Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Good morning, Minister. I'm pleased to see you this morning.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
We were unable to meet with you yesterday in the Standing Committee on Official Languages as a result of the many votes that were held.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes, but, as you can see, I've arranged to be here this morning.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
My first question is really diplomatic in nature. It concerns an interesting debate for all the founding peoples, which I love, as you know.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister confirmed that he was going to modernize the Official Languages Act, but the question is whether that will be done before the election. Can you tell us about that?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes, I understand.
Madam Chair, I have enormous respect for Mr. Casey. We know each other well. However, the Prime Minister made an incredible announcement yesterday. The Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne, the FCFA, the Société de l'Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick, the SANB, and other organizations want to know whether that will be done before the election.
Do you want to answer that, Minister?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
All the other questions concern the main estimates.
Does the minister want to answer or not?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Several sections of the Official Languages act, including section 7, provide for positive measures. However, section 7 is not detailed and specific enough for judges to be able to grant positive measures, which, of course, require federal spending. If we want to reform the act, we must focus on section 7 in particular. That's very important. There has been one case, in British Columbia, in which a judge was unable to find in favour of the francophones.
Does the Prime Minister intend to examine the problem before the next election as it relates to the main estimates?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you very much, Minister.
On page 2 of your speaking notes, you say something I consider very important: "And, so that our creators and creative industries can be promoted and supported internationally, we are allocating $125 million over five years to Canada's first-ever Creative Export Strategy."
I do a lot of door-to-door work, and my fellow citizens often ask me questions about spending on this Canadian creative export strategy. How did your trip to South Korea help you refine that plan? Can you give us some examples of how your diplomatic meetings contributed to the plan?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you. I would like to ask you one final question.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
The supplementary estimates provide for $14.53 million over five years—thank heaven—to assist community radio stations and media in the official language minority communities, the OLMCs.
We talk a lot about that in the Standing Committee on Official Languages. Would you agree that a portion of that amount should immediately be sent to those organizations? We know the funding won't be available for a few months.
When those organizations appeared before this committee, they told us they were about to shut down. Would you be prepared to make an effort and immediately allocate $2 million to those organizations on an urgent basis?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I have a special request to make of all my colleagues.
We're just next door to the House of Commons, and we are extraordinarily lucky to have the minister with us. I move that we extend the meeting by 14 minutes in order to go around the table twice for seven minutes each. What do you think?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Madam Minister, I am really pleased to be able to ask you some questions for the first time as your counterpart.
I would like to go back quickly to the agreement with Netflix. You caught my attention when you said that an amount of $500 million has been allocated to the production of anglophone and francophone content. Since the agreement is confidential, I understand that you cannot go into the details.
Why was an amount of $25 million needed if there is $500 million for initiatives to produce content in French and in English?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Does the $500-million investment already provide for some of the funds to go to francophone content?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I understand completely, madam. Thank you.
So it is not possible to find out the part of the $500-million fund that will be set aside for francophone production because that information is confidential.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Madam Minister, I really have to ask you about this: you were supposed to introduce the five-year plan for official languages before Christmas, and, basically, it will not be introduced until the winter.
Can we expect the amounts to be as significant as the ones in the roadmap for official languages 2013-2018? Would you venture so far as to index that amount, as language groups are asking?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I would like to go back over what you said this morning but I see that my time is up.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Madam Minister, you said that you are working with people on the ground to promote culture, so that Quebecers and French-speaking Canadians have access to more content and so that people around the world have access to the content we produce.
However, over the last year, your government has met with digital giants, as you like to call them, 99 times. In particular, you met with Google representatives 37 times. In addition, Google representatives asked to meet with you five times.
Was your chief of staff present at these five meetings? I'm asking because we know she worked for Google in the past.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
You met with ADISQ representatiaves once, Madam Minister. You met with them a single time, and with Netflix representatives 16 times.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Was your chief of staff present during the meeting with Google representatives?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Could I please get an answer, Madam Chair?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
So, very good, if it's true.
You saw that we tabled a groundbreaking report this morning on Air Canada. We decided, in the Standing Committee on Official Languages, to recommend that the government once and for all give coercive powers to the Commissioner of Official Languages to ensure that French-speaking Canadians are absolutely respected when it comes to their language rights.
What do you think of this recommendation, which is still quite bold?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
This is a unanimous report: all parties agreed. We believe that the commissioner should have coercive powers.
Do you plan to bring back the Official Languages Secretariat under the Privy Council Office, within the Prime Minister's Office, to ensure that this isn't your department, but a separate body of the Privy Council that requires all other departments to properly follow the Official Languages Act?
Currently, other departments don't listen to your department.
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