So today Kris Austin stood on the lawn of the legislature and suggested that now is the time to look at bilingualism and see what we can do to improve the way it is done in New Brunswick
So the question is how do we make changes and how do we make sure that the people of this province are behind us.
We Talk. We talk to each other, We talk to our friends and We Talk publicly.
We need to know and understand what each and every New Brunswicker wants, needs and expects out of the language legislation for this province.
With a population that is easily 1/3 French there is no question that Bilingualism has to play a significant part in this equation. The question is what part does it play and how should it be implemented.
Bilingualism was introduced into this province with the intent of creating a fair and equal province for everyone, this was done because at the time French people were not getting service in their language and had trouble getting work in govt as well.
The problem was created when the Ideal of Bilingualism, which was to create a fair and equal playing field for all, was instead dumbed down to “make things easier for hiring”
Instead of making sure that there were French people hired, and French people were able to get served in their language, what was instead done was that it was determined that rather then try to get the proper mix of French and English workers they would just start insisting that everyone have both languages. From this came an even more bastardized idea that well maybe we should have one system for French and one system for English.
There is one problem with this plan. Many decades after segregation was put to bed we decided that for some reason it was ideal to put another version of segregation in place. This time we would take our french and our english hospitals and students.
While I have an element of understanding in trying to bring up our students in their formative years understanding their own culture and language, I feel we are perhaps limiting our children by not allowing them the chance to learn both languages properly right from an early age. (We are one of the only countries that actually teach only two languages as it is)
In our health care system it is even more interesting. We originally started with an English and a French healthcare system. This was then for some obscure reason changed to a Bilingual and French system. The immediate outcry from that resulted in us having two Bilingual systems, each with a different administrative language.
There is no reason why we can not have one system with an administration that operates in both languages. There is also no reason why a Uni lingual Franco or Anglo staff could not operate in any of these facilities simply because there would obviously be sufficient staff that one of the other staff at minimum could speak the second language.
We as a family are completely english and yet however have CHOSEN to go to the french hospital (which is slightly farther away) because our son’s doctor has priviledges there and because we instantly found a difference in attitudes and personality when we walked through the door.
Surprisingly enough the French hospital is a much friendlier place where in the english hospital we always felt like we were on edge at all times. I Chose to use the French system because I felt it was superior and I feel that by merging the two systems and creating an environment where all staff are allowed to speak their language of choice, not worry about their jobs because of their language and where quality of work and experience count for more then what language you speak, then just perhaps we might create not only a more cooperative healthcare system but one that is capable of providing a far superior level of care then our present two divided systems allows.
We as a province need to realize that we have two populations, we need to work together not at cross purposes to each other and that is best achieved when we work in a system where your language is not what determines your qualifications but your ability and your education does.
We need a system where it is simple to get service in your own language, if not from the person directly in front of you, then from another staff member who is working in that department or area.
We need a system where we unite together to drive our province forward not split and fight and sink our province while we fight over the spoils.