Michel Carrier, New Brunswick's official languages commissioner, said Bathurst should reconsider its decision to allow the Anglo Society to fly its flag on Sept. 18. ((CBC))

City council in Bathurst, N.B., should reconsider its decision to fly the Anglo Society's flag on Sept. 18, according to New Brunswick's official languages commissioner.

Michel Carrier said he feels the city council's decision to fly the flag in September at the group's request is problematic.

"Cities have obligations not only to provide services, but they also have the authority to take steps to promote equality of both official languages," he said.

"Is this a step in line with that? It would appear that some people don't see it that way and I think the city should probably take a look at this."

The 4-2 vote in favour of flying the flag on Sept. 18 prompted complaints from Anne-Marie Gammon, the only francophone city councillor, and Pierre Godin, the mayor of the nearby community of Petit-Rocher.

Gammon said she was flooded with complaints over the proposed flag-raising event.


The Anglo Society wants to fly its flag outside of Bathurst's city hall on Sept. 18 to mark "Anglo Day." ((CBC))

The decision will allow the group's flag to fly next to the Canadian flag, Acadian flag and Union Jack to mark "Anglo Day."

The Acadian Society calls the group anti-French.

This is not the first time the scenario has played out in Bathurst.

The Anglo Society also flew its flag at city hall in 2004 amidst similar controversy and anger.

Carrier said he's surprised that the city has no criteria to evaluate requests like the Anglo Society's to fly its flag at city hall.

New rules


Coun. Anne-Marie Gammon, one of two councillors who voted against allowing the flag to fly, said the city needs new rules on what groups can have their flags raised. ((CBC))

Gammon said she will propose at Monday's council meeting that the city look at adopting flag guidelines.

"I think they should specify what type of flags or banners that we will allow to be present in Bathurst," she said.

"It could be a flag of a country, or a flag of any organization that promotes wellness. We need guidelines so no other council has to live through this."

Coun. Hugh Comeau, one of the municipal politicians who voted in favour of the flag, said he would reconsider his vote if he were given proof that the group is anti-French.

"I am unaware of any untoward actions that this organization, or group, had towards the Acadian people," he said.

"And if anyone can prove to me that I made a mistake and that these people are not what they purport to be, then I have no problem suggesting that I made a mistake, and that I would change my vote tomorrow."