Fredericton — Despite the heated arguments raging over the English/French divide in the province, the Gallant government is pushing forward with a controversial new language plan. At a press conference today, Premier Gallant announced the end of New Brunswick’s official bilingualism policy.
“Going forward,” said Gallant, “Chiac will be the only official language in this province.” While details of the plan are still being worked out, the basics consist of a 3-prong approach: Chiac language training for anglophones, Chiac language training for francophones and the offer of $5,000 per month for the birth of every Chiac baby born to a Chiac mother.
The $5,000-per-child initiative is the most controversial of the 3 prongs. Chiac mothers will receive this financial incentive as long as the child is raised speaking Chiac as his or her first language. The government plans to enforce this initiative with a new group of inspectors hired to ensure these children are being raised in a Chiac-speaking household.
“This means no pure English or French spoken in the house,” Gallant explained. “TV and books in both languages are OK since the child needs to learn the rudimentary aspects of the English and French language, but ultimately, the child has to speak and understand Chiac.”
The money would continue until the child enters the school system and inspections would continue until the inspector is convinced that the child can pass a comprehensive Chiac language test. It’s a needed economic boost for a segment of the population that has felt discriminated against for a long time.
Chiac mothers everywhere were thrilled. “We’ve been third-class citizens for too long now! French people look down on us and say we don’t speak proper French; English people always complain they can’t understand what we say,” said a spokesperson for Chiac Survivors. “Well, that’s all about to change! And I’ve already spoken to my husband and we’re going to put on an addition to the house for all the new kids! I’m already pregnant!”
Supporters of the plan applauded the initiative citing guaranteed population growth as one of the highlights.
“We’ve been fighting the outmigration in this province for a while now,” said the head of the New Brunswick Federation of Independent Businesses, “and I’m both pleased and excited that this new initiative sets our province up to build the workforce of tomorrow.”
When asked for clarification regarding the accelerated pace of the changes, Gallant responded, “We have to do this to prepare for the future. In a perfect world, our entire province will speak Chiac by 2025. Think of it like a new Esperanto, only for New Brunswickers. Together, we can become world leaders for more inclusive linguistic communities!”
The government revealed an aggressive timeline for the new initiative: 2016: $5,000 for every Chiac mother who has a Chiac child (paid monthly until the child is enrolled in a provincial school); 2017: language instruction classes for all New Brunswick aglophones and francophones; 2018: removal of all language immersion programs in schools and the introduction of Chiac as the language of instruction in all English- and French-language schools; 2018-19: removal of English/French road signs and replacement with Chiac road signs; 2020: removal of both English and French from all government documents and pamphlets (replaced with Chiac); 2025: Chiac adopted as the single official language of New Brunswick.
From this point onward, no further translation between French and English would be needed for government services. Detractors remained unconvinced.
“Great, now neither French- or English-speaking people will understand their government! That’s just great!” complained an irate protester outside the press conference. Others inside cited the same concern. An official with Anglophones United said, “I can only understand every fourth of fifth word when someone starts going on in Chiac to me — I won’t even have a phrase book to try to understand them! Who’s ever heard of an English/Chiac translation guide?”
Gallant assured both language communities that Chiac communication classes would be set up as soon as possible for everyone who is new to the language.
“We get it!” said Gallant. “Learning a new language is hard, but with this initiative you really only have to learn about one-quarter to one-third of a new language. Rules about sentence structure and tenses go out the window too. It’s really a win-win for all New Brunswickers!”
Government savings will run into the billions as translation services are shut down and all individual English and French departments are merged into megaChiac units.
“My husband has a good job working for the government finance department,” said one Acadian woman who attended the press conference. “We already speak Chiac at home. With this new $5,000-per-child initiative, I could outpace his earnings after only a few kids! Heck, I could even leave him now! He’s a bit of a douche actually.”