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Extra resources for Aux origines de l'identite franco-ontarienne: Education, culture et economie

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Pendant que A. G. MacKay, le chef libéral de Grey North, relançait la croisade pour une politique linguistique unique 82 , le Daily Star de Toronto, le journal des conservateurs, envoyait des journalistes enquêter sur la situation des écoles dans les comtés de Prescott et de Russell. Leur enquête prouva que le français était encore exclusivement utilisé dans certaines écoles et que, dans l'ensemble, la qualité des écoles était très mauvaise 83 . La question linguistique réapparaissait pour de bon.

En refusant la solution de « l'anglais seulement » pour les écoles en Ontario, Ross affirma que, même si les colons des comtés de Prescott et de Russell ne s'étaient de toute évidence pas assimilés aux institutions anglophones, la familiarité avec la langue anglaise les stimulerait et les amènerait à copier le modèle des comtés de Kent et d'Essex, où la controverse au sujet de la langue paraissait s'estomper rapidement. Au début, Ross espérait que cette stimulation viendrait des instituteurs bilingues qui sauraient dispenser un enseignement en anglais conformément aux règlements de 1885.

Le premier ministre Mowat affirmait avoir aussi « hâte » que l'opposition « de voir ses concitoyens francophones parler anglais » mais il admettait qu'il était « difficile » de déterminer « comment parvenir à ce résultat ». Mowat rejeta la proposition des conservateurs qui réclamaient des mesures coercitives immédiates, de peur de s'aliéner les francophones qui développeraient de l'antagonisme et, alors, disait-il, apprendraient « non pas plus... mais moins d'anglais ». Il repoussa comme « absurde » l'allégation selon laquelle le gouvernement « ne voulait pas que la population francophone apprenne l'anglais ».

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