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November 23rd 2009

Official Languages Conference in Fredericton

Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick

Press Release

Official languages conference in Fredericton

Fredericton – A conference on official languages will be held on November 24 and 25 in Fredericton. Nearly one hundred persons from a wide range of backgrounds have been invited to this meeting organized by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick.

With its theme Shaping Our Future with Two Languages / Deux langues pour façonner notre avenir,  the conference will deal mainly with people’s perceptions and attitudes toward official languages and bilingualism. “The objective is to understand these perceptions better in order to promote our two languages more effectively,” explained the Commissioner, Michel Carrier.

The conference will open on the evening of November 24 with a conversation between two prominent figures: John Ralston Saul and Herménégilde Chiasson. The program of activities for November 25 consists of the results of a survey on official languages, presentations, a round table, and workshops.

“A survey conducted during summer 2009 by Continuum Research* indicates that a majority of New Brunswickers (82%) support the concept of official languages,” added the Commissioner. “That is good news. The survey also shows that our two linguistic communities do not always have the same perceptions regarding other aspects of official languages. For example, 55% of francophones feel that the future of the French language is threatened, whereas only 22% of anglophones share that view. These perceptions are important, and we need to understand them in order to better promote full recognition and the use of our two officials languages.”

In 1969, New Brunswick adopted its first legislation making English and French the province’s two official languages. The conference Shaping our Future with Two Languages / Deux langues pour façonner notre avenir  is one the activities marking the 40th anniversary of the passage of that legislation.

* Survey Results

For more information:

Hugues Beaulieu
Director of Public Affairs and Research
Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick
506-444-4229 or 1-888-651-6444

Members of the press who wish to attend the conference are required to register with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick.