Occupying the public space beyond language, the next challenge for the Acadians

According to them is Acadian project did not change.

Living in French and creating institutions: that was the social project at the time, and it still is. This project has not disappeared, it is still present and there are people who carry it and who defend it, but just not in the same wayexplains Michelle Landry, professor of sociology at the Université de Moncton and holder of the research chair on Canadian francophone minorities and power.

She notes that Acadian institutions are more numerous than ever before; a reality that has an impact on the social climate and on the mobilization of the Acadians.

When the population feels that there are people and organizations that are there to defend their interests, that they are close to public servants, deputy ministers, the government, they may want to mobilize less says Michelle Landry. I dare to hope that if there was a real violation, the population would mobilize.

If the organizations were less strong, there would probably be more mobilization, opinion letters, things like thatadds Mathieu Wade, professor of sociology at the Université de Moncton.

Take more ownership of public space

However, these two sociologists believe that the Acadians would benefit from creating a public sphere where their voices would be more present, by participating in projects that would go beyond the defense of the language.

To maintain [la santé de l’Acadie]is to find a way to make Acadie relevant in all issues, be it environmental, social, how to integrate Acadiesays Mathieu Wade.

The two sociologists mention, among other things, demographic issues, environmental protection and rising water levels, early childhood and the duplicity of the daycare network, urban planning and municipal policy.

Municipalities [francophones] are Acadian institutions by default, but not all play this role. They will not all defend the French language, e.g. by implementing signage policies and Acadian issuesexplains Michelle Landry.

There are areas where the Acadians could play a much more political role. We could see these institutions as Acadian institutions, but the actors that are in place will not necessarily play this game. »

A quote from Michelle Landry, sociologist

Mathieu Wade believes that the restoration of the Petitcodiac River, which the Sentinelles Petitcodiac organization is campaigning for, is an example of success.

It was not an Acadian problem, but the Acadians took on the matter with a particular flavor, and it existed in the Acadian public space in a different way than in the English-speaking space. This is a good example that deserves to be repeated.he explains.

Do not accept to have consensus

Mathieu Wade believes Acadians and New Brunswickers more generally haven’t yet reached political maturity.

According to him, if the Acadians want to have an influence, they have no choice but to give more space to the debates.

We will have to accept that there will be no consensus. We are used to, in the associative environment, operating rather by consensus, where we do not have a party logic and ideological confrontations. It will be to invest places of power and to accept that there can be ideological clashes and that it is part of a normal process in a societyhe believes.

He is also disappointed to see the low turnout in the municipal elections. These polls make it possible to elect not only councilors and mayors, but also school counselors and certain health network administrators.

We fought for that. Let’s use it. Let’s have real debates and political alternatives so when we vote for one option or the other. That would be an example of political maturity.

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