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PC legislator says Ford s backtracking on Francophone issues not enough

PC legislator says Ford s  backtracking  on Francophone issues not enough
Canada
TORONTO -- A Progressive Conservative legislator who publicly denounced Ontario s decision to eliminate the independent office of the French-language services commissioner and a planned French-language university said Wednesday the province s "partial backtracking" on those issues isn t enough.

Amanda Simard, a rookie legislator who represents a largely Franco-Ontarian riding, said she is not satisfied by the Tory government s announcement late last week that it would create a commissioner position within the office of the provincial ombudsman and establish a Ministry of Francophone Affairs.

"My position is that we need to reverse the two decisions," she said. "The kind of backtracking, partial backtracking, that we ve seen, I don t think that s enough and I know that the Franco-Ontarians don t feel that it s enough."

The moves appeared aimed at quelling backlash over the university cancellation and the consolidation of the commissioner s office with the ombudsman s -- controversial measures unveiled as part of the province s fall fiscal update.

Simard said her party would not allow her to speak to what she called an "important" Opposition motion set to be debated later on Wednesday that calls for the measures to be fully revoked.

"I asked to speak on the motion today...and the list was conveniently full," she said.

The Progressive Conservatives said Simard made the request too late, and denied the party was attempting to muzzle one of its own.

The NDP motion is not binding, but Leader Andrea Horwath said it would send a clear message to Premier Doug Ford if it has widespread support in the house.

The motion aims to "undo the damage that Mr. Ford has done to Francophones," she said. "This has sparked a national discussion because of Mr. Ford s reckless cuts and it needs to be reversed."
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