André: This André Faust and I am with Kris Austin the leader of the People’s Alliance Party, Glad you were able to take this little time out with me.
Kris: Yeah, good to be here André
André: We have a hot potato taking place here in the province and that’s the language commissions’ office. Now we know that there people calling for her resignation, calling to dismiss her, are there any grounds. Are there any grounds to even be able go that direction?
Kris: We believe there is, but there is a lot more to it I think than what people realize.
Back in 2013 the Government under David Alward the conservatives put in an amendment in the Official Languages act which in essence made those sub contracted through government now falls under the OLA (Official Languages Act) which means commissionaires who were sub contracted by the government now fall under the act. That is one aspect of it. The aspect of it to me is the spirit what the language of what the language commission office is supposed to be, it supposed to be to bring harmony and unity to both cultures to make sure that things are done fairly and respectfully, but what that office has become is nothing more than a witch hunt, to try to find people that are unilingual Anglophone throughout the province, I think the spirit of the office has lost it’s way, and I think for that reason and I think for the reason of Wayne Grants’ case where documents were leaked to us showing that Katherine d’Entremont did not disclosed herself as the complainant, I think that in itself is misleading and we believe that is grounds that she acted without good faith.
André: In the official language act, section 43 which covers her position, I just read it briefly before I came here and it gives her a lot of power.
Kris: It does.
André: An incredible amount of power
Kris: too much power.
André: And for removal, she has to not follow the law. That brings us back to the Charter, so it’s a lot more complicated,
Kris: It is we don’t dispute that, the question that people have to ask is, how did we get to this place? How did we get to the place where the language commissionaire has that much free reign, and now she will say that that she has no authority to be able to remove anybody from a job, or fire anybody, and that’s true, she simply makes recommendations.
Let’s be honest the language commission has a reputation in New Brunswick that when she speaks the civil service scrambles and we have seen that with Wayne Grant. We have seen that with Doug and Ward the two commissionaires from Moncton. We see it over and over and over again. What we need in New Brunswick is a balance approach to language. As a party I have said this before and will continue to say this, we support bilingualism in its original intent should be based on where numbers warrant and to apply common sense. We are today so far from that center and it’s has caused a lot of division and strife among our people.
I think there is only one way it needs to end. I think you need to abolish the office of the official language commissioner, just get rid of the office altogether. What I would like to see is a cultural review committee to included Anglophone, Francophone, First Nations. The committee be mandated that their job is to find unity in New Brunswick, and find away that we can come together, respect one another have equality in the province.
Andre: Thank you very much Kris.