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NB Liberals Disappointed By Premier Response To Official Languages Act Review

By News Dec 13, 2022 | 1:06 PM

Susan Holt is leader of the New Brunswick Liberal Party. Image: Submitted

Disappointment from the Official Opposition over the review of the Official Languages Act and the response.

Official Opposition critic for Official Languages Benoît Bourque says, “This provides further evidence of Premier Blaine Higgs complete lack of understanding of language rights in New Brunswick.

He adds that instead of respecting the Official Languages Act,  the Premier chose to announce a secretariat that will take on many of the responsibilities and duties of the Office of the Commissioner of Official languages.

“The review of the Official Languages Act by the current government has been flawed from the beginning. It was held behind closed doors, without meaningful opportunities for Members of the Legislative Assembly to participate. In addition, including a review of French language instruction to the mandate of the Commissioners reveals the current government’s ignorance of the Act and lack of respect for language rights in New Brunswick” says Benoît Bourque.

Liberal Leader Susan Holt is expressing her concern about the tensions the Higgs Government is creating among the province’s two official linguistic communities.

She says the way the Higgs Government has handled this review has created confusion around what the Official Languages Act means for New Brunswickers.  “It has exacerbated fears in the linguistic communities. This is not the type of leadership New Brunswick needs right now. We need to be building bridges and bringing people together with our shared future in mind,” Holt says.

Premier Higgs announced on Monday, the province will create a Secretariat of Official Languages in the new year.

The new secretariat is being formed in response to the 2021 review of the province’s Official Languages Act.

The province is not saying how many recommendations from the report, released last December, may be implemented.

Among the series of recommendations was the establishment of a provincial Department of Official Languages.

Instead of creating a separate department, the secretariat will operate within the existing Department of Intergovernmental Affairs.

With files from Brad Perry and Tara Clow.


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