The Associate Deputy Minister from Service Canada appeared this week before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages and confirmed that, from now on, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island would be considered a single administrative region designated as unilingual Anglophone under the Official Languages Act.

“If I understand correctly that means that Acadians and other Francophones in the Atlantic Region have just lost their right to receive federal services in their official language, French.  I would like to remind honourable senators that 20 to 25 per cent of people living in the Atlantic Region are Francophone and that New Brunswick is the only officially bilingual province in Canada”.

“Does this government truly see Acadia as a unilingual Anglophone region?”  In reply, the Leader of the Government in the Senate simply indicated that “staff are not prevented from speaking to clients in the other official language in a unilingual office if they are able to do so.  It is the choice of the employee”.  Like many others believes that it is instead the public’s right to choose to use one official language or the other.

Designating the Atlantic Region as a unilingual Anglophone region seems to be a clear violation of the constitutional rights of Acadians and Francophones in that area.