Open Letter to Premier Higgs and Official Languages Commissioner, Shirley MacLean

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This letter is regarding the television advertisements by our new Official Languages Commissioner, Shirley MacLean.

While watching our local news the other day we were saddened to hear of the closure of six rural emergency rooms. Then, during the commercial break after hearing that bad news, we were subjected to the Official Languages Commissioner’s propaganda style advertising telling English New Brunswick to learn French and be proud.

These ads are being aired in the most expensive prime-time advertising slots, and of course taxpayers are footing the bill. While at the same time, Premier Higgs states it’s necessary to close night services in our rural healthcare systems!? What message do you believe this sends to English NB about your priorities Premier Higgs? This type of ineffective language propaganda on the backs of taxpayers at this time of fiscal restraint is a slap in the face to everyone in this province.

The money spent on these commercials would have been better spent on purchasing a French Language Program that works for our children. Access to Information documents prove less than 10% of all English graduates annually reach a level of French that would qualify them to apply for work in their own government and civil service! It’s time every child in New Brunswick be given equal opportunity regardless of the language of the family they were born into.

These ads also reveal a disconnect between the English in NB and the offices of the Premier and Language Commissioner. They show us our present government and Language Commissioner do not understand or are intentionally ignoring the very real and looming concerns of English NB.

It’s past time both offices listen with intent to the English population to understand their needs regarding language, language training, implementation of language laws and how they view the future for their families in New Brunswick. The English have legitimate concerns that must be addressed and appropriate actions taken if we plan to move this province forward to a more respectful, prosperous and harmonious future for everyone in New Brunswick.

Heather Wilkins

ARANB Director

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