FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following statement was issued by Nathalie Chiasson, chair of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, on the occasion of National Acadian Day, today:

Across New Brunswick, Acadians are coming together today to celebrate their national day. According to the annual tradition, they will adorn themselves in blue, white, red and yellow. Then they will rock the streets with the expression of their pride.

However, Acadie is much more than its flag and its tintamarres.

The Acadian people, several thousand strong, are recognized around the world for their unique French dialect, their hospitality and particularly for their inexhaustible perseverance. The Acadia of today is a testament to the generations of Atlantic francophones who fought for the survival of their language, their culture and their way of life despite continuous obstacles.

Acadie offers us hope. It is proof that adverse conditions can awaken the resilience and strength of the oppressed. More than 250 years after the Expulsion, the Acadian diaspora continues to grow and to diversify.

Today, Acadians celebrate the courage of their ancestors, who survived thanks to the First Nations who taught them how to spend the winter in the woods, or after the deportation, returned to reclaim their land with pain and misery. They celebrate the families that were able to reunite, the traditions that have persisted, and the strength of those who refused to be assimilated. Mainly, Acadie is coming together today to reaffirm its promise of a future in New Brunswick.

The commission recognizes that as the only bilingual province in Canada, we have the privilege of being exposed to a rich cultural exchange every day. I encourage all New Brunswickers to participate in today’s celebrations, either to proudly display their Acadian roots or to learn about the francophonie in New Brunswick.

Since 1967, the commission has protected and promoted the values associated with human rights, such as respect, appreciation for diversity and absence of discrimination. In 2017, it will be the 50th anniversary of the Human Rights Act. This will serve as a focal point for expanding recognition of the basic principle that all human beings are equal in dignity and rights.

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