Bilingualism petition dispute shows challenges of managing expectations: PANB leader

A spat over the People’s Alliance stance on official bilingualism is laying bare the challenges of balancing the direction of the party and the hopes of its grassroots supporters.

A video posted to the Facebook group United Citizens of New Brunswick last week shows group administrator Jason McBride just before he drops off a petition to Alliance leader Kris Austin calling for an end to bilingualism in the province.

“We finally have an MLA sitting who is willing and able in the fall session to be able to present this pile of petitions,” McBride said in the video.

But the 2,400 signature petition never saw the floor of the legislature, a point McBride makes in the comments below the video.

“Kris Austin has had thousands of individually signed petitions calling for a change to the state of duality, segregation and the current state of bilingualism in New Brunswick since August 2, 2019. I haven’t seen him mention them or seen them since… have you?” he wrote on January 26.

McBride claims to have been a creator of a movement against bilingualism that culminated in the election of three Alliance MLAs in 2018.

McBride declined a request for an interview but sent a copy of the petition and pictures of Austin receiving it.

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