For the next item of business, we have distributed a budget for witnesses. I think the total is $28,000. There's a little room there in case we get more witnesses. Is everyone agreed?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Carried.
Another quick piece of business is being handed around. As you know, Parliament is now trying to advertise a bit more about what committees are doing, through Twitter and the website. We have distributed what the wording would be. Does anyone have any comments on it? It seems to be pretty simple.
Okay. We could discuss it more later, but we have a bunch of witnesses lined up for this study, so unless people have other suggestions or we are interrupted by something, we'll continue to let the clerk try to arrange the witnesses the various parties have organized for the next few meetings.
Potentially the main estimates will be tabled after April 16. Because the Speaker and those people are hard to get, I'm suggesting that we tentatively set aside Thursday, April 26 for the main estimates with the Speaker and those witnesses we normally have for that. Okay.
Before that, we'll have witnesses the parties have suggested.
Claudine Santos, Senator Patterson's assistant, is joining us at the table.
Is there any other business? The Liaison committee wants to know all of our travel plans between July and December. Does the researcher have exotic places we can go yet?
We'll be travelling to the Wellington Building on occasion. We'll put in a “nil report” unless anyone provides anything else. We can always change it later.
We'll now continue our study of indigenous languages in the proceedings of the House of Commons. We are pleased to be joined by two senators, the Honourable Serge Joyal and the Honourable Dennis Patterson.
Thank you both for being here.
For members' information, former senator Charlie Watt was supposed to participate in this panel but he had a last-minute scheduling conflict with ITK, so he won't be joining us today.
It's kind of ironic, Mr. Patterson. I was at your committee last night, and now you're at my committee this morning. Senator Watt presented there too, and it was great to hear him. Just so the committee members know, the two witnesses last night at the Senate Arctic committee spoke in Inuktitut. That was great.
We'll turn the floor over to Senator Joyal.
Thank you for coming.
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I want to thank the members of the committee who have extended the invitation.
I am very pleased to be able to join you this morning.
I wish to provide the committee the context in which the Senate decided to allow the use of aboriginal languages, singularly Inuktitut, in the debates of the chamber and at the committee level.
That stems from 2006, so it's already a long time, as you know, 12 years ago. There were two Inuit senators, Senator Charlie Watt and Senator Adams. Senator Watt was appointed in 1984 and Senator Adams was appointed in 1977, so they were very long-standing senators. In all fairness, their first language is really Inuktitut; it's not English. When they tried to express themselves in English, for them it was like it is for me. I'm French-speaking, and when I speak in English, well, I have to make an additional effort. Concepts in one language, as you know, are difficult to translate into another language.
We noticed on the floor of the Senate that those two senators could not really take part as much, or as fully, as other senators could since they were not being allowed to use their language. There was a motion introduced on the floor of the chamber in 2006 by former Senator Corbin, who was an Acadian. The motion called on the Senate to study whether aboriginal people had the right to use their language in Parliament, and also, what we should be doing to make sure the system provided for the use of an aboriginal language as a third language group aside from English and French.
The question was referred to the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament. I happen to have been a member of that committee for the last 20 years. That gives you my age. Personally, I have always held that the aboriginal people of Canada should have the right to speak their language. I was Secretary of State for Canada from 1982 to 1984, and Mr. Bagnell will remember that I was the co-chair of the Special Joint Committee on the Constitution in 1980-81. One of the key issues we had to deal with in those years—more than 38 years ago—was the recognition of the rights of aboriginal peoples in Canada; that is, section 35 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, under the Constitution Act of 1982.
I'll read that section, because it's a very important element that you should take into consideration. Section 35 states:
The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed.
There's also paragraph 2(b) of the charter, which speaks about freedom of expression:
freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.
The Supreme Court of Canada, through those years, has interpreted section 35 and paragraph 2(b), which is about freedom of expression. In one of its landmark decisions in the Haida case in 2004, the famous Supreme Court case, the court stated:
Put simply, Canada’s Aboriginal peoples were here when Europeans came, and were never conquered.
