Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you very much.
You also mentioned funding for community media, which brings me to one thing I have noticed recently.
According to the preliminary budget you sent us, $302 million will be allocated to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which is very good. However, I read in L'Acadie nouvelle that there had been a 10% reduction in jobs at the Radio-Canada station in Moncton. I was a little troubled.
I would like to understand how it is possible to increase funding for the CBC, which I think is commendable, while also cutting funding for its station in Moncton, where there is a francophone minority language community?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Ms. Joly, I think Canadians expect you, as minister, to question the CBC, not a member of the opposition. I have every confidence in your good intentions, but I would still invite you to ask the CEO why those cuts were made. They fly in the face of your intentions with respect to official languages.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
You are responsible for the vitality of linguistic communities, Minister.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
In cabinet, isn't it your responsibility to ask your colleague why, in this case, action is being taken to the detriment of the vitality of linguistic communities?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
As you know, we have finally begun a study on the modernization of the Official Languages Act. You have followed suit and I am very happy about that.
To date, however, two presentations have sort of confused me.
First, there was the one on February 18, 2019. It was not before our committee, but before the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages. Senator Rose-May Poirier asked Pierre Lavallée, the CEO of the Canada Infrastructure Bank, whether he had spoken with you or people in your office about his official languages duties. As we know, the Canada Infrastructure Bank has had some problems with this. To everyone's surprise, Mr. Lavallée replied that your office had never contacted him or the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
You seem to be saying that, in the case of Radio-Canada, another minister is responsible. In this case, clearly, you did not contact the Infrastructure Bank yourself. Have you at least discussed this issue with Mr. Champagne in cabinet?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Minister Joly, I was a little surprised by your response to Mr. Choquette. You said that you hoped the commissioner would have a generous interpretation. However, you and your Prime Minister were the ones who chose the person and submitted his name for the position.
Didn't you first determine the person's approach to official languages? How can you hope for something from an individual, when you were the one who chose that person? That seems very strange. I don't understand.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
You didn't submit three suggestions. You submitted one suggestion, Minister Joly.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
That's fine, thank you.
I have two minutes left.
I may be wrong, but I think that I'm right. Across Canada, people have mainly told me that, while they're pleased with your measures, they find that you lack the leadership to ensure that Part VI of the act is applied in all government agencies.
When he met with us on Tuesday, the commissioner said that federal agencies were following his recommendations in 80% of cases. That's fine. However, in 20% of cases, the agencies aren't following the recommendations or are struggling to follow them. If it were 5%, I could understand. It would almost be by default. However, 20% is significant.
Why did the National Energy Board publish a report in English only? The Canada Infrastructure Bank and Public Services and Procurement Canada websites display calls for tenders that are still riddled with mistakes in French. Why are 20% of federal agencies unable to follow the recommendations? Minister Joly, we don't expect you to be offended by the shortcomings, but to act. You don't seem to be taking action.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
In the committee, we mostly say that the main issue, other than the act, is the lack of political will.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
The issue is the lack of political will. The issue is your place in cabinet. Do you say these things in cabinet? Do you criticize your colleagues for these shortcomings? The 20% rate is unacceptable. A 5% rate would be understandable, by default. However, a 20% rate clearly indicates an issue.
As I told you, people are generally happy with your investments. It's the continuation of the story of the past 20 years. All action plans increase investments. However, people are telling me about your lack of leadership, Minister Joly. That's the serious issue right now. That's why the act must be strengthened. The current Minister of Official Languages in the government doesn't show leadership. If you're doing so, your colleagues aren't listening to you.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay, but what do you have to say about the Prime Minister, who spoke only in English yesterday to 78 daughters of the vote participants from Quebec?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Commissioner and all those accompanying you, good morning.
Welcome to this new room; this is the first time we are meeting here.
Mr. Théberge, I would first like to ask you how many employees the office has.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
That's a fairly substantial number.
You shouldn't see any hidden agenda in my next question.
I see that you have $19 million in main estimates 2018-19.
We also see an amount of $4 million for the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying, and another $5 million for the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.
What explains that discrepancy between your office and those other offices, just for our information?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
That is noteworthy.
Commissioner, in your opening remarks, you talked about the fact that you didn't think you would take office during a year when language rights were being infringed, as you put it.
In relation to that realization, have you seen an increase in complaints during this year compared with other years?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay.
That's interesting.
For next year, you are seeking $21.7 million. Are you requesting that money or is the government giving it to you of its own accord? Is it sufficient? Are you satisfied? Is it enough? Is it too much? I suppose it is never too much.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
That brings me to a sub-question, Commissioner.
There are issues with translation at the Canada Infrastructure Bank, the National Energy Board, or NEB, on tendering Internet sites, and so on. There are also cases of flagrant arrogance, such as what happened at the NEB.
Do you have the power to send them a letter signed by you asking what the issue is? Are you doing that?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good afternoon to both of you, Mr. Jedwab and Ms. Chouinard. I am very happy that you are here.
Ms. Chouinard, I think this is the first time you have appeared before the committee. You said it was an honour and a privilege to be here. I am glad to have given you this honour and privilege, since it was my office that invited you. I have seen all your expertise over the past year.
I wanted to hear what you had to say about the administrative tribunal. You mentioned it during your presentation, but I have a few specific questions.
But first, Mr. Jedwab, I want to tell you that I really liked what you said at the end of your opening remarks on the country's fundamental proposals, namely the two founding peoples and the multicultural environment in which we live. This fundamental proposal must never be forgotten. I agree 100% with this vision of the country.
Ms. Chouinard, I detected a contradiction in your comments that may not be a contradiction. I wanted you to correct or clarify what you said. You said that, since the Charter was enshrined, there has been a liberal and generous interpretation by the Supreme Court with respect to language rights. On the other hand, you said that the Official Languages Act and the Federal Court have not yielded the expected results.
Personally, I see this as a contradiction. Can you elaborate on it, please?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay.
You say that the commissioner could have more coercive powers, or rather that he definitely has coercive powers right now, but that he does not always use them.
Do you think we should either strengthen the commissioner's coercive powers or create an administrative tribunal, or do you think we could do both at the same time?
What do you think the best option is?
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