The current political discourse in New Brunswick has shown a surprising lack of civility. This is very much out of character with either the Acadian and Maritimer reputation for being warm and welcoming. What is going on? How can one make sense of the animosity about language?
It is difficult to understand what is fuelling this language strife. Motivations are as varied as the pulp acreage in the province. But at least since the fall election, language issues have been an obvious source of division.
Anglophone politicians and citizens alike tend to view language issues through the economic lens. Any expense related to the French language instantly comes under severe scrutiny. There is a presumption of waste.
The Jeux de la Francophonie has done something that politicians in New Brunswick cannot seem to do: foster unity across the language divide. Everyone is up in arms at the purported ballooning of costs of these Games, scheduled to be held in Moncton and Dieppe in 2021.
However, the economic arguments against provincial funding are short-sighted and fail to take into account key factors, not the least of which is the international reputation of a small Canadian province. Most politicians and citizens are making one-sided arguments in the media: those that line up with their partisan or ideological leanings.
Continuer la lecture de There is more to Francophonie Games than the money
Francophone Ontario is the barometer of francophone communities in Canada. What happens if the wind changes direction or if a low-pressure system moves in?
A barometer measures atmospheric pressure. It is a gauge of the environment and weather systems. Official language minority communities in Canada know all too well how much environment plays a role in the expression of identity and collective aspirations. These systems, which come and go, can often hinder development (low pressure) or, in some cases, facilitate positive actions (high pressure).
Currently, there is a fast moving low-pressure system that seems to be threatening Francophones in Ontario and elsewhere. Canadians, and especially those who believe in linguistic duality, should be very concerned. The very fabric of the country might be tearing at the seams.
New Brunswick, the only officially bilingual province, is often referred to as a shining example of linguistic harmony. Is this truly the case after the 2018 provincial election? What lessons can the rest of the Canadian francophonie learn from recent rhetoric on language policy?
By coincidence, the 2018 provincial elections in New Brunswick and Quebec overlapped. Though the dynamics were fundamentally different, certain parallels on language issues can be drawn.
What lessons can the English-speaking minority in Quebec learn from the Acadian experience?
The judicial recounts in two New Brunswick ridings seem to confirm the party equilibrium in the upcoming Legislative Assembly. Nonetheless, we still do not know who will effectively govern the province. The challenges are well known and expectations are running high to fully address key issues: public finances, demographic decline, the environment, etc. But, if we were to assess issues solely through the lens of linguistic duality, what actions would be most productive moving forward?
Analyzing New Brunswick’s political landscape via the prism of linguistic duality provides each political party with specific homework.
Wela’lioq. Thank you to the Mi’kmaw people and to their ancestors.
Thank you for being at our side at the darkest hour of my people, the Grand Dérangement (Great Upheaval), also known as the Acadian Deportation.
I am alive today because of the Mi’kmaq. I want to thank them. I owe them my life and that is a debt I cannot possibly repay.
I was not there in September 1755 in Grand-Pré. I can only imagine the horror of families, husbands and wives, and their children torn asunder. Men, embarked on vessels mandated by the British Crown, must say good bye to their beloved Acadie. Did they know then that they would never be able to return to the land that their ancestors had harvested for more than a century?
Language has yet again reared its ugly head following the New Brunswick provincial election. At root, the real issue is not if New Brunswickers are split along linguistic fault lines, but rather to what extent language rhetoric and policies are respectful of the Acadian minority.
It is unclear what the true intentions of newly-elected unilingual anglophone politicians are, but some of the election rhetoric was inflammatory. The controversy in organizing a French-language leaders’ debate, which would not have happened but for key advocacy groups, only served to confirm a sense of alienation among francophones.
How the newly elected minority government, be it Liberal or Conservative, will move forward on language issues is an open-ended question. Some lessons and basic tenets should be top of mind.