Posts made in August, 2015


Posted by on Aug 21, 2015 in Life in Writing | 7 comments

I posted a rant on Facebook on August 15th, la Fête Nationale Acadienne,  It got a lot of attention–currently, it’s sitting at almost 2,000 shares and nearly 3,000 likes. On the evening of August 14th, I saw a post by Beth Lyons. I’d been thinking about this issue for a long time. Growing up in Albert County, I saw one side of the argument: the majority’s side. Lately, after seeing vocal “anglophone rights” and “anti-bilingualism” groups, my urge to say something grew. Seeing Beth’s post on the 14th sparked something in me. I woke up on the 15th and said “today’s the day”. My rant followed. I’ve long been interested in New Brunswick’s bilingual population. When I was approaching middle school, I was given the opportunity to take immersion classes in Hillsborough. Being from a small community, the idea of going to a school an hour away was a little daunting, but I really wanted to improve my meagre French skills. This was important to both me and my parents, considering neither of them spoke French and they felt that I should be connected culturally to both official languages. I stuck it through and graduated high school as Intermediate in French, which was enough to gain me acceptance to Université de Moncton’s groupe pont (bridge group)—a program for anglophones. I took a 5-year break in between to practice my French in a practical setting: working retail in Champlain Place. I couldn’t tell you what level my French is at now, but I worked very hard to get there. I went through years of anxiety, and it was anything but easy. This doesn’t really matter, but I think it’s relevant to illustrate my background as an anglophone. My quinze août rant was intended to be a public statement of recognition, from an anglophone to the francophone community, that some of the silent majority recognizes that the minority is suffering. By making this statement, I’m not ignoring the fact that unilingual anglophones might have a hard time finding a job in New Brunswick. The problem is that anglophones are in the majority in our province, and these growing anglo rights groups are speaking over francophones who are have had similar experiences for a long time. The focus shift to anglophone rights must be discouraging for francophones. I know that both sides of the language debate–how is there still a language debate?!–have problems. However, as an anglophone, I am allied, by default, to anglophones, and this is why I wrote my rant. When the majority is loud in favour of the majority, the minority is silenced. This is what I fear. Many francophones tend to hear negativity from the anglophone side, and I felt it was important to let francophones know that some of us are willing to speak up. I’m a little disappointed that, despite francophones speaking out about these issues for years, these issues are only being addressed now that an anglophone is publicly decrying them. I’m very glad that the message I wrote has resonated with so many people, but I do hope that others decide to listen to francophone voices and stand up for their right to speak and work in their language. I also find it interesting that I was interviewed by four French media outlets, and only one English one. The fact that CTV published a poll asking whether bilingualism is outdated or not on their website is proof that we have a serious problem in our province. The results heavily favoured doing away with bilingualism–this coming notably from primarily English-speaking viewers. I’m not saying our province isn’t broken. We have low literacy rates. Our unemployment rate is high. We have a failing economy. We have a slew of problems, but we’re constantly putting the blame on bilingualism and duality. This is not a black and white issue. Getting rid of bilingualism will not fix these problems. Language is a skill like any other, and it is a marketable skill. Certainly, some anglophones have unfairly lost their jobs–I am speaking of specific examples, not every occurrence thereof. While I agree that all jobs shouldn’t necessarily be bilingual by default, bilingualism as an ideal...

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