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Monday, March 17, 2008

CURRENT EVENTS: If we are going to protect English in Quebec, we must protect French in the rest of Canada.

Recently, the New Brunswick education minister canceled the French immersion programme in that province. We know that this action will be seized upon by the language zealots and separatists of Quebec as an excuse to justify their militancy. For that reason, I urge everyone to join the following facebook group:

Save Early French Immersion in Canada's "Bilingual" Province

You can e-mail the Minister of Education at: kelly.lamrock@gnb.ca

You can call the Minister's office at: (506) 457-4960

You can fax the Minister's office at: (506) 453-2523

If you opt to send an email, I would strongly urge you to write something similar to the message below, which I sent to Madame Lamrock:

*****

Good day.

As a Canadian citizen, and an Anglophone residing in the province of Quebec, I must strongly urge you to reconsider cancellation of the French Immersion programme.

For several reasons, the least of which is the questionable nature of the data in the report upon which you based your decision, it is important for you to do this.

First, New Brunswick has one of the oldest and most important French communities outside of Quebec. The Acadian people have been put through a lot in the past, and this is another slap in the face to an important part of New Brunswick culture, history and heritage.

As the education minister, you have a responsibility to the people of your province, and particularly in New Brunswick, you have a duty as a government official to protect and maintain the heritage of one of your province’s founding peoples.

Second, in Quebec, we are seeing an upsurge of militant separatist and Francophone anti-Anglophone sentiment. Ours is a community in decline. We are fighting for the survival of our culture, community, basic human rights and heritage. We are fighting an uphill battle for those things, within Quebec.

Any action outside of Quebec that can be perceived as an attack on the French language is seized upon by these militants as a rallying cry, as justification for their bigotry against the English language and the Anglophone culture, community and heritage in Quebec. Your decision is therefore not merely an internal matter affecting the province of New Brunswick. It affects your neighbours as well. You have an influence not just on a provincial level, Madame Minister...your actions have far-ranging consequences for more than just the citizens of your province. I strongly urge you, for the good of all, to reconsider your position.

Subsequently, anything that can be perceived as an attack against the French language in Canada is used to the advantage of Quebec Separatists. Along with the upswing of Francocentric militancy in Quebec, there is a corresponding upswing in Separatist sentiment. As a Canadian citizen, as a public servant in an important ministerial role in a provincial government of Canada, you have a duty to protect and preserve the Dominion of Canada. Part of that duty includes working towards national unity. Your decision to cancel the French Language immersion programme in your province can and will only adversely affect the cause of national unity. Again, I strongly urge you to do the right thing, to reinstate this programme.

Yours is an important office. Your duty is to oversee the moulding of the next generation of Canadian citizens. Yours is not an easy duty, and I understand that. However, your duty is to shape the minds, to expand the minds, of all the citizens of your province. Cancelling French immersion sends a strong message to the French-speaking, Acadian population of New Brunswick: It says that the old divisions of the two solitudes are still there…that the English will exclude the French…whether that is the intent of your decision or not--and I am sure that it is not your intention--that is how this decision will be perceived by many in the Acadian community, and by many others not only in the Province of New Brunswick, but beyond. I beseech you; do not turn your back on a programme that can only help perpetuate New Brunswick’s standing as Canada’s only officially bilingual province.

You are the education minister of all citizens of New Brunswick. You are the chief teacher of the province. Think very carefully about what lesson you want the people whom you serve to learn.

Respectuflly,

Steve Karmazenuk

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