FREDERICTON (CNB) – Members of a task force selected to review the entry point of early French immersion were announced today by Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Jody Carr.

The minister also released a schedule of public consultations that will begin next month.

"The provincial government recognizes the importance of reviewing the entry point of early French immersion," said Carr. "An inclusive public process that involves parents, teachers and interested organizations and allows for the free expression of opinions and concerns is imperative."

The creation of the task force is part of the provincial government's commitment, as outlined in Putting New Brunswick First, to review the decisions to change the entry point for early French immersion and to implement new solutions, if required, in time for the 2012 school year.

James E. Lockyer and Elvy Robichaud are co-chairing the four-member task force, which will consult with stakeholders and the public; undertake the review; and make recommendations to the provincial government.

"I am honoured to be co-chairing this task force," said Lockyer. "Language plays a key role in the development and success of our students in becoming well-rounded global citizens."

A committee comprising stakeholders – including Canadian Parents for French, the New Brunswick Association for Community Living, the New Brunswick Home and School Association, school district staff and district education council members – has been established to provide advice and support to the task force as well as to the minister.

Public consultations will be held from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15 in 11 schools.

Parents of children in the education system, particularly those with children in elementary grades, are encouraged to attend these round table consultations. They are also invited to participate in an online consultation that will be launched in November.

"This review will only be successful with public consultation," said Robichaud. "I encourage parents to attend the public sessions and use the online forum. Parents play a significant role in the development of their children, and they deserve the chance to have their voices heard."

The results will help form the task force’s report to the provincial government, expected in early 2012.

Dates and locations for public consultations:

●    Tuesday, Nov. 1: Fredericton – Fredericton High School
●    Wednesday, Nov. 23: Oromocto – Oromocto High School
●    Monday, Nov. 28: Woodstock – Woodstock Centennial Elementary School
●    Wednesday, Nov. 30: St. Stephen – St. Stephen Elementary School
●    Thursday, Dec. 1: Saint John – School District 8 office, lower conference room
●    Monday, Dec. 5: Sackville – Tantramar Regional High School
●    Wednesday, Dec. 7: Bathurst – Bathurst High School
●    Thursday, Dec. 8: Campbellton – Sugarloaf Senior High School
●    Monday, Dec. 12: Moncton – Bernice MacNaughton High School
●    Wednesday, Dec. 14: Miramichi – St. Andrews Elementary School
●    Thursday, Dec. 15: Hampton – Hampton Middle School


●    All sessions are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.
●    To register for a consultation session, telephone 1-855-453-8158.

Biographies of the members of the French Second Language Task Force:

James E. Lockyer, co-chair:

Lockyer is a professor and former dean at the law faculty at the Université de Moncton, where he teaches trial advocacy, appellate advocacy, civil procedure and commercial law. Lockyer is a past president of the Law Society of New Brunswick and past member of the New Brunswick Law Foundation. He was a member of Moncton council from 1983 to 1987.

Lockyer served as an MLA from 1987 to 1999. He was attorney general and minister of justice for five years. He also served as minister of education, minister of supply and services and solicitor general. He was a member of various legislative and cabinet committees. He was appointed Queen's counsel in 1987.

Active in community affairs, Lockyer is a former board chair of the Greater Moncton YMCA. He is a former member of the board of directors and executive of the Moncton Flight College. He was a vice-president of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation and vice-president of the Tree of Hope Campaign. He was chair of the organizing committee of the 2009 Ford World Men's Curling Championship. He spent many years as a member of the Canadian Forces Reserve.

Elvy Robichaud, co-chair:

Robichaud is a former teacher, principal and hospital administrator. He received his B.PhysEd, BA and MA at the Université de Moncton.

Robichaud served as an MLA from 1994 to 2006.  He was minister of education from 1999 to 2001. He also served as minister of health and wellness for five years. He was minister responsible for the Office of Human Resources and the Culture and Sport Secretariat. A former official Opposition house leader, Robichaud served on a number of legislative committees, including the standing committee on proceedure, law amendments and public accounts as well as the select committee on demographics.

Active in his community, Robichaud has been a Tracadie councillor, board chair of the Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Joseph in Tracadie, president of the New Brunswick Special Olympics and treasurer of Leisure New Brunswick.

Linda Lowther:

Lowther has 32 years of experience in education. In 2011, she retired as assistant deputy minister of the Prince Edward Island Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, where she held various positions in the field. Lowther was a teacher, a French co-ordinator within a school board, a curriculum consultant at the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, director of French programs and senior director of public education.

In her senior positions with the Island’s Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Lowther was a member of the Task Force on Student Achievement and chair of the Kindergarten Transition Team. She helped with the deployment of the Pre-School Excellence initiative.

Her educational volunteer work included the founding of the Prince Edward Island French Immersion Teachers’ Association and various executive positions with the Canadian Association of Immersion Teachers.
Paul-Émile Chiasson:

Chiasson is the Education / Teaching English as a Second Language co-ordinator at the University of New Brunswick, Saint John campus. He received his BA and BEd from St. Francis Xavier University and a BA from Laval University. He later obtained his MA and PhD from the Université de Franche-Comté in France. He joined the faculty of arts, University of New Brunswick, Saint John campus, in 2004. He has taught the Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language program since its inception in 1998. He has been awarded departmental and faculty awards for teaching excellence.

Chiasson specializes in education and second language teaching. Author of several articles, he has conducted numerous workshops and training on English and French as an additional language in Korea, China and New Brunswick.  

Prior to present role, Chiasson taught immersion and French core in school districts 6 and 8 for 27 years. He served as the French second language learning specialist in School District 8.