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.