French university education, an electoral and existential issue | Laurentian University crisis

In 2020, the young man decided to leave Ottawa, where he was studying engineering, and return to Sudbury, his hometown, to pursue theater studies at Laurentian University.

Search on [son] world. And because theater is his true vocation.

A year later, his project collapsed. Laurentian University, which hides its creditors, has cut 70 programs, including its own. Of this number, 29 French programs — about half of the initial offering — are gone.

Maxime was part of a generation of young Franco-Ontarians who suddenly lost the right to a French university education at home in Greater Sudbury.

The Francophones here feared the exodus and assimilation that would inevitably follow. The beginning of the decline.

Maxime Cayouette was finishing his first year in theater at Laurentian University when the establishment canceled the program.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Welcome Senga

Three political parties, the NDP, the Liberals, and the Greens propose essentially the same solution, with some differences. One put forward by community members: the transfer of French programs from Laurentian University to Sudbury University.

Formerly bilingual and federated at Laurentian University, the establishment became fully French -speaking after the onset of the crisis and is now trying to get funding from the province.

I was hesitant to return to Ottawa as I really hoped to be able to continue my French studies here in Sudbury. »

An excerpt from Maxime Cayouette, former student at Laurentian University

An engaging social project

The door suddenly opened, with a dry creak.

Mr. St-Onge? Hello, this is France Gélinas!

Most voters on this quiet street in Chelmsford, a suburb of Sudbury, know their incumbent. She was hard to miss though, everyone was dressed in orange.

Maxime’s story, according to France Gélinas, I had them all on my ride.

brunch de la fête des Mères, hier. J’ai vu un jeune étudiant, francophone. Il a passé trois ans à l’Université Laurentienne et a 30 000 $ de dette universitaire, mais n’est pas capable de finir son programme! C’était le premier de sa famille à aller à l’université”,”text”:”J’étais à un brunch de la fête des Mères, hier. J’ai vu un jeune étudiant, francophone. Il a passé trois ans à l’Université Laurentienne et a 30 000 $ de dette universitaire, mais n’est pas capable de finir son programme! C’était le premier de sa famille à aller à l’université”}}”>I was in one Luncheon Mother’s Day yesterday. I saw a young student who spoke French. He’s three years at Laurentian University and has $ 30,000 in university debt, but he can’t finish his program! He was the first in his family to attend collegehe cried, angry.

All of this could have been avoided if the provincial government had put on its pants and showed little interest in what was happening in northern Ontario.

With the reassurance step, Ms. Gélinas turned around and called music instructor Alain Thérien, who crossed the street near us. Wait, wait, don’t run away!

He fought for the University of Sudbury, said Mr. Thérien, when asked why Ms. Gélinas can count on his vote. Most of the voters we spoke to would agree.

France Gélinas wore a colored sweater

France Gélinas is the NDP MP for the Nickel Belt.

Photo: Radio-Canada

The teacher of the crusade

A few kilometers further, in Val Caron, Gilles Proulx welcomed us to his campaign office.

The Liberal candidate in the Nickel Belt is trying to defeat Ms. Gélinas, who has been representing riding since 2007.

Liberals have a better chance, he said, of forming government and resolving the crisis.

It was brought to life by Gilles Proulx like a dream.

He graduated from the establishment and is now a teacher, he said he feels a lot of pain, anxiety and even sadness facing the elimination of French programs.

His voice tightened.

It would be very sad for the region if we lose our children.

Her son, she said, would soon graduate from high school and naturally turn to Laurentian University to get a bachelor’s degree in political science, but the program, too, fell by the wayside.

All the statistics say this: if young people leave the region, they will never return. »

An excerpt from Gilles Proulx, Liberal Nickel Belt candidate

So he had to choose between studying at college – at Collège Boréal in Sudbury – or in exile to go to the University of Ottawa.

Gilles Proulx and his son Yannick both wore red t-shirts and sunglasses.

Gilles Proulx (right), who is campaigning with his son, is the Liberal candidate in the Nickel Belt.

Photo: Courtesy Gilles Proulx

Many Francophone parents he met also told him that they had saved money so that their children could one day attend Laurentian University and wondered what to do now.

I told them that as a francophone, this is a great opportunity to be able to develop our own university. […] I think it’s important that we have this university now, on and on [les francophones]that way decisions are not just made [en fonction d’un] number, but thinking of our studentssaid Mr. Proulx.

What about Sudbury’s Progressive Conservative candidate, Marc Despatie?

We tried to get his point of view, but his team canceled our interview at the last minute.

When we visited his campaign office, he was not there.

A large poster of Mr.  Despatie was hanging in front of his campaign office in Sudbury.

A large poster of Mr. Despatie was hanging in front of his campaign office in Sudbury.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Yvon Theriault

Marc is interested in any opportunity to improve access to university-level French programs for the Middle North of Ontario. Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives created two independent French-language universitieswrote his spokeswoman, Kim Morris.

Like the University of Sudbury return the flood

The rector of the University of Sudbury is careful not to take a position in favor of one or the other political party, even if their commitments include various nuances.

The outgoing Progressive Conservative government has repeatedly been criticized for not immediately funding the operation of the University of Sudbury.

On the contrary, he has already made a clear commitmentobserved rector Serge Miville, questioning the federal government to fund the next phase of the University of Sudbury.

The $ 1.9 million envelope recently announced by federal Minister of Official Languages, Ginette Petitpas-Taylor, will allow the institution to study its ability to meet the training needs of students, the job market and the community. in the Middle North.

In my opinion, we are in the right direction in both cases. A French -speaking university in Sudbury, we go in this direction, very clearly. »

An excerpt from Serge Miville, rector of the University of Sudbury
Serge Miville wore goggles and a black jacket

Serge Miville is the rector of the University of Sudbury.

Photo: Radio-Canada

Does the University of Sudbury want to recoup the French programs that remain at Laurentian University? Once again, Mr. Miville remained vigilant.

We really need to focus on building our capacity, […] you should be able to operate as an autonomous French-language university. For now, that is our priorityhe said.

Sure we are in the election campaign, the parties are in the process of putting themselves on this question. Let’s follow the rules we suggest, […] and we will not cutadded the rector of the University of Sudbury.

But until Sudbury University is able to teach again and so on return the floodMr. worried. Miville the exodus young people who no longer find practical options for university programs, after the Laurentian University crisis.

The students left Sudbury. This would be very discouraging to the Franco-Ontarian community in the region. […] There is irreparable damage. »

An excerpt from Serge Miville, rector of the University of Sudbury

It’s a big task, I admit, but we need to re-establish the town of Sudbury as a post-secondary and university destination, especially in French.

A blue sign with a white building in the background

The University of Sudbury is seeking funding from the provincial government to continue teaching activities.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Yvon Theriault

Blamed the French Language Services Commissioner in Ontario for violating the French Language Services Act during the cuts, Laurentian University, which denied our interview requests, maintained that the program cuts were a difficult but necessary step in the complete transformation of the Laurentian.

We are confident that our current program is more tailored to student need and will help ensure financial continuity for the future.identifies, by e-mail, an establishment spokesperson lining that up The mandate of Laurentian bilingualism is central to its birth.

Laurentian University remained hidden from its creditors until May 31.

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