The conclusion is that they are there. They have their rights, their culture, and their identity. They have the right to express it and manifest it. This landmark case was preceded by another one in 1988, the Ford case, whereby the Supreme Court determined the scope of freedom of expression. What do we mean when we say that somebody has the right to express himself or herself? The court stated:
The “freedom of expression” guaranteed by s.2(b) of the Canadian Charter and s.3 of the Quebec Charter includes the freedom to express oneself in the language of one's choice. Language is so intimately related to the form and content of expression that there cannot be true freedom of expression by means of language if one is prohibited from using the language of one's choice. Language is not merely a means or medium of expression; it colours the content and meaning of expression. It is a means by which a people may express its cultural identity. It is also the means by which one expresses one's personal identity and sense of individuality. The recognition that "freedom of expression" includes the freedom to express oneself in the language of one's choice does not undermine or run counter to the express or specific guarantees of language rights in s. 133 of the Constitution Act, 1867 and ss. 16 to 23 of the Canadian Charter.
It applies to you and to us in the Senate.
In other words, section 133 states quite clearly that both languages could be used in the debates of the chamber of Parliament, and I will read section 133:
Either the English or the French Language may be used by any Person in the Debates of the Houses of the Parliament of Canada and of the Houses of the Legislature of Quebec; and both those Languages shall be used in the respective Records and Journals of those Houses....
The courts stated quite clearly in 1988 that the use of a language other than English and French doesn't run counter to section 133. This is a very key issue, and we reflected upon that in the Senate when we had to review the basis on which a senator, in those instances, or a member of Parliament would decide to use a third group of languages. That would not run counter to section 133.
You would certainly know there is another section of the charter, section 22, that reads as follows, and I will read it for your benefit:
Nothing in sections 16 to 20 abrogates or derogates from any legal or customary right or privilege acquired or enjoyed either before or after the coming into force of this Charter with respect to any language that is not English or French.
In other words, the charter recognized that there are other languages that have customary rights or legal rights. In the Senate in those days we were reflecting on that situation—and I remind you, that was in 2008, so it's already 10 years ago—we thought that to try to take the best means to allow a senator to speak his or her aboriginal language would not run contrary to the letter of the Constitution or to the rights that stem from the various decisions, the various treaty rights, and the general status of the aboriginal people in Canada.
Moreover since then there has been the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I want to draw your attention to sections 13 to 17 of the report. That was not contemplated in the Senate chamber, because that was prior to our use of aboriginal languages. I will read the first one, which is recommendation 13:
We call upon the federal government to acknowledge that Aboriginal rights include Aboriginal language rights.
In other words, not to recognize aboriginal rights if you recognize aboriginal language rights and think or pretend that you will recognize aboriginal rights is a contradiction.
That's what this bill in the Senate, Bill , stems from. It's the third time I have introduced this bill in the Senate. It was introduced for the first time in 2009. It is entitled, . This bill has been adopted at second reading and it is currently at the aboriginal affairs committee in the Senate.
I want to stress that because on February 14 the made a formal statement in relation to the replacement of the Indian Act. I will read a paragraph of the Prime Minister's statement in Parliament. It was not long ago, a month or so.:
To guide the work of decolonizing Canadian laws and policies, we adopted principles respecting Canada's relationship with indigenous peoples.
To preserve, protect, and revitalize indigenous languages, we are working jointly with indigenous partners to develop a First Nations, Inuit, and Métis languages act.
That was the commitment of the government.
I think your work has to take place within that context. We have tried in the Senate, through our procedures—
I know my time is going on—
I'll conclude. I know the time is short. I understand the pressure under which you work and exercise your responsibilities.
I would draw your attention to that general context in which we are in an evolving situation. I met with the two years ago when I introduced that bill, to inform her that this was my third initiative in relation to that. She pledged to launch consultations with aboriginal leaders throughout all of Canada, and the government has fully committed to introducing a languages protection bill.
We in the Senate have shown that it is possible to have a third group of languages used, aboriginal languages specifically, by, of course, having the opportunity to inform the Senate clerk or the committees clerk before that group of languages is used, to make sure that there is an interpreter available and there is a capacity for that senator to use that language and to be understood. Presently, of course, anyone can use any language, but if he or she is not understood, then it's not worth the paper on which that statement is printed and that MP or senator cannot fully participate in the deliberative and legislative functions of the chamber.
We thought it would be possible to do that in the chamber. In the beginning there were objections, no doubt about that, and those who said asked, if we were to do it, what kind of precedent we would be creating for other languages and so forth. We canvassed those issues and we came to the conclusion that aboriginal people have a particular status. They have had constitutional protection through the years. As I said, they have never been conquered. They were there before my own ancestor arrived in 1649, who happened to be, by the way, a translator.
When the missionaries came to Canada in those years, they had to hire people to use as interpreters because none of the European settlers spoke aboriginal languages. The first thing they had to do was to learn aboriginal languages, because aboriginal languages were spoken. In those years, during the French regime and up to the Treaty of Paris of 1763, aboriginal leaders were speaking their aboriginal languages and not learning French; it was the French who were learning the aboriginal languages.
It's the situation now that they are trying to reintegrate into the Canadian mainstream, with their identity, with pride in speaking their languages. Of course, it is the responsibility of the Government of Canada, which through the residential school system obliterated aboriginal languages, to take the initiative and steps to reinstate for them the right to speak their languages.
It is in that context that the Senate took the initiative some 12 years ago to allow, progressively, the use of languages. Today, the two Inuit senators have retired from the Senate. Senator Adams has retired, and Senator Watt retired last month. There are no Inuit senators in the Senate presently. There are seven aboriginal senators in the chamber. We have devised a system through which it is possible to use an aboriginal language by, as I said, giving notice before so that there is an interpreter available and that there is a possibility for them to use their language effectively.
I certainly suggest to you to look into that carefully. Use the precedent that took place in the Senate. Senator Patterson was appointed in 2008 and came into the chamber just at the moment we were really recognizing the use of aboriginal languages. I think he could testify by himself on his experience in the Northwest Territories where there are—how many?—11 languages.
Good afternoon. Welcome back to the 95th meeting of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
Because of our time constraints, we've brought in our other witnesses so they can listen until we get to them. We continue our study.
We're pleased to be joined by Floyd McCormick, Clerk of the Yukon Legislative Assembly; and Danielle Mager, Manager, Public Affairs and Communications of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories.
Thank you both for making yourselves available today. We got delayed a bit, so we're finishing off our previous witnesses. You're welcome to listen.
We're not going to spend too much time, senators, but we'll have Mr. Patterson's statement for however long he wants and then maybe have one question from each party, and then we'll go on to our other witnesses.
Mr. Patterson is a great chair of the Arctic committee of the Senate, which is a new committee that has just started. I really appreciate going to those meetings. You do a great job chairing.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I'm very pleased and honoured to appear today to discuss the issue of rights and rules respecting indigenous languages in the House of Commons.
Just as a bit of background, I am a former MLA, a cabinet minister, and I was a premier in the government of the NWT between 1979 and 1995, so I've had some experience with questions of indigenous languages in the context of Parliament.
In the eighties, there was a push from the government of Pierre Elliott Trudeau to make the NWT officially bilingual. New Brunswick had just become officially bilingual, and the government of the day was urging other provinces and territories to follow suit. There was a lot of pressure on us in the NWT to become officially bilingual.
At the same time, we had a number of MLAs whom we described as unilingual. They spoke only aboriginal languages, or if they could speak English or French, they were clearly handicapped. At the time, as my colleague said, there were also nine aboriginal languages spoken in the NWT that we were very concerned about supporting and enhancing. The prospect of becoming officially bilingual in English and French without also recognizing and supporting the aboriginal first languages of the majority of our population was unacceptable.
What did we do? We engaged with the Secretary of State at the time, the equivalent of which is now the Minister of Heritage, who was the Honourable Serge Joyal. We secured substantial support for the recognition and enhancement of aboriginal languages alongside becoming officially bilingual.
In 1984 the GNWT passed the Official Languages Ordinance. It recognized English and French as official languages but also recognized the status of aboriginal languages. In our first ordinance, we called them official aboriginal languages.
I mention that because the end result was that aboriginal languages, with subsequent amendments in the NWT and Nunavut, came to have equal status alongside English and French as official languages in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Members of both of those assemblies could then—and can now—fully participate in their first languages in a fulsome debate on the complex issues that mattered most to them and their constituents. There is, at significant cost I will say, simultaneous interpretation available in both of those assemblies in the official aboriginal languages of the NWT and Nunavut. We were able to debate complex land claims and political development of the NWT, including a major proposal to divide the NWT and create the new territory of Nunavut, with the full participation of unilingual MLAs who were also respected elders. I think this background may be helpful to you in your discussion of this issue as it pertains to the House of Commons.
