The People’s Alliance Calls on Gallant Government to Halt Changes to French Immersion

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Kris Austin, leader of the People’s Alliance of New Brunswick

The Gallant government, in its first days of this sitting of the Legislature, once again reiterated its plans to reintroduce French Immersion into Grade one. This is being done against strong advice from the New Brunswick Teacher’s Association, from Dr. Miller at St. Thomas University, and from other experts in the field who have pointed out that the negatives for early immersion far outweigh any positives this program might achieve.

“Gallant’s motives have nothing to do with educational objectives; this is all about politics,” says Kris Austin, leader of the People’s Alliance of New Brunswick. “With our literacy rates in both official languages at levels so low that it’s mind-boggling, if Gallant were interested in the educational objectives, he would pay attention to what the educators and experts are saying. And what they are saying is that the immersion point should not be moved to grade one.” Austin also points out that this re-introduction goes completely against the recent educational roadmap which promised that education would be left to the educators.

Austin notes that there is far more common ground between the English and French-speaking communities of New Brunswick than the divisive policies of successive PC and Liberal governments suggest, and one area of that common ground is literacy. “We all want our children to become literate in their mother tongue first, not only as the means of preserving their own language, but to ensure they can communicate successfully and with confidence in that language.”

“Communicating successfully in one’s language doesn’t just mean speaking the language and having a good vocabulary. Successful communication skills include reading and writing…or, in other words, literacy. We are failing our children and our families in achieving this literacy, and neither our English nor our French parents are satisfied with these results,” continued Austin.

Also absent from the announcement was any mention of how many English-speaking elementary school teachers have to be displaced, and new French Immersion teachers hired, to implement this program. “Teacher displacement could be as high as one hundred,” says Austin. “To follow through, French Immersion will have to be offered in grade two as these students move along, which means more teacher displacement until eventually the Immersion program hits grade three, where it begins now.”

H­­e also noted that, since French immersion at any grade level is still not available to every student in the province, further changes to the entry grade are pointless until that disparity can be corrected.

“A People’s Alliance government would leave these decisions in the hands of the educators and experts, unlike successive PC and Liberal regimes,” says Austin. “They have spoken, repeatedly and emphatically. The entry point shouldn’t be changed, and the politics have to be taken out of the program.”


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Kris Austin backs Auditor General over government “Contingency Fund” dispute

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Kris Austin Leader of People’s Alliance Party

The People’s Alliance supports the position of the Auditor General on her remarks concerning the government’s accounting practices.  Kim MacPherson, who is an independent legislative officer, has repeatedly rebuked the government over how it misleads the public on the annual deficit.  Former finance minister Roger Melanson along with current finance minister Cathy Rogers has allowed what they call a “contingency fund” to be included with deficit projections.  This contingency fund does not represent real money and has been created to inflate the government’s performance on being fiscally responsible.

 

People’s Alliance leader Kris Austin says this government must return to acceptable accounting practices and immediately stop the political games.

“The contingency fund is like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow… it simply does not exist and is used to do nothing but manipulate taxpayers,” says Austin. “The People’s Alliance is calling on the Gallant government to stop playing politics with the people’s finances and start showing the real numbers by using accounting practices that are acknowledged by the Auditor General.”


Kris Austin continues to advocate for one license plate, two year vehicle registration option among changes to MVA during Albert county town hall speech

krisAustinThe leader of the People’s Alliance Party is calling on the provincial government to follow through on making changes to the Motor Vehicle Act that would save the province money and improve service for New Brunswickers.

In November 2015, Minister Victor Boudreau hinted with CBC that two changes could be coming for drivers. The first change was to go paperless if you shall choose, which would allow New Brunswickers to receive their renewal notice via email. The second change was to allow vehicle owners to register for a two year term, rather than the current annual renewal. The changes could save the province more than $500,000 annually, a long standing policy of the People’s Alliance Party.

“Not only would it directly save $500,000 per year,” says Party leader Kris Austin, “it would also indirectly save by freeing wait times which currently can be 30 minutes, an hour, or more. These simple changes would save the province money, resources and most importantly save people time.”

In early 2014 the People’s Alliance released its policy on changes to the Motor Vehicle Act, highlights included:

– Giving drivers the options to renewal their registration every two years
– Removing the front license plate requirement
– No longer requiring a license plate sticker
– Passenger vehicle inspections every two years on vehicles 6 years or newer, or under 150,000 kilometers

Excluding the registration switch, other changes revealed a total cost savings of over $600,000 per year. Factoring in Liberal estimates on the two year registration option, combined savings would be well over $1 million each and every year.

Austin says six provinces and all three territories only require a rear plate, making the New Brunswick two plate law among only a few.

“New Brunswickers see the front plate as redundant, costly”, says Austin, “We expect government to run as efficiently as possible and by holding onto practices that are outdated, holds us back. We encourage the government to adopt our MVA changes, which are just common sense.”


People’s Alliance Motions The Court Of Appeal For Intervenor Status Regarding Dual Busing Question

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The People’s Alliance has filed a motion with the Court of Appeal yesterday (May 31st, 2016) to be an intervenor in the reference question relating to duality of school bus transportation.

Party leader Kris Austin stated,

“With the Attorney General refusing the admonishment of Chief Justice Drapeau to argue both sides and instead using tax dollars to only present one side of the coin, we felt even more compelled to proceed with an application for intervenor.”

The next court date is scheduled for June 15th at 10am in which motions will be heard and procedures outlined.


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.