Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Does the act specifically state that the commissioner has the discretion to choose for himself?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good morning, everyone.
Mr. Carrier and Mr. Boileau, I'm very pleased that you're with us this morning.
Mr. Boileau, I believe the last two weeks have been very busy for you, but I'm pleased you seem to be in good form, cheery and ready for a fight.
I wanted to tell you that language rights are very important for us in the Conservative Party of Canada. We're very happy that there was a meeting at the summit that ourleader and the Prime Minister attended and that what emerged was a will to work together on language rights in Ontario.
That being said, this morning we are focusing on the modernization of the Official Languages Act. I have a few direct questions for you, and you have, in a way, addressed them this morning.
Would you be more in favour of establishing an administrative tribunal or giving coercive powers to the federal government's Commissioner of Official Languages?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Chambers and Mr. Thompson, thank you for being here.
Last spring, I read your memoir concerning your proposal for the modernization of the law. I thought it was very good and very comprehensive. You touch upon every aspect of the law.
I would like to know precisely this morning, in terms of making sure that people respect the law—we need to be able to enforce it sometimes—whether you would prefer to do an administrative tribunal or whether you would prefer that the commissioner have coercive powers.
Which option would you prefer?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
For sure, but is there anything you would like to see changed in the commissioner's office?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Senator, thank you for being here this morning. I would also like to thank you for all the work you do on the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages.
You ended with what interests me most this morning: should the Commissioner be given more coercive powers or should an administrative tribunal be established? Considering all the trips you've made and all the testimony you've heard, would you be able to tell us which option is the most favoured or desirable?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
If an administrative tribunal were established, should the powers of the Commissioner remain as they are or could the powers of the Commissioner be increased, despite the existence of this tribunal? Could both options be considered? What is your opinion and the opinion of the witnesses you heard from on this subject?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
You'll still have to provide your opinion. You will understand why. Are there any topics that you think you will not have time to explore in your study and that you could suggest we focus on?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
That's a good list. I am pleased to see that it contains items on which we wanted to focus in particular, especially part VII.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Could you get back to the content of the Official Languages Act? Are there any sections that do not exist and that you would like to see added to the act?
As an example, should the creation of an administrative tribunal be among the top priorities, in your opinion? I think this corresponds to your third recommendation. I felt a lot of opposition all over Canada regarding the idea of having an administrative tribunal. If that option is not possible, what else would you suggest? Why are you more in favour of an administrative tribunal, rather than granting coercive powers to the commissioner?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Good afternoon. We will now resume with the appearance of Mr. Théberge, the nominee for the position of Commissioner of Official Languages.
I would again like to apologize for the technical difficulties that occurred last time.
We received a request from the Bloc Québécois for permission to ask questions at our last meeting. Since we don't have any Bloc Québécois members here today, it will save us a bit of time.
We will, therefore, continue with Mr. Théberge's appearance.
The first minute will go to Mr. Généreux, followed by Mr. Lefebvre. We will go as quickly as we can.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I see that no one else wants to speak.
Mr. Théberge, thank you for appearing before the committee. I wish you good luck and continued courage for the events that you may encounter after this vote.
As for the bilingualism of Supreme Court judges and the coercive power this committee would like to grant you, remember that it is not up to you to determine whether this is practical, that is our job. However, if ever you have this power, what we ask is that you use it.
We will now vote. My colleagues will be voting, but I do not have the right to vote, unfortunately.
(Motion agreed to.)
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)
Okay.
The Standing Committee on Official Languages may soon begin a study on modernizing the Official Languages Act, and we will definitely be bolder than we have been this morning. We recommend giving enforcement powers to the commissioner of official languages, lobbyists and the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner.
When I go door to door in my riding, I spontaneously ask people whether they think that the commissioner of official languages should have enforcement powers to aggressively enforce the Official Languages Act.
Do you think the commissioner should have enforcement powers? So far, he has been just a puppet without any power.
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