NDP calls on Minister to clarify bilingual school buses in Kent County

FREDERICTON – NDP Leader Dominic Cardy is calling on Education Minister Serge Rousselle to clarify the use of bilingual buses in the Francophone South and Anglophone North districts. Students from the École Soleil Levant in Richibucto are traveling on Anglophone North school buses, something Minister Rousselle has said is a violation of minority language rights.

“If Minister Rousselle, as the government’s chief legal interpreter and Minister of Education, has a legal basis for the statements he’s made about shared busing,” Cardy said, “then why is he permitting a clear violation of the Charter within the department he’s supposed to be running? He either doesn’t know the law or he doesn’t know his department. Neither is acceptable.”

On March 17 Rousselle criticised Cardy, saying the latter was wrong in stating a bilingual bus system was not clearly protected under the provisions granting a dual education system.

Cardy said, “Minister Rouselle is in the right place to fix this problem. Call for a judicial reference to decide if school buses are part of the dual education system. If the court rules that they are the NDP will support that decision, as we support duality. If not we are talking about support services, not rights, and we can have a fact-based discussion. What’s happening in Kent County is either legal, or it’s not. New Brunswick’s kids shouldn’t be paying the price for Serge Rousselle’s politicking,” Cardy said.

The NDP has consistently called for an expansion of minority language rights, especially in the areas of health and local government, and for a provincial dialogue on making New Brunswick a truly bilingual province.