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August 3rd 2012

Speech of the Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick during the ceremony of the 10th Anniversary of Official Bilingualism in Moncton on August 2nd, 2012

What a happy occasion, this 10th anniversary of official bilingualism in Moncton!

I am truly delighted to be here to celebrate with you! 

This event marks a historic step, but more importantly a renewed commitment for this great social project that is the equality of our two linguistic communities.

This anniversary provides an opportunity to recognize the people, Anglophones and Francophones who said no to homogeneity, those men and women who believe in the importance of protecting and promoting the French language and its inherent culture, those New Brunswickers who want our two linguistic communities to flourish together in a spirit of mutual respect.

This 10th anniversary also presents an opportunity to make a commitment to going further. I therefore rise today to salute the municipal leadership and administration and its employees. Your commitment and efforts will allow for sustained growth in all areas of language vitality.  I am certain that the creation of this committee on bilingualism will guide your efforts.

A genuine official languages policy must seek to influence all of the factors that relate to language vitality because, when it comes to that, everything is interconnected.

Legislation, policy, and official recognition are essential for ensuring the equality of our two languages. The role of institutions is vital as we progress toward equality. But that must not blind us to the importance of individual action.

In essence, a language involves the people who speak it on a daily basis, who request services in that language and use it in public, people who believe it is important to see it posted in the public sphere.

To ensure that citizens can live together in harmony is a fundamental goal of any municipal administration. A sign of respect, of openness, and of the promotion of diversity, the resolution passed by the Moncton Council to become a bilingual city is an excellent example of this desire to live together. May this anniversary see the renewal of a strong will to go further so that our two linguistic groups may truly thrive in this beautiful city.