Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Alright. Thank you, Mr. MacKinnon. We will certainly send them to you.
To close your presentation, you said that PSPC is committed "to promoting and supporting bilingualism in Canada in everything we do." For my part, I noted during all of my meetings with representatives of OLMCs that they were a bit tired of hearing about promotion and all the rest. You make these speeches, while at the same time, we noted that two months ago, your department's Internet sites that featured calls for tenders were riddled with errors in the French. I am not saying you are guilty of anything, but I am telling you this respectfully. These were grammar or even translation errors. It is interesting and all the more since we have Mr. Déry from the Translation Bureau with us.
It seems that we currently have a lack of leadership in Cabinet. How do you answer for this?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes. It will be May 29 and 30, I believe.
We received the invitation.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good morning, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Dupuis.
It is always an honour to have you at the committee as the main representatives of all of the country's francophone groups. I don't think I'll offend anyone by saying that, as you just said that the bill was a compendium of all of the requests from everywhere in the country.
I have eight questions to ask, and to the extent that that is possible, I would like you to answer them by yes or no. I think you will see that they won't require much expounding.
On page 32 of the document I have here, in Part Vll, section 41.3, entitled “Duty with respect to data collection”, are you alluding to Statistics Canada?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes. So, basically, you want the law to include an obligation that Statistics Canada carry out a proper census.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you.
For my second question, let's go to section 41.5 on page 33, entitled “Duty when leasing a federal building or federal real property in the National Capital Region”.
I'm not sure I understand. Does the duty apply to the physical location or to the people in it?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I see. I hadn't understood properly. I thought it was about posting signs on the premises.
Let's go to the next page for my third question. This won't be a yes or no question.
Paragraph 43(1)(c) states:
(c) encourage provincial governments to adopt measures that foster progress toward the equality of status or use of English and French;
How would you like to do that?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I see. So that can be done by adding language clauses. We are not talking about encouragement.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
On page 35, paragraph 43.1(1) is entitled “Duty to support instruction in the language of the official language minority communities”.
Is the objective here to broaden the rights holders principle?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I see. That's a very good answer.
For my fifth question, let's go to page 36. Paragraph 43.1(5), entitled “Use of Funds'', says the following:
(5) The minister shall ensure that the funds transferred to the provinces are spent in the manner provided for in the negotiated agreements.
Does this refer back directly to the language clauses?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Very well.
Do I understand correctly that through 43.2(1), you wish to include the Official Languages in Education Program, OLEP, in the act?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
You may not have included the acronym OLEP here directly, but that is your objective, correct?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I'll go on to my seventh question.
In proposed paragraph 43.4(1) of the bill, on the collective rights of the New Brunswick communities, was your objective to attach financial reality to section 16 of the Constitution Act, 1982? Aside from indigenous peoples, the Constitution only recognizes the Acadian people.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
If you say so.
Quebeckers have not managed to obtain that recognition, to date. This would be a great victory for the Acadians and I'm very happy for them. However, is your objective here to codify that recognition in the act so that the money will follow?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay.
Let me go on to my next question, on proposed paragraph 43.14(1) of the bill, on page 41 of your document.
These are my last questions, because I think my time must be almost up.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
This paragraph is about the Official Languages Promotion Fund. Would funds made available following an order of the Official Languages Tribunal go into this fund?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you.
How would the money in the fund be spent? Your text is not clear on that. The minister seems to have a certain discretionary power, but could he spend that money anyway he wished? That's the part I don't understand.
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?
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