. . . And favours Acadian apology

RICHARD ROIK, Telegraph-Journal

OTTAWA - An apology for the British deportation of Acadians in 1755 would be an "important gesture," says the federal language watchdog.

"It's symbolic," Dyane Adam, the Commissioner of Official Languages, said in an interview Tuesday.

"It's something that is about respect of one's people," she added.

But Ms. Adam said she has never thought about what impact such a gesture might have on linguistic relations in the region, and she refused to say if the federal government should be supporting a private member's bill from the Bloc Quebecois calling for the apology from the British Crown.

"This appears to be a somewhat partisan question," she said, choosing to leave the issue for Parliament to

But she added, "there's no doubt for the community this seems to be a gesture that's important."

Federal Intergovernmental Minister Stephane Dion, who was recently handed the added portfolio of
Official Languages, argued in a keynote address to the Société des Acadiens et Acadiennes du Nouveau-Brunswick (SAANB) on Saturday that his government does not plan to support such a bill from a separatist

But local New Democrat MP Yvon Godin (Acadie-Bathurst), who seconded the bill, maintained Tuesday the requested apology is not driven by partisan politics.

He noted the bill's author, Stephane Bergeron, was moved to push for an apology after recently discovering his Acadian ancestry.

"This is about respecting each other," Mr. Godin said. "I feel it was an injustice in 1755 and I would like to
see it corrected."

The second of three one-hour debates on the bill is scheduled for next week.