Paula Biggar apologizes for failing to respond to email in French

Paula Biggar makes formal apology for failing to respond to email in French

Paula Biggar, P.E.I.'s Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy, has apologized on Facebook after failing to respond in French to an email sent to her in that language.

Melanie Gallant says she sent emails in French to cabinet ministers calling on the province to provide funding for renovations to École Évangéline in Abrams Village.

Gallant posted Biggar's response — "I don't speak French" — on Facebook.

On Saturday afternoon, Biggar apologized and said she had offered to meet with Gallant, though the invitation was not accepted.

"I apologize for my hastily written email in response to the letter from Ms. Gallant," Biggar said in the Facebook post. "It was curt, and I should have waited to respond with the help of French-speaking staff. I in no way meant to disrespect the Francophone and Acadian community.

"I have offered to meet with Ms. Gallant and, although she has declined the request, I remain open to sitting down with her."

In a news release Friday, the Green Party called for Biggar to apologize and resign from the executive council.

"This is a clear violation of Prince Edward Island's French Language Services Act and indicates a shocking disrespect for the Island's Francophone community and their clearly established language rights under the Canadian Constitution," the release said.

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