Sorry this is complicated but there are actually four types of duality:
• Education duality
• Healthcare duality
• Linguistic Duality
• Busing duality
This came about as a demand by the Francophone community and was codified into law in Bill 88 in 1982. That Bill specified that the Francophone community would have their own education and cultural institutions. Thus duality. There are several reasons Francophones want duality. It is not just about preserving the French language. It is about programming their children into their “culture”. In their education system they get resources for “Francization” and “identity development”. Duality is very much about the version of history taught to their children. They don’t want Anglophones teaching history to their kids.
Financially, the Francophone system receives about $40 million more per year, consisting of approximately $1085 more per child plus 9.15 million per year in what is called the “equality envelope”. There are additional millions contributed by the Federal government.
This is why the English speaking community feels cheated. This can be remedied by increasing funding to the English system by $80 million or so per year so that there is fair spending per child per year.
There is extra cost for running parallel systems. Many in the English community see this as a waste of taxpayers money and that there is a need to abolish it. However, any effort to do that would be a fool’s errand, because the process to untie the legal knots placed in this law would take years and multi millions of dollars .
There is a way to resolve this. In Ontario and Alberta , citizens are given a choice as to which education system their tax money is to be directed. Taxpayers fill out a form and sign it which directs where their tax dollars shall go for education. That could be done here. The Anglophones fund the English system and the Francophones fund the French system.
The healthcare duality is in administration only. The reason is understandable. For years the Francophones suffered from an inadequate and underfunded healthcare system. That changed with Louis Robichaud’s “Equal Opportunity” program in the 60’s. Because of their experience, Francophones don’t trust Anglophones to control their health system. The extra money in the duplication of administration is negligible compared to corporate welfare and linguistic duality. There needs to be balance and fairness in spending however.
This is generally a Federal term. There is a Federal program that has been running since 2000 called the Roadmap to Linguistic Duality. It is a multi billion dollar program renewed every 5 years. That’s right, ‘billion’.
The latest installment is 2.7 billion for the period 2018 to 2023. Approximately, $80 million plus of this comes to New Brunswick per year for Francophones for such things as minority development and minority language promotion. Anglophones in New Brunswick are not eligible for any of this. The rest of these billions goes to Anglophones inside Quebec and Francophones in the rest of Canada.
It’s unfair and it’s wasteful.
This is a somewhat bizarre idea from the leadership of the Francophone community. They do not want French and English kids mixing on the school buses thereby protecting French kids from assimilation. Many in the Anglophone community see this as a step too far, as segregation. When this came to light, the Gallant government was quick to go to court to have this practice verified as constitutional. They failed but did an “end run” around it by leaving it up to the local school authorities who simply continued the practice of separation. Premier Gallant slapped the Anglophone community in the face by bragging in a report how he preserved buss duality.
So there you go; it’s complicated. But, it needs to be discussed.