Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Hello, Mr. MacKinnon, Parliamentary Secretary, and all the senior public servants who are with us today.
I am very pleased to receive you. We have been waiting for your attendance for several months. That is not a criticism at all; I know that you have a busy agenda. I am pleased to have you here.
Mr. MacKinnon, I will ask you questions today about the report from the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages in May 2017, which recommended that your department act as soon as possible regarding Francophone schools in Vancouver.
You say that, in July 2017, you implemented a new procedure. As I understand it, following the zoning change approved by the municipality, the project can move ahead. Can we understand that this is almost complete?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
When we Committee members visited Vancouver a year and a half ago, we adopted a unanimous motion to give moral and political support to the Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique.
If I called the members of the CSF today, are you sure that they would say that everythign is going well, that the matter is progressing and that they are convinced that the project will go ahead?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
On page 6, under "Positive Measures", you refer to the implementation of a new procedure.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Could you give some more information on the new procedure that you allowed you to advance the project in Vancouver?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. McBain.
Mr. MacKinnon, I will nevertheless ask you a question, given that you are the political stakeholder in this matter.
I know that, like Mr. McBain said, there are several stakeholders, particularly the municipalities and school boards, and that we need to work together. What the Committee understands is that according to the provisions governing real estate companies, there is a hierarchy that must be respected when disposing of a property. I checked this and, based on the latest news, your department does not place official-language minority communities at the top of the hierarchy.
Beyond that cooperation, wouldn't it be commendable and even necessary to raise the position of OLMCs on that list so that they are nearly at the top?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
However, official-language minority communities have not been officially placed higher in the hierarchy as provided by the Act.
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)
Mr. Déry, I have a question further to that of Mr. Samson.
Do you personally think the departments should be required to use your bureau's services?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I see.
Thank you, Mr. Déry.
Madame Sultan, you explained quite clearly the difference between the disposal as routine or strategic, which is the third step in the disposal process.
Is step 4, which emphasizes aboriginal consultation, routine disposal or strategic disposal?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes, because it seems to me that routine and strategic are part of steps 3, 4, and 5, kind of.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
It's the Société canadienne d'hypothèques et de logement, or SCHL.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
That's really important for the committee.
So does priority go back to the party that responds first?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes and no, because I'm not entirely certain I clearly understand.
If the determination as to whether it's a routine or strategic disposal is made before the aboriginal consultation, what's the point of the aboriginal consultation?
For example, let's say the disposal is routine or strategic and that a lot of people have expressed interest.
You're at the disposal determination step, and everyone is interested, whether it be crown corporations, provinces or municipalities. Two weeks later, you get a call from an aboriginal community.
Will it have priority over all the other parties that have already expressed interest?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes, but Mrs. Levesque said there was a kind of immediate synergy between step 3 and step 5.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Which of the two takes precedence?
Is it interest-based or rights-based?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Dear colleagues and citizens, here's the notice I submitted last Thursday:
That the Committee call on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to reverse its decision, effective April 1, 2019, to end unilingual francophone training at its academy, Depot Division in Saskatchewan.
I would like to say that there's no particular intent behind this motion. I was somewhat troubled when I saw it. In fact, it really made me angry. I thought that, if the committee unanimously agreed to this motion, that would send a strong signal. I even hoped that the present Government of Canada would find this decision clearly made no sense. I think it's a non-partisan issue.
I sought an outside professional opinion on Canadian law. Those people told me that the RCMP probably had budget considerations. In its own view, it may feel they are legitimate—I know that budget issues are not always easy for the RCMP—but our duty isn't to consider the RCMP's concerns regarding budgets or other matters. Our duty is to determine whether this decision contradicts the spirit or letter of the Official Languages Act, which, according to the opinion I have received, is the case.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Fraser, thank you for being here today and meeting with the committee on your own personal time.
We all know how deep your knowledge of the Official Languages Act runs, on both a theoretical and a practical level.
Since you talked about the Gascon decision and the fact that the federal government is appealing the decision, I'd like to keep that momentum going.
You know as well as we do that the FCFA—
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes, of course. Thank you.
You're aware that the FCFA is calling for stronger language in the modernized act, mainly, that the word “may” be replaced by the word “shall”—in English—and that the word “peut” be replaced by the word “doit”—in French.
