Monday, April 21, 2008

Letter of the day | Is anybody in N.B. awake, or is it a bad dream?

Published Monday April 21st, 2008 Times and Transcript
Appeared on page D8

In 1972, my wife and I moved from Halifax to Moncton. We came here on a work promotion from a multinational company. After a few months, we had real second thoughts about staying in New Brunswick. The reason, as many of you may remember, was the time of English and French politicians flexing their bigotry muscles, and the highlight we all remember of a pig's head being placed upon the doorstep of one of those politicians.

Since that time, with the help of some level-headed people we started to move toward tolerance of each other. English schools began programs to learn French language with early immersion classes. Health care facilities and other government departments recognized the fairness of citizens being able to be served in their own Official Language.

There was positive progress being made. The bigoted jokes I once heard were greatly reduced and in most cases were no longer being tolerated. I am a purebred English-speaker and have educated both my children in early French immersion and they have completed high school and speak both French and English today.

However, I am now deeply disturbed by some of the latest moves of the Government of New Brunswick. It seems they have a desire to return to those old days of trouble.

The reason I say this is that the dropping of early French immersion in favour of late immersion will be too late for students to become fluent. I had French language training in Nova Scotia beginning in Grade 7 and I never learned to speak any conversation in French until I returned to Conversational French and forced myself later in life.

I believe we should be starting earlier; kindergarten; not later. ...

Governments learned long ago to divide and conquer and in that way you polarize the people to keep your party in power. However, I have learned in my lifetime that old men create and dream of wars while their young men die fighting them.

Where is the Opposition? Where is the press?

Is anybody awake or am I just having a bad dream?

Barry Burton, Riverview

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a powerful letter!