Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Ms. Adam, I am going to go back to the table you gave us. As you have said, the locations at Moss Park Armouries and Queens Quay West interest you a great deal. I see that you have some concerns about the extent of soil contamination. For Canadians to fully understand the problem, let me say that contamination may not be major but it is still contamination. Do you have specific questions, apart from those about contamination and the accessibility of the properties, that you would like us to ask the officials from the Canada Lands Company, who will soon be appearing before our committee? I believe it's next Tuesday.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good morning, colleagues. Ms. Fougère, Mr. Zegarac, Mr. McPherson, welcome to Ottawa.
Greetings also to everyone listening to us.
I would like to tell you that inviting you to appear is not the most joyous occasion for us. I understand that this is a difficult moment for you, but our goal is absolutely not to make you uncomfortable or to back you into a corner. Our committee has a responsibility to Parliament to ensure that the language rights of official language communities all over the country are guaranteed and protected. That is the context in which we invited you and I thank you for joining us this morning.
I would like to talk to you about Part VII of the Official Languages Act, which deals with positive measures.
As you said, Ms. Fougère, language matters in Canada are evolving very quickly. Communities are establishing themselves everywhere. There are said to be 700 francophone schools in the country. New high schools continue to appear, as is the case in Whitehorse, where construction work began this week, I believe.
Language matters are evolving very quickly at federal level too. In 2005, under the Paul Martin government, Conservatives and Liberals voted almost unanimously in favour of including positive measures in Part VII of the act. That created a new paradigm for official languages in Canada, because those measures complicate the division of powers between the federal government and the provincial and territorial governments. As Conservatives, honouring areas of jurisdiction is fundamental. As the future government in a few months, we must be responsible and participate in the work of this committee that is designed to protect the constitutional primacy of the country’s two official languages.
However, the positive measures in Part VII of the act could allow the federal level to grant funds on an exceptional basis. That has never really been done before, except a few weeks ago when Ms. Joly unlocked $2 million to establish the Université de l’Ontario français project. That is a start.
However, the idea of granting $40 million to fund the first four years of that same university’s existence is not a good one, because we still do not know the real costs.
Mr. Zegarac, your professional career is exceptional. You have been working in your ministry for 35 years, if I understand correctly, or at least on behalf of the official languages and the Francophonie in Ontario. Can you give us all the figures for the new Université de l’Ontario français in Toronto this morning? Aside from the $80 million in start-up costs, what will be the operational costs for the next eight years, especially if we go from 300 registered students to 3,000? We need to know what those total costs will be, because we cannot embark on a financial adventure in the name of the positive measures in Part VII of the act if we do not know what they are.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Sorry to interrupt you—with all respect, of course.
Does the $84 million concern any other expenses: building, electricity, registration? I just need to know. This is really important.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Ms. Effendi, welcome to the federal government's Standing Committee on Official Languages. I'm pleased to see you here. Thank you for all the work you and your organization are doing.
First, I would like to ask you a brief question. You said the Ontario government paid the AJEFO for the legal information centre to provide resources such as justice camps to young people.
How much funding was allocated to those activities last year, for example?
I'd just like to get an idea of what that might mean.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I have a more general question. It may not be related to your official role, but it concerns you nonetheless.
I have heard that the federal government should set money aside in the event of future conflicts. This goes beyond the Department of National Defence. It seems that funds are already available to meet the increasing demand for services over a certain length of time, such as we have with Afghanistan at the moment.
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