50 years ago, the Parti acadien was created in New Brunswick
Two Parti acadien candidates in the 1974 provincial election in New Brunswick.
50 years ago, in November 1972, a new political formation was born in New Brunswick: the Parti acadien.
At the turn of the 1970s, a movement, Acadian nationalism, gained momentum. From there was born the Parti acadien.
It was not surprising, at the time, that it came into the world, recalls Léon Thériault, who was a party activists. He recalls that a similar movement was seen in Quebec.
People were demonstrating. We were looking, let's say, to assert ourselves, to take charge of ourselves, says Euclide Chiasson, the founder of the Parti acadien.
The activists were committed to defending the rights of Francophones, but even the idea of creating an Acadian province or territory in Canada.
We said to ourselves why not? Why not?, remembers Euclid Chiasson. We are a minority, but we are a people. A people needs the tools to govern itself. We didn't have that one.
Euclide Chiasson, founder of the Parti acadien (archives)
The Parti acadien fielded candidates in three elections, but failed to elect a Member of Parliament in Fredericton.
Fifty years later, Euclid Chiasson believes that this political formation, despite its absence from the Legislative Assembly and its eventual dissolution, left a positive imprint on Acadians.
“We have a confidence in ourselves that I don't think we had […] is not because an institution like that disappears that its legacy disappears. »
— Euclid Chiasson, founder of the Parti acadien
Euclide Chiasson, founder of the Parti acadien, Saturday in Moncton.
From time to time, voices are raised to evoke a rebirth of the Parti Acadien. This was the case after the 2018 New Brunswick elections when a party that had expressed positions hostile to official bilingualism in the province, the People's Alliance of New Brunswick, had its first members elected.
< p class="e-p">This was also the case, timidly, before the 2020 provincial elections, but there was no follow-up.
Even now, we are talking about: is- what should the Parti acadien revive?, says Louise Blanchard, who was the last leader of the political party.
Is the Acadian province the solution? We hear it regularly. So, for sure, it aroused passions and it left a mark, she mentions.
Louise Blanchard (archives)
Despite recent political developments, such as the nomination of the former leader of the People's Alliance, Kris Austin, on the committee in charge of reviewing the Official Languages Act, the former members of the Parti acadien are not calling for a revival of training.
What would be relevant now is politicians standing up, says Euclid Chiasson.
It takes opposition. It always takes a side which is the balance of power, which strikes on the right side, adds Louise Blanchard.
Léon Thériault, former Parti acadien activist, Saturday in Moncton.
All those interviewed agree that the defense of the rights and achievements of Francophones, unlike the defunct political party, does not is not something that belongs to the past.
Always be vigilant, says Léon Thériault. We cannot rest on our laurels. You always have to keep up to date, and put pressure on yourself. We've been doing this for over 100 years, anyway.
From the report by Sarah Déry