Fredericton — The New Brunswick Court of Appeal has already hit a roadblock on the way to making a ruling on the controversial issue of dual language-based schoolbus services. At 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, the court sat to decide on matters of procedure, and as part of this process, to hear requests for those seeking intervener status.
In a surprise move, Commissioner of Official Languages Katherine d’Entremont weighed in demanding that there be 2 separate hearings in both official languages.
In her motion, she stated that, “in order to ensure that all interveners are treated fairly and equally, I think that it is only just that there be 2 separate hearings: one in English and one in French.”
The motion brought the court to a standstill as the parties fighting to have the dual bussing system abolished sat with a look of shock — though not surprise — on their faces. People’s Alliance Leader Kris Austin said in a flabbergasted statement: “This is getting out of hand… can this province not move forward with anything?”
The languages commissioner was one of the few in the court who did not show any dismay, sitting with a smug grin throughout the all-but-wasted proceeding.
The court cancelled any further action Tuesday morning, suggesting another hearing be scheduled to determine whether having just one appeal hearing in English appeases the Constitution.