Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good morning, Ms. Adam.
I am very pleased that you are here with us today. The last time we saw you was in December, in the middle of a storm, a political storm, not a winter one. We are finally coming out of the winter.
I see that you are still full of will and full of hope. It's more than hope, I feel: you have pointed out a huge number of very interesting solutions.
And yes, the fact that you are here today, still Chair of your board of governors, has been made possible by the two million dollars that the federal government has contributed, and that's great.
You said that you are having ongoing conversations with all levels of government, which includes the government of the province of Ontario, of course. I gather that the Université de l'Ontario français Act, 2017 has not been repealed, I gather.
I would like to know two things.
First, how do provincial authorities see the existence of the UOF?
Second, between December and today, what was your last correspondence with the Government of Ontario? Perhaps there was more. What is it about? Basically, what does it say?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay, I understand. Thank you.
As for your need for a location, I have seen a document that was sent to me, either by you or by the committee analyst. It contained a table. The columns in that table correspond to the criteria that you are looking for in each location.
I notice that two federal properties seem to be quite good matches, up to about 53%.
To this point, have you had discussions with any officials of the Canada Lands Company about the Moss Park Armoury on Queen Street or the parking lot on Queens Quay West?
Have you started any discussions at all?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good morning, colleagues. Good morning, everyone.
Mrs. Roy, Mr. Racine and Mr. Slowey, I am very pleased to see you here this morning.
Madam Deputy Minister, I would like to ask you a very quick first question, because we had a little debate here a few weeks ago and I just want to clarify the situation.
In total, how much money does the action plan involve?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Does that $2.7 billion include the recurring amounts from the Department of Canadian Heritage, to the tune of $1 billion over five years?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes, but does that $2.7 billion include the amount of $1 billion over five years from the Department of Canadian Heritage? I am talking about recurring amounts that have nothing to do with the action plan.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Great. Thank you.
You mentioned a first letter sent by Ms. Joly
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I gathered that you were talking about a letter before the one on January 13.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
What does the second letter say, exactly?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay, that's fine. Thank you, Madam. I will move on.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes, okay. Very good. Thank you.
So we are talking about 50% of the costs. In your introduction, you talked about startup costs. What do you mean by startup costs, exactly?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Do you have any kind of figure in mind?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
So Ms. Joly is committing to 50% of the start-up costs, and nothing more. Is that right?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Right.
We know that 50% of $80 million is $40 million. You are telling me that, if there are costs other than the start-up costs, you would absorb them too, because you would be paying 100% of the costs for the first four years.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
What I am saying is that Ms. Joly is ready to absorb all costs in excess of $40 million in the first four years. Is that right?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
However, you know that the figure is not serious. It is going around in the media. So, following Ms. Joly's very eloquent letter of January 13, did you, as a dedicated senior official—our public service in Canada is very good—initiate any kind of procedure with Ms. Mulroney's deputy ministers in order to get the true data? We do not want to end up with a white elephant.
So, after the letter, did you, personally, make a call, send an email or a letter, or do anything else?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
That is not important. We want to know what you did. You, personally.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Right, that is the usual process. I am not talking about the usual process.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Did they reply by telephone or by email?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Chair, could we ask for some evidence of that? It is very important.
Ms. Roy, if this is true, it is wonderful; you have done good work.
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)
This $84 million concerns what exactly? Are there other expenses?
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)
We have to evaluate the cost because you will, at the final point, be injecting the funds.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Have you evaluated all the costs—all through—of if, for example, we decide to do a positive measure and to give half of the $80 million for the next four years? Could you tell me now, “Mr. Clarke, it's not enough because that does not include, for example, operational costs”? That's what I need to know. The government needs to know.
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