Dieppe sign critical of school language duality creates stir

A sign calling for the end of duality in New Brunswick's school system that is posted at one of the busiest intersections in Dieppe is causing a stir in Moncton.

Students should learn English, French, Mandarin, says businessman behind notice

A sign denouncing language duality in the province's schools has been erected at a major intersection in Dieppe by a group called United Schools of New Brunswick. (CBC)

A sign calling for the end of duality in New Brunswick's school system that is posted at one of the busiest intersections in Dieppe is causing a stir in Moncton.

The sign by United Schools of New Brunswick reads in part: "No longer will the children in our schools be separated by the colour of their language. They will ride the same bus, attend the same school and learn at least three languages."

The issue should not be reopened, says University of Moncton law professor Michel Doucet. (Submitted by Michel Doucet)

"Going to the same school will not assimilate people. I'm totally against that because it's shown that going to the same school you can learn different languages," said Mario Charlebois, the local businessman behind the sign.

"How can that be assimilation if more people speak French, English and another language? How can that be wrong? It cannot be wrong. It's not against the constitution if you show inside one building that there is separation and they are learning three languages. It is up to the government."

'Stale' issue

Students in New Brunswick should be learning French, English and Mandarin, said Charlebois.

Michel Doucet, a law professor at the University of Moncton, says the idea is unconstitutional.

"So many decisions by the Supreme Court of Canada. So many things written by experts on the effects of teaching a minority in bilingual school that I don't believe that we should reopen that issue at this time," said Doucet.

"It has been dealt with in the '70s. It's a stale issue now. It's something that's been applied across Canada by every government and it is supported by the majority of Canadians."

Doucet said the Supreme Court has said on many occasions that the Francophone minority in New Brunswick has the right to distinct schools, managed by Francophones.