Wednesday, May 1st 2019 - Acadians in New Brunswick Statement
Acadians in New Brunswick
Hon. Rose-May Poirier: Honourable senators, it goes without saying that there are milestones in every culture’s history. That is certainly the case for Acadian culture.
Fifty years ago, on April 18, 1969, the legislative assembly in Fredericton passed the Official Languages Act under the leadership of Louis J. Robichaud, also known as “Little Louis”, the first Acadian premier in the history of New Brunswick.
This act made French and English the two official languages of New Brunswick. It recognizes the fundamental right of New Brunswickers to receive government services in the official language of their choice.
As a result, New Brunswick became the only officially bilingual province in Canada. This law made New Brunswick’s francophone and Acadian population full-fledged citizens. For us, New Brunswickers, that date in history changed our lives, our paths, and the way we interact with our neighbours.
Fifty years later, New Brunswickers are able to assert their language rights in the school system, in the health care system and at service centres. Although we still face obstacles and challenges, the perseverance of Acadians knows no bounds.
Just as we returned to our land after the 1755 deportation, and just like Pélagie in Antonine Maillet’s Pélagie-la-Charrette, we will continue on our journey as a people who dream big, who dream of living and prospering in our language and culture.
To all Acadians and all New Brunswickers, I say let’s be proud to live in a province that recognizes the equal status of both of its linguistic communities. The Official Languages Act remains a major accomplishment for us as Acadians and New Brunswickers. Together, let’s celebrate this historic moment and look towards the future with hope and optimism to promote the full development of our communities. Thank you.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!