Independence of the Commissioner: A Done Deal
Royal Assent by the Lieutenant Governor was given yesterday to Bill 106, French Language Services Amendment Act (French Language Services Commissioner), 2013, following the unanimous adoption of the bill in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario last Wednesday, making the independence of the French Language Services Commissioner a done deal! This change will come into effect as of January 1, 2014, less than three weeks away.
As I stated enthusiastically in the news release my office published yesterday, with the independence of the French Language Services Commissioner, Ontario’s Francophonie is being given a permanent presence in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It is a historic step forward in recognizing and safeguarding the rights of Ontario’s Francophone citizens.
I would like to thank all parliamentarians ─ particularly the Honourable Madeleine Meilleur, Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs, and the opposition parties’ Francophone Affairs Critics ─ for their unwavering leadership and support in the unanimous adoption of this bill.
I would also like to thank the organisations that attended yesterday’s consideration of Bill 106 by the Standing Committee, on the Legislative Assembly: Canadian Parents for French (Ontario); Roxane Villeneuve Robertson, Ontario PC candidate in the riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell; the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario (AJEFO), which published a news release on this subject on September 27 and another one yesterday; and the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario (AFO), which conducted an important campaign that included 400 letters of support which were sent to Mr. Garfield Dunlop, Chair of the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly, as well as other MPPs. AFO also published at least four news releases on the independence of the Commissioner, including one this morning.
It is with eagerness that I look to the Francophone and Francophile communities across the province to help build this institution, which will be tailored to their needs. I will be revisiting the question of independence of the Commissioner in the months ahead to keep you updated on this transition, which will lead to a new institution belonging to all Franco-Ontarians and which will be an integral part of the Legislative Assembly.