Unilingual leadership in New Brunswick is unacceptable
New Brunswick NDP leader Alison Brewer has announced that she is pulling out of the French-language leadership debate for the upcoming provincial election. Apparently Radio-Canada wasn't willing to provide interpretation for her.
Tough. I am a firm believer that anyone who aspires to become Prime Minister of Canada should be functionally bilingual, and that is even more true for an aspiring Premier my new province of residence, where a full third of the population is francophone. I honestly don't know what possessed the local NDP to choose a leader that cannot speak French - particularly since the only federal NDP MP from this province, Yvon Godin, was elected from a primarily francophone district. Some might think it was worth building on existing strengths, but apparently not so here.
I fully recognize that the NDP is a marginal party in New Brunswick. But that doesn't excuse defeatist organizational behaviour. If you want to be taken seriously as a credible alternative, you have to act that way. In New Brunswick, the only officially bilingual province under the constitution, this includes selecting a leader who can make themselves understood in French.
The federal Conservatives (in their various incarnations) figured this out when they made a point of making sure that Stephen Harper was competent to participate in the French-language leadership debates. The provincial NDP here should be capable of coming to the same set of conclusions. Recommend this Post