights of linguistic minorities, at a time when Canada is on the verge of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act, are appalling.”
In Ontario, Doug Ford’s government cited the need to cut costs as rationale for the decision to abolish the French Language Services Commissioner position and cancel plans for Ontario’s French-language university. Fortunately, the Franco-Ontarian community has been mobilizing to have these decisions repealed.
The rights of Francophones in New Brunswick are also under threat. With the support of three MLAs from the People’s Alliance, a party openly hostile to bilingualism, the Conservatives led by Blaine Higgs managed to form a minority government. For the Acadian community, there is a real fear that the Higgs government and its allies will stir up anti-French sentiment to justify an agenda of privatization and cuts.
“As we have always done in the past, CUPE will continue to oppose governments intent on dividing workers to run roughshod over our individual and collective rights. CUPE is the largest union in Canada, and it’s our duty,” added Charles Fleury, the CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer.