Transportation Minister Paula Biggar issued a public apology on her Facebook page on Saturday about a curt e-mail she sent last week to a member of the community.
“I apologize for my hastily written e-mail in response to the letter from Ms. Gallant,” reads the statement. “It was curt, and I should have waited to respond with the help of French-speaking staff.”
Last week, Biggar wrote one line — “I don’t speak French” — in response to a French email and attached letter supporting rejuvenating Ecole Evangeline in Abram-Village.
Mélanie Gallant, who sent the letter and received the short response from Biggar, shared the exchange on her Facebook page but declined to speak to The Guardian about it when contacted last week.
Gallant has since deleted her Facebook post.
Following the e-mail exchange, P.E.I.’s Green Party called on the Transportation minister to resign from cabinet and apologize to the Island’s francophone community.
In her public apology, Biggar said she did not mean to disrespect anyone.
“As a grandmother of two grandchildren with French heritage, I am very aware of the importance of this heritage,” the statement reads. “As an MLA and minister I have worked actively with the Acadian and Francophone communities in infrastructure development and the extension of services in French.”
Biggar’s statement said she requested to meet with Gallant, who declined, and is still open to doing so.
Biggar ended her apology by saying she plans to “build more opportunities for French-speaking Islanders.”