Moncton — It’s often said that it pays to advertise, and it seems as though a group of anglophones in Moncton have caught onto the well-known axiom. In a move that has outraged and incensed citizens, a local anglophone rights group has posted a sign advertising an upcoming meeting.
“Honestly, it’s pretty hard to find people who think that the English language is under siege in New Brunswick,” said organizer Chris Connard. “Most people cannot see the imminent threat of the francophones coming for our jobs, our daughters, our land, and threatening our very way of life! So, we put up a sign in downtown Moncton to help spread the word.
“I don’t know why we didn’t think of it before,” said Connard. “The thing that’s been missing in our communication strategy is a good old-fashioned billboard! We think it’s an issue of size — the Facebook page and website are too small… people can’t see them from the road. If we make it bigger, then we can really get our message across and people will begin to get it.”
The association’s sign says the group is “protecting [their] future,” and purports to inform New Brunswick anglophones that they “have rights too!” However, the sign is being met with as much incredulity as it is bewilderment.
“Um, yeah… no shit, Sherlock,” said anglophone Charles Hill. “My ‘English rights’ are pretty frickin’ obvious. They are the reason why you don’t need to be bilingual to have 61 percent of the government jobs, even though it’s an officially bilingual province. It’s why more than 70 percent of New Brunswick francophones feel that they have to learn English to get by.
“The vast majority of the arts and culture, television, movies, music, radio, video games, colleges and universities, newspapers, signs, online communication and even simple conversation is in English. Most of the time no one even thinks twice about who is being left out. Who the hell doesn’t know that anglophones in New Brunswick are privileged?
“In fact, since francophones feel that they have to learn English to be successful in this province and country, it’s really our ‘English rights’ that are pushing them to learn English and get the qualifications to become bilingual,” Hill concluded.
“The group says its major purpose is to protect anglophones in the area of government jobs, but it doesn’t make sense,” said political scientist Malcolm Richardson. “Languages spoken is a qualification. That’s like saying if a university degree or college diploma is required for a job, the employer is biased against high school drop-outs. Having a qualification isn’t the same thing as someone getting preferential treatment.
“If the job is to deal with people who speak English and French, then being able to speak words out loud in the language that each group can understand best seems like common sense.
“Sometimes making sure that the minority group has a measure of equality feels to the majority like they’re losing out,” concluded Richardson. “But, it’s not a zero-sum game. These folks don’t get it.”
Other upcoming meeting notification methods from the anglo rights group will include skywriting, smoke signals, carrier pigeon, Morse code and dropping turkeys from a helicopter on Thanksgiving weekend.