For those of you English speaking folks not familiar with politics of language in New Brunswick, this is how it works.
The very basic principle at play is that minorities deserve more because they are minorities and at risk of losing their language and culture. Now, most Anglophones accept this principle because of their sense of fair play. Most Anglophones are generous and sympathetic toward those who appear to be having a hard time.
The question becomes; to what extent do we support the Francophone minority? Right now we have no say in that.
If we are talking about government funding, Anglophones are 68% in New Brunswick and 80% in Canada as a whole. It follows that Anglophones are the source of those percentages of tax revenue, a large majority.
How much more the minority should get on a per person basis in order to support the “vitality” of the minority Francophone community has not been defined. What is fair?
We do not know the complete financial funding afforded to the Francophone community through governments. We do know that primarily through federal programs, that the Francophone community get over $100 million dollars per year in New Brunswick more than Anglophones. A lot of that comes through Heritage Canada that originated with a program called the Roadmap to Linguistic Duality, a $ 2.7 billion program over 5 years.
If you ask most Francophones, they would say that is reasonable and perhaps it is but we need to have frank discussion about what guide lines are being used to determine how much more Francophones deserve due to their minority status or if in fact there are any guidelines.
Perhaps some would advocate that minority funding should be determined by the minority. For the majority community to question this spending is to risk being automatically labelled anti minority but is that fair?
It seems that the fair way for government to respond is to fund on a per person basis as much as possible. If the Francophone community in New Brunswick require that extra one or two hundred million dollars per year then give a comparable amount percentage wise to the Anglophone community until such time that we spend ourselves right into oblivion.