Mr. Speaker, I have some thoughts on this bill's subject matter. I come from the province of Manitoba, where the French language is actually loved and cherished, and it is in fact expanding. When making reference to immigrants, we should think of those hard-working immigrants who truly care about contributing to our society. Often, we will find that their children are going to immersion schools. A number of people speak French, which is a beautiful language and one I wish I could speak. When people hear my surname, most assume that I can speak French. Unfortunately, we did not have the same sort of schooling back then that we have today in the province of Manitoba.
There has been a genuine growth of a beautiful language, a language that should be treated as equal to English, with a high sense of pride. Often, when I go to many events in my constituency, I am amazed when I run into someone of, let us say, Filipino, Punjabi or Indo-Canadian heritage who can speak not only Punjabi or Tagalog, but also English and French. More and more we see what I believe is a very healthy French community in Manitoba. When one really looks at it, one will find that it is a growing community.
I believe that in the province of Quebec, where French is spoken more than English, it will continue to be that way. I am not naive. I understand that there are pressures outside of the province of Quebec with respect to languages, but I do believe that the language itself is something that will continue to be exceptionally well spoken outside of the province of Quebec, where it continues to grow and prosper. Within the province, there are very strong personalities who will ensure that Quebec continues to lead the country and demonstrate to other countries around the world where French is spoken or continues to expand that Canada can be a role model. We can look at the very character and the vibrant society of the province of Quebec and what it has been able to contribute in the past, and it will continue as a community leading on the francophone file.
I do not think that it is all bad news. I was listening to the members opposite, who recognized French for the beautiful language that it is. It will always be an official language of Canada and respected in all regions of our country. As I protect the minority rights of francophones in the province of Quebec, I also encourage others to recognize that so many good things are happening outside the province of Quebec in ensuring that the French language is growing and becoming a larger part of Canadian society. I see that as a good thing.
With respect to citizenship issues, the only thing I would say is that as a government we have done exceptionally well in speeding up the immigration process. It takes nowhere as long today to acquire citizenship, because of the work of the current Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. I see that as a positive thing. We have a minister who really looks at the ways in which we can use immigration as an effective tool to enhance and complement our francophone communities, whether working with Quebec or with other provinces, to see a minority language continue to grow and prosper. I just say that for what it is worth.