New Brunswick — The province’s long-running language controversy is about to get even more heated as it was announced today that only residents who are fluently bilingual will be allowed to register to vote in the upcoming provincial election.
Would-be voters must bring with them proper, official documentation proving their bilingualism or pass an on-site written, oral and practical exam in order to be cleared to vote. The announcement was made by Valentina Lennon, publicity official for Elections NB.
“To protect the integrity of the voting process, we must ensure equality for all,” asserted Lennon while meeting with reporters in Fredericton. “And to ensure equality we must only allow those who truly support and demonstrate equality to vote — not the judgy, closed-minded, anglophone-only people of New Brunswick.”
When reporters asked whether French-only speaking residents will be allowed to vote, Lennon laughed.
“Come on now,” she chuckled. “Everyone can speak a little English — I’m sure they’ll be fine to vote, yes.”
Elections NB officials gave reporters a private viewing of the testing voters will be subjected to if they are unable to supply sufficient proof of their bilingualism.
The first portion of the test will require a basic understanding of written French and asks the respondent to read a four-paragraph blurb that they must translate into English in three minutes or less and must have fewer than six grammatical errors in order to pass.
The second portion requires the potential voter to give accurate directions in French to someone looking for the nearest liquor store.
The third part, the practical test, will see those who passed the first two portions faced with an authentic scenario in which they must successfully navigate their way through what it’s like being French.
Lennon explained the details.
“In this scenario you’ll have 15 minutes to smoke 10 cigarettes, drink an entire bottle of wine, eat a full block of cheese and get a job based solely on the fact that you’re bilingual. If completed, you will then be eligible to cast your vote in the language of your choosing.”
When news of the new voting criteria spread, reactions were mixed but most weren’t surprised.
“It seems like being bilingual is the number one thing you need for anything in this stupid province,” lamented Darcy Proddy who works in downtown Fredericton. “I don’t know what difference it makes at all, though. Aren’t check-marks the same in both languages?”