I want to say that language should not serve as a disincentive for full participation in our democracy on the part of aboriginal people. We have to respect section 35 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the Constitution Act, as Senator Joyal has outlined, and understand that aboriginal languages are a fundamental expression of aboriginal rights.
In my opinion, if the primary language of a parliamentarian is an indigenous language, we must make every effort to ensure that the relevant accommodations are made to facilitate their ability to participate in meaningful and robust debate on the issues of the day. My respectful advice to your committee would be that, when there are members of Parliament who need to communicate in an aboriginal language other than English or French, in order to fully participate and exercise their rights and privileges as MLAs, as MPs, then full simultaneous translation services should be provided, including translation of documents. That's what is being done in the legislatures of the NWT and Nunavut.
Otherwise, any member who wishes to speak in an aboriginal language in Parliament should be allowed to speak with simultaneous translation available upon reasonable notice as is done in the Senate. So just to make it clear, if a member's privilege to debate and communicate is impeded by his inability to participate in English or French and that member is an aboriginal member, then full translation privileges should be extended. I'm not sure if that is the case today in the House of Commons, and it would be up to your committee, of course, to determine that. But otherwise—and I think this is really the question that's before you now—a member who wishes to speak in an aboriginal language in Parliament should be allowed to speak with simultaneous translation available but upon reasonable notice. This is what we've done in the Senate, and I think it's working well, and I think it may be a very useful precedent for your committee to consider.
That's my advice. Thank you.
Forty-eight hours is normally the period. It has proven, so far as Inuktitut is concerned, to be a reasonable deadline for a senator to inform the clerk that he or she would want to address the Senate or the committee in that language. We think that 48 hours is a reasonable period of time in which to make it available especially—and it's always the same—to make sure that the interpreters are available. As I say, I think that the House of Commons—and I say that with the greatest respect for the House—and we in Canada are in the process of evolution. We're trying to reinstate a situation that has been lost and erased and deleted from history. So you can't do that.... My first boss on the Hill was former and late Minister Jean Marchand, who Mr. Bagnell might have known.
You are almost old enough to be a senator, Mr. Bagnell.
He always said that you can't have a transatlantic ship turn on a dime; you have to take a direction. The important thing is to have a direction and to do it in a practical way, not to try to change your rules immediately. I don't think it's what I would advise you to do. That's not the way we did it in the Senate, and it has proved to be successful. It's how you do it practically.
After a while, as I say, it's part of a general effort of the overall system in Canada to reinstate aboriginal peoples' full participation in mainstream Canada. So I think that what you could do certainly is to follow suit, the way the Senate has done it, and I think you are going to help the Senate to continue to improve our approach to it. And we could share the capacity of the interpreter. There won't be one interpreter available for the chamber and one available for the Senate. We could pool those resources and share them so that we have a reasonable approach as we do with safety on the Hill, because we are in the process of adapting to a new situation. The government has stated that they fully endorse the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. You as a member of Parliament may remember that article 13 of the United Nations declaration reads “Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions.” It is within that trend that we put our efforts.
I realize that we don't have a lot of time, so I'm just going to throw a couple of questions out.
Either of you can feel free to answer, as you see appropriate. The first question is on the reasonableness of the time frame.
Senator Patterson, during your time in Northwest Territories politics, I'm curious as to whether there was any notice period or whether there it was simultaneous, as a member spoke.
Second—more generally and more to Senator Patterson, I would suspect—are you provided currently with any additional resources, through the Senate budget, for your own communications with your constituents in Inuktitut or in other indigenous languages, in terms of emails or newsletters—we have householders on the House side—and do you have resources such as that for translation?
Finally, regarding the cost factor, are you aware of the cost of the current pilot project in the Senate?
Those are my three questions. I'll throw it open for you to reply as you see fit.
