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Dieppe Mayor Speaks Out About Languages Committee Appointment

By Tara Clow Nov 9, 2022 | 12:49 PM

(Photo: Dieppe City Council)

The Mayor of Dieppe is expressing concerns after the appointment of Kris Austin to the Official Languages Act Review Committee.

In a statement, Mayor Yvon Lapierre asked Premier Higgs to remove Austin from the committee.

“It is with surprise, disappointment, and incomprehension that we learned of the appointment of Kris Austin to the Official Languages Act review committee. As the largest francophone city in the province, we have a duty to add our voice to those who oppose this nomination. We are therefore obliged to denounce the absurdity of appointing a person who has demonstrated, since the beginning of his career in politics, a lack of interest in protecting official languages, especially French,” Lapierre says.

“While we agree with the importance of having different perspectives and opinions in such an important discussion, it is nonsense to select a person with such a polarized opinion. We find it difficult to see how having Mr. Austin at the table will lead to a healthy, caring, positive, and constructive conversation.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also openly criticized Higgs for nominating Austin, “You don’t put someone who has spent his entire career attacking official bilingualism and questioning the need to protect French in New Brunswick or elsewhere on a panel designed to protect bilingualism.”

Higgs says he was “surprised” when Trudeau raised the issue during a meeting yesterday while adding there are no plans to remove Austin from the committee.

Premier Blaine Higgs said last week that 10 MLAs are sitting on the committee including two Francophones, Réjean Savoie and Daniel Allain, which he said will create balance.

With files from Allan Dearing and Brad Perry.


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