Moncton — The province is submitting a bid to host the 2021 Francophone Games, an international sports and culture competition for French-speaking communities around the world.
If the bid is won, the event will be organized by Sports Acadia, who have stated they will prioritize French-speaking applicants for all vending and service jobs over the course of the Games, a decision some say is unfair and discriminatory toward New Brunswick’s anglophones.
Susan Burroughs of Miramichi is unemployed and looking for work. She says if she doesn’t get a job by 2021, she would be willing to relocate to Moncton to work at the Games, but is doubtful she’ll win any job over less-qualified French applicants.
“I can serve 65 percent of the province’s population,” she detailed. “Why should I lose the job to someone who can serve 100 percent of the population?”
Others are drawing similarities between Sports Acadia’s decision and New Brunswick’s current job market.
“Unskilled French speakers are always stealing job offers right out from under me!” explained Ted Ingalls of Moncton. “I recently applied for a job at Service New Brunswick and lost to a guy who doesn’t have any education, but speaks French. Sure, I don’t have any education either, but why give him the job? Because he can do everything I can do, but serve French people too? Discriminatory!”
“You’ve got to take a French class to get a job in this province these days,” angled Thomas Cameron of Boiestown. “Why can’t this province just give me a job? Why should I have to learn a marketable skill in order to get a decent paycheque?”
If this trend continues, some worry that the French will soon hold every job in New Brunswick, while the province’s English community will slip further into economic depression.
Phil Sutherland of Saint John explained, “Sure yeah, when you look at the statistics, francophone New Brunswickers actually have a lower average weekly income and a higher unemployment rate than their anglophone neighbours. But who can believe cold-hard facts? I’m telling you, I can’t get a job because I’m not French!”