They don't have the same status as English or French, which is provided very clearly in the Constitution in sections 16 to 20 of the charter and in section 23, of course, for the teaching of official languages to minorities in various provinces, but they have a status. It's not a totally comparable status, but there's no doubt that they have a status, and I think it's fair with regard to what I call the evolution capacity of the Constitution.
Through the years, as I quoted in some decisions, the courts have been able to read into the Constitution the overall architecture of the Constitution. As one of those fundamental principles that stems from the secession reference of 1998—you may be familiar with the case—the court has identified what they call the underlying principles of the Canadian architecture of the Constitution. One of those is the protection of minority rights. Those are the elements that infuse the system.
As I say, the bill of rights is recognized in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 by the new sovereign of the land, and that royal proclamation is part of the Constitution. It's in the annex. In fact, it's the first document of the annex of the Constitution. I think that it was done, really, with the clear perception that in fact the rights of the aboriginal peoples were there at the beginning. They have been lost, but they were there, so they have a different status than English and French do.
French rights were reinstated by the Quebec Act and of course by the Constitution of 1867 and then the charter, but the aboriginal rights have never been erased per se. They are inherent. They have a different constitutional status, but they are there.
We had the historic Tsilhqot'in apology yesterday, which I'm grateful to the for doing. I think it was a very important thing to do, especially since I'm a representative from British Columbia.
In a speech later in the Senate foyer, the regional chief said that Canada was initially envisioned as perhaps one nation, which didn't work, an English-speaking nation. Of course, we had a two-nation concept of French and English, but he reinforced this emerging idea of a three-nation Canada, so that we all think of ourselves in a state that has three nations, with the third nation having multiple nations within it.
I think what this is moving toward, with translation in the House, is reinforcing that idea of a three-nation concept of Canada, but I'm wondering if the third nation isn't quite as equal. I wonder where we're heading and how far we can or should go with this.
—as you know, I'm a veteran of constitutional negotiations stemming back into the 1970s.
I have always resisted the use of the word “nation” to try to—how should I say this?—singularize groups in Canada. As I say, we are different peoples. We come from different historical backgrounds. Our presence in Canada stems from various centuries.
As the aboriginal people have stated, “We're here to stay.” They will never leave. They have been here from time immemorial. My ancestors came here 400 years ago. We're here to stay. I won't go back to Bergerac, where my ancestors come from. It's the same for any new Canadians that were sworn in yesterday. What we try to share is the right of each person to try to develop according to his or her choice within a complexity of identities.
I always resist saying that they are the French Canadians and they arrived in 1604 or 1608. Then the Brits came in 1763, and then there are others who came. I always resist having a vision of Canada that divides. We come from so many different backgrounds, and the nature of Canada, I should say, is to celebrate that, to recognize that.
As I say and as Senator Patterson has clearly mentioned, those are inherent rights of the aboriginal people as much as I as a French Canadian have the inalienable right to speak my own language as much as I want and to speak the other language as much as I want.
It's a beginning. We are trying to listen.
The Supreme Court has said about the charter that it should be interpreted in a liberal and purposive way. When I say liberal, I don't mean the Liberal Party, but in an open, evolutionary way. I think that all the rights included in the charter and the Constitution have been interpreted throughout years of evolution. We're at the preliminary phase of recognizing the rights that aboriginal people inherently have to speak their language. We won't change the system overnight, and I would not suggest to you to do it overnight. We want to make sure that we recognize their identity and their capacity to speak their language. We'll adjust the system
according to the needs,
as much as they request it and as much as the budget allows. The minister has announced in this budget some funds to support the teaching of a second language in English provinces and in Quebec. We would hope to have much more money, but that's the amount of money we have.
On the other hand, you cannot deny the money. That would be equivalent to denying the rights. It would be meaningless, not worth the paper on which it's printed.
As I say, it's up to the responsible persons of the day, the government of the day, the MPs and the senators, to see how we will adjust the system. Both of us are happy to be here to talk to you about how we have adjusted the system in the Senate, because we thought it was the proper thing to do. We didn't work under a Supreme Court injunction that said, “Now you can speak Inuktitut or you can speak Cree or Dene.” We thought it was the right thing to do as Canadians.
That's great. Your passion is great for this topic.
