Interventions in Committee
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
We are going to start meeting 147, which is being televised today.
We have the honour of having Raymond Théberge, the Commissioner of Official Languages, with us today.
Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(f), we are studying the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Official Languages 2018-19, referred to the committee on May 9, 2019.
To give some context to today's meeting for everyone watching, I would like to point out that the act provides for the presentation of an annual report by the Commissioner of Official Languages. This has been the case since 1969, if I'm not mistaken. The committee's conventions and traditions provide that we shall promptly receive the Commissioner each time so that he can submit his report directly.
Mr. Commissioner, you will have 10 minutes, as is customary, to make your opening remarks. Then, according to the committee's procedure, we will have a one-hour roundtable discussion.
Thank you to you and your team for being here today, including Ms. Giguère, Assistant Commissioner, and Ms. Saikaley.
Go ahead, Mr. Commissioner. We are listening.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
Thank you, Mrs. Boucher.
Mr. Choquette has honourably given up his three minutes.
Commissioner, I have two questions for you, and I am sure that Mr. Samson will be happy to hear the first one.
I would like to talk about bilingualism for the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada. I do not think I am mistaken in saying that all members of this committee would like to see the legislation change so that the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada must be bilingual. After all, we all voted in favour of Mr. Choquette's commendable bill.
I have a special request for you, which goes beyond the work of this committee. We only have three weeks left, but you have at least six years.
At the moment, there is a serious problem. Some lawyers from the Department of Justice claim to be constitutional experts, and some really are. Let me throw this idea at you, although I do not know whether you have the authority to do it. They do not work for nothing, but would you be able to employ some constitutional experts to help you to write a legal text, a solid, well-supported counter-argument in opposition to the legal minds in the Department of Justice? That is a text that we could use in the future.
We need you. As members of Parliament, we do not have the resources we need to employ eminent constitutional scholars, but your office does. You have a substantial budget. Would it be worthwhile to prepare a constitutional argument in support of Mr. Choquette's motion?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
Consider it, please. We need your help on this.
Finally, Commissioner, I want to thank you for the work you have done in the last year, especially for your second report. I want you to know that you have our moral support. We are with you. You do not stand alone in Canada. You have important tasks and heavy responsibilities. I strongly encourage you to continue in the same direction, even to exert a little more pressure, no matter which government is in power. You have nothing to fear. I want to say that we support you. Surveys seem to demonstrate that most Canadians support your work, and that is positive. I really want you to know that we are behind you. In turn, we expect you to be behind us.
Thank you for appearing before us today, Commissioner.
My thanks to my colleagues for their questions.
Would you like to say a few words?
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