CORNWALL, Ontario – Cornwall City Councillor Syd Gardiner has put forward a motion to ask the province to consider Cornwall as the location of a planned French language university.
At the end of August, the Progressive Conservative government of Premier Doug Ford reversed their decision to cancel the project to build a French language university and decided to move ahead.
Gardiner feels that Cornwall would be an ideal location for a future French university.
“There’s a lot we can offer in terms of affordability for students,” he said. “I wanted to work to get this done before they put it in Toronto.”
Gardiner cited the cheaper cost of living in Cornwall, and said that there were already potential sites were such a university could be housed including parts of the Aultsville portion of the St. Lawrence College campus, and the Nav Centre.
Gardiner also said that the Francophone population of Eastern Ontario made the Cornwall area a strong choice for a university and could be a way to keep young Francophones in the region.
“I have a major issue as a councillor and I think Steve Clark (provincial Minister for Municipal Affairs) would understand that young people are moving out of small urban areas to Toronto,” he said. “The province tells us we need to come up with ways to keep young people here, but they don’t do anything to help us with it.”
The French Catholic school board, the Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l’Est ontarien (CSDCEO) enrollment has reached over 10,000 students and is growing, something Gardiner says other boards cannot boast.
Gardiner said that he has already received support for a French language university in Cornwall from the Mayor, some other councillors, and had spoken to the MPP who said he supported the idea of a French language university in Eastern Ontario.
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