Saint John — Despite official bilingualism being New Brunswick’s main claim to fame, a Facebook page started by a Saint John man against bilingualism has quickly garnered overwhelming support from the province’s most stubbornly narrow-minded.
Dubbed a local hero, James McBird saw a problem, and decided to attack it head-on. “I applied for a job that required the candidate to be bilingual,” he said, “and I was turned down just because I don’t speak French. That got me thinking about the employment situation in this province. How are we proud English people supposed to get any jobs at all? Next thing you know I won’t be able to get work as a surgeon just because I didn’t go to some fancy ‘medical school’ or whatever. It’s tyranny.”
The Facebook group, “New Brunswick Referendum on Official Bilingualism 2014,” started by McBird already has more than 5,000 members who are prepared to fight tirelessly against New Brunswick being the only officially bilingual province, even though that will mean the only things left we’ve got going for us are snowbanks and the Hopewell Rocks.
The brave McBird and his legions of English-only advocates claim that the bilingualism program has failed to gain a firm foothold in the province, and should therefore be abandoned entirely. One group member, Sharon Hicks, defended their mandate, saying: “We’re NOT anti-French, we’re all about equality — you can read that right on the Facebook page. We want equality for all the people in this province who refuse to learn a new language or who just don’t want to deal with the French population.”
“That’s right,” exclaimed McBird. “We’re not against French or anything — we’re just against STUPID POLICIES AND LANGUAGE LAWS that don’t allow us to get the jobs we want with little effort or qualification. There should be fairness in New Brunswick for all the proud citizens of this province who aren’t bilingual and who take a stand against it out of fear and ignorance.”
Some bilingual New Brunswickers — as well as pretty well everyone who has read into the issue at all — have called the Facebook group a thinly veiled excuse for racism. According to the dictionary, racism is:
“How is this racism??” asked a clearly offended Todd Philips, a member of the group. “We’re merely trying to form a safe space where English people can openly discuss how our differences are inherent and make us superior … I mean … equal. Yeah, equal. We just want to have equal access to jobs we’re not necessarily qualified for based on the fact that we didn’t bother to learn French. The French have been taking jobs from hard-working English people for too long.”
McBird is aiming to overturn those “stupid” policies and laws that make New Brunswick bilingual and distinct among the rest of Canada. “If you’re looking to enact change in legislation, you have to go right to the source — Facebook,” he valiantly explained. “Soon, those lawmakers will see the support and endless comments from other people like me who don’t know — and don’t care to know — why bilingualism is so important in New Brunswick.”
Luckily for McBird, new legislation will be launched in March, dictating that politicians must constantly check Facebook on their computers or phones to see what their constituents are talking about.
“We’re constantly checking our phones and creeping on Facebook, we might as well make it officially something we do as our jobs,” said Premier Brian Gallant at the Legislature on Friday morning, without looking up from his BlackBerry Z10.