Cardy says several PC MLAs oppose Austin’s role on a language committee | Biden News

Cardy says several PC MLAs oppose Austin’s role on a language committee

 | Biden News

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Former education minister Dominic Cardy says several Progressive Conservative MLAs oppose Kris Austin’s role in revising the province’s Official Languages ​​Act, but they fear retribution from Premier Blaine Higgs if they say so.

Cardy told reporters on Thursday that he was aware that some of his former colleagues were concerned about the involvement of the former leader of the People’s Alliance, a political flashpoint for Francophones.

“I can say that there are a number of Progressive Conservative members of the cabinet and party who have the same concerns that I have,” Cardy said.

“They just haven’t expressed them publicly yet.”

Cardy left the PC cabinet in October over disagreements with Higgs over French immersion and was expelled from the party’s caucus the next day.

A man wearing a suit is ahead.  A woman stands behind him holding a recorder.
Kris Austin said he supports official bilingualism and just objects to some of the ways it is implemented. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

He says he remains a member of the organisation, but his expulsion is one reason why Tory MLAs are reluctant to express their views on Austin, who left the Alliance and joined the PCs in March.

“I think they’ve seen how the prime minister behaves in response to people who disagree with him,” Cardy said.

Eliminate position of commissioner, says Austin

This week, 21 Acadian and French-speaking groups urged Austin to resign from a working group of PC ministers working behind closed doors to create the government’s plan for revisions to the Official Language Act.

Those groups say Austin’s opposition to some elements of official bilingualism disqualifies him from playing any role in how the act is reviewed.

Austin said Wednesday that he still believes the position of official languages ​​commissioner, written into the act, should be eliminated. He added that this is his personal opinion and he is only one member of the government.

He also reiterated that he supports official bilingualism and just objects to some of the ways it is implemented – a distinction Cardy scoffed at on Thursday.

“I think if you were someone with a history of talking about constructive ways to make bilingualism in New Brunswick work better, that could be a credible position,” he said.

“For someone who has consistently attacked the foundations of the bilingual system in New Brunswick … I don’t think he has the credibility to talk about those issues in any way that anyone should take seriously.”

Cardy would not talk about how Austin interacted with the PC party after joining it in March and did not identify which MPs share his discomfort with the former Alliance leader.

A man wearing a suit looks down at recording devices held up to him at chest level.
Natural Resources Minister Mike Holland, a member of the task force, said he was not opposed to Austin’s presence. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

Natural Resources Minister Mike Holland, another member of the task force, said he was not opposed to Austin’s presence.

“I want everyone to sit there looking to make sure that bilingualism is protected, preserved and is something that we value in the province of New Brunswick. Kris Austin said from his own mouth that this is the case for him,” he. said

Regional Development Corporation Minister Réjean Savoie, another member of the group, said that he was “ready to work with everyone in the commission. I am here to work with everyone.”

He would not comment on criticism from Liberal MLA Isabelle Thériault this week that francophone PC members working with Austin have no backbone.

“I’m here to be part of the solution, not the problem.”

But when asked if he disagreed with the 21 Acadian groups that opposed Austin’s role, Savoie replied, “I didn’t say that. I said they have the right to share their opinion. I’m here to work with everyone respectfully. .”

Health Minister Bruce Fitch also pushed back on Cardy’s claim about PC dissenters.

“Mr Cardy has his opinion on various issues. I have not polled our caucus… I trust the Prime Minister to put people through this and hopefully they will make the right decisions.”

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