Do you think that change in terminology should be applied to part VII as well?
If so, how would it impact the division of powers under the Constitution?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
You're talking about regulations to enforce part VII, just as part IV has regulations, are you not?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
As far as the other parts of the act are concerned, do you think changing the terminology from “may” to “shall” is appropriate?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I have a second question, Mr. Fraser.
Where do you stand on the idea of an administrative tribunal empowered to deal solely with official languages complaints? Do you think it's a good idea?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I would like to present a notice of motion. It is a notice of motion, because I have decided to change the motion I introduced 48 hours ago. We can debate it at our next meeting, next Tuesday.
It reads as follows:
That the Committee call on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to reverse its decision, effective April 1, 2019, to end unilingual francophone training at its academy, Depot Division in Saskatchewan.
I hereby give notice of this motion.
I will use these final seconds to thank you for appearing today, Mr. Fraser. Thank you also for the excellent work you have done and are certainly going to continue to do for the benefit of the Canadian duality.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Ms. Pelletier, good afternoon, and thank you for joining us today.
I invited you because I wanted to hear from an expert. You are one because you are the head of the Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada.
I want to make sure that I fully understood. You said earlier that there are from three to 100 members. Is that in your service or in each of the tribunals?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I am sure you understand that we invited you here because we are studying the possibility of an administrative tribunal devoted exclusively to the official languages.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
How many member judges would an official languages tribunal require, in your opinion, based on an equivalent tribunal?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Since the mandate does not exist in this case, it is very difficult for you to give us any figures.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I understand, and you're really not committed to anything today. That being said, could you give us an idea of the size?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you very much, Ms. Pelletier.
I will now venture into an area with which I am not very familiar: direct access and indirect access. Would the Commissioner of Official Languages give the green light or determine that an individual may apply directly to the tribunal? How do things work on the human rights side?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
My understanding is that some administrative tribunals are not under your supervision. In fact, the word “supervision” is probably not the proper word, since your role is essentially one of support. In short, I would like to know why those tribunals are not your responsibility.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
If an administrative tribunal were to be created within the next few months, what would you advise the government? As the present leader, would you advise the government to include the tribunal in your organization?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Without further ado, I now call the meeting to order.
Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(f), we are continuing our study on the modernization of the Official Languages Act.
With honour and enthusiasm, we welcome today representatives of French for the Future and Canadian Parents for French.
I'd like to begin by apologizing, on behalf of the committee, for the vote that will soon be called. We will nevertheless have time to hear from both organizations, who will each have seven minutes for their presentation. Afterwards, we should be able to accommodate two or three rounds of questions.
At around 10 after 12, the bells will ring for a vote, and we will need unanimous consent from committee members to extend the meeting a bit longer or come back after the vote. At that point, we can talk about how we wish to proceed.
I'd like to thank all four witnesses, who travelled to be here today. It's very much appreciated. We'll have the representatives from French for the Future start us off.
Over to you, Mr. Boudreau.
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)
Hello, dear colleagues, and welcome to the witnesses who are here with us this morning.
As you know, there are votes scheduled and we have to resolve some technical issues.
Mr. Tremblay, Ms. O'Donnell, I'm sorry for the inconvenience. I need a quick response from my committee colleagues.
We have two choices. We can give Mr. Tremblay 10 minutes since he is first on the list and then give Ms. O'Donnell 10 minutes when we get back or we could give the witnesses five minutes each right now. I don't want to use 20 minutes because that will leave us only 10 minutes to get to the House of Commons, which may not be enough time for some people. It is not a matter of privilege. I just want to make sure everyone gets there on time.
How would you like to proceed?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Ms. O'Donnell, are you free from noon until 1 p.m.?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you very much.
We are continuing our study on the modernization of the Official Languages Act, pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(f). Today, we are pleased to welcome Michel Tremblay, the general director of the Société Santé en français or SSF and, by video conference from Montreal, Lorraine O'Donnell, coordinator-researcher for the Quebec English-Speaking Communities Research Network at Concordia University.
Before we move on, I would like to know whether we have unanimous consent to proceed in the manner on which we just agreed.
Yes? Thank you.
Mr. Tremblay, the time is yours.
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?
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