Friday, April 11, 2008

Burn, party card, burn

Published Friday April 11th, 2008
Appeared on page A3

She has been a Liberal for five decades, but on Thursday morning Irma Ferlatte was so burned up that she quit the party. Standing across the street from a hotel in Dalhousie where the premier and cabinet were meeting with community leaders, Ferlatte tossed a placard aside and set her membership card ablaze.

"I am very disillusioned with the Liberal party,'' said Ferlatte, 71, who was celebrating her 50th year as a true Grit. "They are not standing up for what I believe in. "I invite anyone else who wants to follow suit to join me. We have to make a stand."

Like just about everywhere else government officials turn up these days, Ferlatte and several dozen other protesters turned out to rail at them for eliminating early French immersion. And the tone seems to be getting more and more angry all the time.


"I think this is just terrible,'' said Stacy Doiron, who in 1976 was among the first groups of students in Campbellton to attend French immersion. "I went to bed one night and woke up the next morning, and the program was gone. "New Brunswick is a bilingual province and we're taking away early French immersion? I just can't wrap my mind around it."


"The bottom line is that this is something that comes down to choice,'' she said. "It should be our choice as parents if we want our children to take early French immersion, and the government has taken our choice away."

A teacher for 46 years, Gertrude Harrison of Dalhousie said she is torqued by a handful of issues, immersion chief among them. "They think we're stupid,'' Harrison said. "They think they can lie to us with statistics. But it doesn't take too much reading to recognize that their report on French immersion is bogus."

Ferlatte, meanwhile, lamented the fact that the situation had gotten to the point where she felt compelled to torch her party membership card. "I can remember the year I turned 21,'' she said. "We had an election that year, and I got to vote for the first time, and I was never so proud. "But now I have never been so disappointed in a government. At times, you realize government has to do what it has to do, and you just have to live with it.

"But with this one, we're not going to stand for it."

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