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Results: 1 - 30 of 508
View Marilène Gill Profile
View Marilène Gill Profile
2019-06-18 15:07 [p.29312]
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice said yesterday that Bill 21 violates fundamental rights and individual freedoms and that he would always defend the charter. He was basically saying that he intends to challenge the Government of Quebec's secularism law.
My question is simple. Is the minister going to wait until after the election to challenge Bill 21, for fear of alienating Quebeckers?
View Marilène Gill Profile
View Marilène Gill Profile
2019-06-18 15:08 [p.29312]
Mr. Speaker, the government already dictates what people can and cannot wear. Soldiers, RCMP officers and prison guards all wear uniforms. Male MPs have to wear a tie in order to be recognized in the House of Commons. I do not hear the Minister of Justice objecting to those rules.
What is the real reason that the Minister of Justice wants to challenge a state secularism law that is supported by the people of Quebec?
View Luc Thériault Profile
View Luc Thériault Profile
2019-06-17 14:00 [p.29175]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' immigration policy is a complete failure.
After four years, hundreds of irregular migrants are still crossing the border into Quebec every day. No progress has been made at Roxham Road or in Ottawa on the processing of applications, and the Canada-U.S. safe third country agreement is still in force.
Our farmers are still concerned that they will lose their crops because their temporary foreign workers are not arriving in time. Applications have been stalled for months in Ottawa, and every summer the federal government seems somehow surprised when the problem comes up again.
Ottawa still wants to force Quebec to accept more refugees while it is deporting the Haitian refugees we want to keep. Ottawa is still opposed to requiring newcomers to demonstrate a sufficient knowledge of French before they can become Quebeckers.
The Liberals' record shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that Quebec should handle its own immigration without Ottawa's involvement.
View Marilène Gill Profile
View Marilène Gill Profile
2019-06-17 15:05 [p.29188]
Mr. Speaker, last night Quebec passed its secularism bill. Finally.
Will the Prime Minister now undertake to respect the will of Quebeckers and their National Assembly and neither challenge the new Quebec bill in court nor fund legal challenges?
View Marilène Gill Profile
View Marilène Gill Profile
2019-06-17 15:06 [p.29188]
Mr. Speaker, the chair of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, completely out of touch with Quebeckers, has already dragged out his “it is a sad day for Quebec”. It took less than 24 hours.
Whether he likes it or not, it is a good day for Quebec. This is a great day, and the culmination of over 10 years of debate on secularism in Quebec. The fight is not over, however. We still have to make sure that Ottawa will not drag this matter before the courts.
Will Quebeckers get a solemn commitment that the federal government will respect their will and not challenge this secularism legislation either directly or indirectly?
View Marilène Gill Profile
View Marilène Gill Profile
2019-06-07 12:08 [p.28758]
Madam Speaker, let us talk about another file where the government is neglecting the regions of Quebec: the spruce budworm that is devastating our forests.
The infested area is larger than the entire province of New Brunswick, and yet, the government gave $75 million to New Brunswick and nothing, not one cent, to Quebec. Not surprisingly, the Irvings own part of New Brunswick's forests and have cutting rights to the rest. They are the ones pocketing the money, as usual.
Will the government admit that it is robbing Quebec to line the pockets of its friends at Irving?
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2019-06-04 13:39 [p.28490]
Mr. Speaker, it is time to take a look at the Liberals' record. There are two and a half weeks left in this Parliament. The budget implementation bill that is before us today is the government's last. Anything not contained in that bill will have to wait until after the election. Budget 2019 is consistent with this government's approach of saying one thing and doing the opposite.
First, let us talk about this so-called green government. Since the last election, bitumen extraction in Alberta has skyrocketed. We are talking about an increase of 25%. That is no small thing. Extraction grew even faster than under Stephen Harper. In fact, production has grown so much that it has exceeded transport capacity.
Today, the Liberals and the Conservatives would have us believe that there is a pipeline problem, but that is not the case. There is an overproduction problem, which is not the same thing. To limit overproduction, the government is proposing to support new investments in the oil sands with accelerated capital cost allowance. A total of $2.7 billion in taxpayers' money will be wasted on this tax expenditure.
In one year alone, the government announced $19 billion in new oil investments. The oil industry certainly got the message. If you look at production estimates, it is clear that the industry wants to maintain the level of growth it has seen the past four years. This will result in more overproduction and cause prices to continue their downturn. This is meant to make us believe that more pipelines are inevitable and that we have no choice but to export and pollute more.
The direct consequence of this government's policies is that energy east will be forced back on us. The Liberal government is working to keep us in the 20th century, bogged down in the tar sands.
Mr. Alain Rayes: Where do you get your gas?
Mr. Gabriel Ste-Marie: Mr. Speaker, at my daughter's school there is a big banner saying “zero tolerance for bullying”. The previous Conservative member who spoke accused the Liberals of bullying, and now the member for Victoriaville is hurling epithets and questions at me. There should be zero tolerance for bullying here too. We have a right to speak without being interrupted.
To get back to what I was saying, that is not what we need in Quebec. We have already started to go green. GHG emissions per capita are two and a half times lower in Quebec than in the rest of Canada. A policy for the 21st century is to make polluting expensive and avoiding pollution profitable.
