Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Two weeks ago, we heard from senior officials at the departments of Canadian Heritage and Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie. Exactly how they were divided was unclear.
I asked them whether they had begun to take their first step, regardless of what it might be, in the process of revising the act. Someone answered yes. I asked what that first step was, and the answer was that they had to organize consultations, slowly but surely. I asked whether that first step had begun. I think he answered that that was not really the case, but I'll have to look at the transcript of the meeting. The witness seemed to be saying that the officials in question were currently in talks with the minister to determine how to move forward and begin the first step.
Mr. Power, I'm recalling these facts in order to tell you that I don't think a major revision of the act will take place between now and the next election. I want to be logical and efficient for the benefit of the OLMCs across the country, and I don't want to repeat myself. However—I think you addressed this question indirectly with Mr. Choquette—the judgment that was rendered in British Columbia is really negative for language rights in Canada. However, it significantly illustrates the deficiencies of part VII of the act.
Consequently, if I tell you, sadly, to abandon hope of a major revision of the act before the 2019 election, what legislative measures could the government introduce immediately without waiting for that revision? I'm thinking here of measures that can be easily passed in the House in the six months we have left in which to sit.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Without producing a completely new act, could we simply amend part VII of the act?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I thought I was making you sad by telling you it wouldn't be done before 2019. In fact, unlike the Liberals, I don't know the truth.
I'm asking you whether it would be possible simply to amend the act without completely changing it.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
However, let's not forget the judgment that was rendered in British Columbia, and which could quickly become case law in a year. By the time the new version of the act comes into force, in perhaps two or three years, if we wait until after the election, we must prevent another judgment from confirming this one. Consequently, what can we do right away? How can we amend part VII to prevent immediately this judgment in British Columbia from becoming case law?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Are there currently any other cases before the Canadian courts in which one of the parties might want to rely on the BC judgment?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Two weeks ago, Ms. Joly reported to this committee that she had said in cabinet—if I'm not mistaken—that she didn't necessarily agree with the BC judge's reasoning. Is that consistent with what you suggest Ms. Wilson-Raybould should tell her lawyers?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
This morning we are holding the meeting of the Standing Committee on Official Languages of Thursday, November 8, 2018.
Good morning, everyone.
This morning we have Alpha Barry from the Conseil scolaire fransaskois and Martin Théberge and Marie-Christine Morin from the Fédération culturelle canadienne-française.
We also have Ali Chaisson from the Société de l'Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick and Marie-France Lapierre and Marie-Pierre Lavoie from the Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique.
Good morning, everyone. Thank you very much for travelling and being here with us this morning to begin, with great fanfare, a study on the modernization of the Official Languages Act. It is with great pleasure, enthusiasm and honour, as Mr. Mulroney used to say, that we begin our study. We will conduct it slowly but surely.
I must confess that committee members wanted to begin this study several months ago, but we decided to complete several reports first. Now here we are at this turning point in the committee’s history, and we will try to do as much work as possible before the next election.
Here’s how the meeting will be conducted. First of all, representatives of a group or association will have 10 minutes to outline their vision and the points they would like to make to us.
Then we’ll go around the table once, even two or three times, since we'll have two hours at our disposal. Each round will be five to seven minutes long, depending on how we're set up. We will probably have a break in an hour. We'll be spending two hours together.
I’d like to tell you what we expect of you, and that is that you tell us the direction we should take in modernizing the act.
I ask you to bear in mind that we want our study to supplement the one currently under way in the Senate. The Senate study is being conducted by the counterpart to our committee. We would like to address aspects that the senators will not have the time to consider. I ask you please to bear that in mind.
Try not to be too exhaustive, but give us some interesting ideas that you think we should focus on between now and the summer, when we will have to issue our report.
Without further ado, I turn the floor over to Mr. Barry.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Barry.
Now we will hear from the Fédération culturelle canadienne-française.
Mr. Théberge, the floor is yours.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Very well, thank you for that.
Now we will hear from Mr. Chaisson from the Société de l'Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick.
Mr. Chaisson, you have the floor.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
You have 30 seconds left, please.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chaisson. Your remarks were strongly felt.
Now we'll turn the floor over to Ms. Lapierre and Ms. Lavoie, the representatives of the Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique.
Ms. Lavoie, on behalf of the Standing Committee on Official Languages, I would like to congratulate you for your recent election to the board.
Please go ahead. We're listening.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thanks to all of you for your excellent testimony.
Without further ado, we will begin the period of questions.
Mrs. Boucher, you have the floor.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Ms. Lapierre.
Mrs. Boucher, unfortunately, your time is up.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Arseneault, you have six minutes.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you.
Mr. Choquette, the floor is yours.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Choquette, you have two minutes left.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Ms. Lapierre, I wanted to tell you not to worry. You've all submitted briefs, but, if information spontaneously comes to mind, you can probably pass it on to us during subsequent turns. Otherwise you can email the committee's analyst or the clerk. We receive these messages all the time.
Now I turn the floor over to Mr. Samson.
You have six minutes, sir.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
That will be 15 seconds per person.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you very much.
Now I turn the floor over to Ms. Fortier, and then we'll take a five-minute break. It will be Mr. Généreux's turn when we come back.
Ms. Fortier, please go ahead.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Now we will suspend for five minutes, and then it will be Mr. Généreux's turn. Thank you.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
We'll resume the meeting.
Your turn, Mr. Généreux. If I correctly understood, you have agreed with Mrs. Boucher that she will speak during your speaking time.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
You've just introduced a motion. We could debate it in 48 hours, unless committee members agree to debate it immediately. Otherwise it's only a notice of motion.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Does it remain a notice of motion, or do you want us to discuss it as a motion right away?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
As the members aren't unanimous, we can't debate it now.
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