Trudeau slams N.B. premier Higgs for naming Kris Austin to bilingualism committee

OROMOCTO, N.B. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is strongly criticizing New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs for naming a minister known for his past criticism of bilingualism on a committee to review the province's Official Languages Act.

Trudeau told reporters today in Oromocto, N.B., it "doesn't make sense" that Higgs chose former People's Alliance of New Brunswick leader Kris Austin — now a member of Higgs's Progressive Conservative government — to sit on the committee.

The defunct People's Alliance had argued that the province's position of official languages commissioner should be abolished and its francophone health network merged with the English one.

Trudeau says Higgs should not name someone who has spent a career attacking official bilingualism on a panel designed to protect the province's two official languages — French and English.

The prime minister said he was going to bring up the controversial nomination during a meeting with Higgs later in the day.

Higgs is scheduled to speak with reporters after his meeting with Trudeau.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 8, 2022.

The Canadian Press