People’s Alliance calls for repeal of unnecessary language requirements now placed on professional associations

 

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Kris Austin 

Kris Austin , leader of the People’s Alliance party, is calling on government and the official opposition to table a repeal of new far reaching language requirements placed on professional associations. The newly implemented changes to the Official Languages Act, which were unanimously passed under the Alward Conservative government during the secret closed door hearings in 2013 and reaffirmed in 2015 by the current Gallant government, took effect July 1st.

 

Professional associations such as the New Brunswick Real Estate Association and the New Brunswick Association of Land Surveyors now are required to offer service and publications in both official languages.

This past Tuesday, the New Brunswick Language Commissioner, Katherine D’Entremont, encouraged the people of the province to begin submitting complaints to her office for non-compliance of the new law.

“The last thing people want in this province is another strong-armed approach to language by the Language Commissioner’s office,” says Austin. “The Office is redundant, inefficient, and does nothing but further divide New Brunswickers. ”

Austin says if neither the Liberals nor Conservatives will act now, one of the first orders of business for a People’s Alliance government in the future would be to repeal the amendments and have an open review of the Official Languages Act, with submissions accepted equally by parties from both linguistic communities.

“The Languages Act was meant to ensure that a unilingual citizen could receive government services in his or her own language. Extending it to force language requirements on private associations is a gross overreach, and it needs to end,” Austin emphasized.

The party would also abolish the office of the Language Commissioner, and future complaints would be deferred to the local MLA, the minister responsible for Official Languages, or the Ombudsman.


 

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Peoples Alliance Party Leader Kris Austin Says We Need To Abolish The Office Of The Official Language Commissioner

 

Transcription

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.


Katherine d’Entremont Demon Villain or Victim of Circumstances

By André Faust

Why has Katherine d’Entremont become one New Brunswick most despised person, Granted she set herself up when she laid a complaint to herself against long time employee Wayne Grant because he couldn’t speak French, No matter how you cut it that one was un faux pas.

Why bilingualism has become a problem has more to do with New Brunswick economics then d’Entremont, more precisely the problem of bilingualism due to the scarcity of employment in the province, not all New Brunswickers are technological geeks and cannot take advantage of the emerging technological industries when you start make decisions that negatively effects ones livelihood you’re going to have problems.

By virtue of trying to uphold the Official Languages of Canada as set forth in The Constitution Act of 1982 section 16 through to section 22 in an  impoverished Province  with an unemployment rate of 10.2%. Which is based on those who are drawing unemployment Insurance the figure doesn’t include students, and those who have given up looking for work, the real figure is much greater if the employment rate was much lower bilingualism would not be as big of an issue as it is.
The perception that the English community is having, is that economic advantages are being giving to the French members of the community.

Common sense observation seems to reinforce that perception, when you walk into a government office, two things are immediately obvious, one is the French accent the other French is spoken first. If equality existed you would expect to see as many government employees who native tongue is English and French is the second language as you see government employees whose native tongue is French and English is the second language.

Then comes the question of proficiency, it appears that an Anglophone has to be more than proficient in French while the Francophone only needs to be at max functionally proficient in English to qualify for or maintain employment with the government.

What adds salt to the injury is when people are being fired because they are not bilingual which on the surface seems to be only the unilingual English speakers that are being sacked from their jobs because they can’t communicate in French. There are no known reported cases where a French unilingual person is dismissed from their jobs because they can’t speak English.
Ideally speaking,  the province should make funds available to allow New Brunswickers whether English or French to take courses to be functionally bilingual, those who are currently employed with government should receive the financial support so they can take courses to become bilingual,  canning them from their jobs is not the solution!  At present there is no financial incentives for unilingual persons to study language that they are weak in or have no knowledge of the language.

Obviously the province can’t afford to invest in its citizens to become bilingual the money would have to come from the Federal government to make that a reality.  By the fact that New Brunswick specifically is included in the constitution makes it a distinctive province like Quebec and it needs to be treated as such from the Federal Government.  The Federal Government needs to kick in a half a billion dollars over the course of “X” number of years to allow New Brunswick to fully comply with the constitution without creating a division between the two linguistic groups.


 

Languages Commissioner Katherine d’Entremont Zero Tolerance on Bilingualism

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Editorial:

By André Faust

Divide and Conquer seems the words of the day for languages commission Katherine d’Entremont. She appears to be adamant in creating divisions between the Anglophone and Francophone communities in the Province of New Brunswick, which is ironical considering that the New Brunswick Commission on Hydraulic Fracture made a blanket statement that in order to advance New Brunswick all New Brunswickers have work together and have trust in each other. D’Entremont’s actions are not conducive in bring in New Brunswickers together.

She begin her personalized assault on the Anglophone population when she set up commissionaire Wayne Grant, when she went and spoke to him in French, Mr. Grant told her that he could not speak French but he could get someone who was bilingual to look after her, so she was not denied service. Following the setup she filed a complaint with her own commission. How non biased is that! All of a sudden she is Judge, Jury and Executioner.

The further her crusade against the Anglophone community she drafted her own report to justify her actions against Mr. Grant. According to her report all commissionaires have to be bilingual in the Centennial building so that they can give immediate service in French. Realistically the only requirement that is need is to provide the service in a timely manner. Does her ambition to get ahead over ride common sense.

The Gallant government have been wanking about cost cutting and have initiated several strategies to try to mitigate the deficit, however her actions of having to have everyone bilingual will increase the cost to the government which is the antithesis of what the government is trying to do.

On the practical side, the number of bilingual persons should reflect the ratio between Anglophones and Francophone. If you are in a region that is 70% English and 30% French, then the number of bilingual persons need should reflect that ratio of 7:3 so there should be 7 uni-lingual persons to 3 bilingual persons. Keeping things proportional would serve both communities. Whether it is in the Northern part of the province where the there is a greater number of Francophone to English ratio, if you are in another region where there is a greater number of Anglophone to French ratio.

Katherine d’Entremont by her prejudice against the English speaking community is dividing the province and not in a good way.


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