Now we'll add Floyd McCormick, Clerk of the Yukon Legislative Assembly, and Danielle Mager, Manager, Public Affairs and Communications, Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories.
From Mr. McCormick, you have some brief comments and also the law in the Yukon, which was sent to you the other day. Just this morning, you got a statement from the Northwest Territories as well.
I understand that you don't have much of an opening statement, Floyd. Is that true?
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to the committee for inviting me to speak to you today.
As you mentioned, my name is Danielle Mager. I'm the Manager of Public Affairs and Communications with the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. In my role, I am responsible for booking interpreters and for scheduling the broadcasting network.
As you're aware, in the Northwest Territories, we have 11 official languages. It's the only political region in Canada that recognizes that many languages. The population of our territory is approximately 45,000, with half of that population residing in the capital city of Yellowknife. Approximately 10% of the population, about 5,000 people, speak an aboriginal language.
Of these official languages, nine are aboriginal and belong to three different language families: Dene, Inuit, and Cree. Aboriginal languages are most frequently spoken in smaller communities throughout the Northwest Territories.
In the NWT legislature we have 19 members, three of whom speak an indigenous language on the floor of the House on a regular basis. This includes our Speaker, who speaks Tlicho every day during session. We have three interpreting booths in our chamber, and we have the ability to interpret in three official languages of the Northwest Territories. When we are in session, we switch these languages off every week, but we do have Tlicho on a permanent basis for the Speaker.
If a member chooses to read his or her member's statement in an official language of the Northwest Territories, they will be given an additional 30 seconds to read the statement in both English and the official language. If the member does intend to use an official language on the floor of the House, we do request that they provide us at least 24 hours' advance notice so that we have the ability to book the interpreter. As you can imagine, in the Northwest Territories it can be challenging to bring people into the capital city when we have 33 communities throughout the entire territory.
I do have some things that I've culled from the members' handbook about the official languages services. First, it states:
The Official Languages Act of the Northwest Territories guarantees Members the right to use any official language in the debates and other proceedings of the Legislative Assembly. As set out in the Act the official languages of the Northwest Territories are Chipewyan, Cree, Tlicho, English, French, Gwich'in, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, Inuinnaqtun, North Slavey and South Slavey.
Under “Classification of Official Languages Services”, it states:
At the outset of each Legislature, the Office of the Clerk will consult with each Member to determine service level requirements.
Under essential service, it states:
An Official Language will be designated “essential” if:
a Member indicates that he or she has limited or no ability in English and requires the use of another Official Language; or
a Member indicates that he or she has some fluency in English but prefers to use another Official Language where possible. If a language is deemed to be essential, simultaneous interpretation services will be made available for all sittings of the House and all Committee meetings at which the Member is scheduled to attend.
Under “Provisional”, the handbook states:
An official language will be designated as provisional if a Member indicates that he or she is fluent in English but desires to use another official language at times during Assembly proceedings.
In such instances, interpretation services will be provided when reasonable advance notice is given to the Office of the Clerk that such language services are desired. The contact for such requests is the [manager of public affairs and communications]. Members should endeavour to provide at least four hours' notice if they wish to have provisional interpretation services available during a House or committee proceeding. Every effort will be made to find a qualified interpreter.
Under “Non-Essential”, it states:
An Official Language would be designated as “non-essential” if no Member indicates the ability to use the language during Assembly proceedings.
In such instances, interpretation services in this language will not be made available as a matter of routine practice.
Under “Translation of Documents”, the handbook states:
Written translation services, where reasonable and practicable, will be provided for designated documents in all of the essential languages, as well as upon reasonable request for documents in any of the provisional and non-essential languages.
Designated documents include, but are not limited to, the Orders of the Day, bills or bill summaries, amendments to bills, motions and committee reports.
Under “Broadcast Services”, it states:
The Office of the Clerk will endeavour to provide public broadcast coverage of House proceedings in as many official languages as [feasible]. The broadcast coverage will be provided on a rotational basis and will attempt to achieve equality of status and equal right and privileges for all official languages.
In the legislative assembly, we broadcast to all 33 communities throughout the territory and also to the rest of Canada through Bell ExpressVu and Shaw Direct. We also provide House proceedings on all of our social media platforms.
That concludes my opening statement, and I am available for any questions the committee might have.