I can already hear the Liberals saying that they created the carbon tax, so let us talk about it. The government imposes a tax, then gives the money back to those who paid it. It is a circle that does not result in any real transfer of wealth from polluters to the good guys. It does not make it profitable to go green. It will not result in a true green shift. It does not entitle anyone to make green speeches. It is merely an image, just like the government has been since it was elected: an image, no more, no less, but definitely no more.
Let us move on. In the lead-up to the budget, the Bloc québécois reached out to Quebeckers, and what we consistently heard was that their main priorities are health and education. There is nothing about that in the budget. Health transfers have been capped at 3% for two years, and yet, health costs in Quebec have risen by 5.2%. You do not need a Nobel prize in mathematics to see that there is a problem. The healthcare system is stretched to its limit, and wait times are getting longer. Something has to give, and everyone knows it.
Everything I have just said about the healthcare system also applies to education. Teachers are as burnt out as nurses. It is the same problem, except that, in this case, transfers were capped at 3% 15 years ago. Health and education are Quebeckers’ two main priorities. There is nothing about that in Bill C-97. The government decided to gradually move away from Quebecker’s priorities. That is abundantly clear in Bill C-97.
Now, let us look at the measures the government has taken to stimulate the economy. Its primary measure involves infrastructure. In and of itself, that is a good thing, but the methods used are another story. By multiplying specific programs, each one with very strict criteria, Ottawa has ruined everything. Federal requirements have caused a tug of war with Quebec and will paralyze the entire process. The result is striking: the money is starting to trickle down just before the election. We had to wait a long time. In the first two years of its term, the government spent $100 per Quebecker and $700 for each Canadian outside Quebec.
We know the federal government is building precious little infrastructure. It owns barely 2% of all public infrastructure, while the provinces and municipalities own 98%. Through federal transfers, the government is financing infrastructure that does not belong to it, that is not within its jurisdiction and that it does not have the means to prioritize intelligently. The government had good intentions, but the whole undertaking has been a monumental failure on the ground.
The money is not flowing. The federal criteria are too rigid and do not meet communities' needs. During the last election campaign, the Liberals promised to transfer blocks of infrastructure funding. They promised to mind their own business and do their job. That is yet another broken promise, and Quebec is paying the price.
As I said, my leader and I have been travelling around a lot listening to Quebeckers. People do not realize how future-focused Quebec is. Quebeckers are creative and innovative. Yesterday's tinkerers are now developing video games, designing new aircraft and working on artificial intelligence. Year after year, Quebec accounts for between 40% and 45% of Canada's tech exports, even though its share of Canada's economy is only half that much.
In metropolitan areas across Quebec, there are at least 5,000 technology startups. I think of it as Silicon Valley North. What is in Bill C-97 for technology? Is it an aerospace policy? No. Is it patient capital to let our technology start-ups develop here in Canada rather than being bought out by U.S. web giants? It is not that either.
However, there is some venture capital to help out the rest of Canada. That is how it is in all areas. When Quebec succeeds, Ottawa is not there. Take supply management, for example. Our regional agriculture lends itself well to local distribution. That is the future. Instead of helping, the government is hurting agriculture. It has signed three trade agreements with three breaches, and not a single penny has been paid to farmers.
We scoured Bill C-97 for the compensation, but it is not there. Our producers were taken for a ride. They will get nothing before the election. That is also the case for Davie. Does Bill C-97 announce a review of its horrible naval strategy? The answer is obviously no.
The same goes for the fight against tax havens. These loopholes allow banks and multi-millionaires to get out of paying taxes. The government needs to act fast, but instead, it has legalized three new tax havens. In my private member's bill, I proposed a working solution to close the loopholes, but, of course, all the Liberals but one voted it down. Like the sheriff of Nottingham, they would rather defend fat cats than low-income workers. The Conservatives also voted against my bill, but at least they were being true to type. Unlike the Liberals, they do not try to dress up as Robin Hood.
View Monique Pauzé Profile
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2019-05-30 13:58 [p.28291]
Mr. Speaker, last weekend, the governing party in the Quebec National Assembly unveiled its plan for reducing Quebec's dependence on oil by 40% by 2030.
Hospitals, schools and public buildings will no longer be heated by oil. The Quebec government is going to have a fleet of electric vehicles. It is taking action. The only thing slowing down Quebec's shift to a green economy and preventing it from taking real climate action is, as always, Ottawa, which wants pipelines at all costs, prioritizes dirty oil and is willing to put wetlands at risk to move its gasoline.
Whether the government is Liberal or Conservative, it amounts to the same thing. It is always the same targets, the same obsession with the oil sands, the same handouts to big oil and the same cozy relationships with oil tycoons.
All the parties in Quebec know that serious action is needed right away. Quebeckers know this, too. Unfortunately, Ottawa still prefers negligence. Is it not time for Ottawa to wake up?
View Monique Pauzé Profile
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2019-05-29 15:12 [p.28225]
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Quebec's National Assembly adopted a unanimous motion noting that all projects involving the transportation of petroleum products must be submitted to the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement, Quebec's environmental hearings board. However, Ottawa does not understand this, because here, the national interest means the interests of oil companies, and that is that.
We keep repeating over and over that Quebec does not want dirty oil pipelines. We do not want them. That seems pretty clear to me.
Will the Prime Minister pledge not to revive any dirty oil pipeline projects in Quebec, yes or no?
View Marilène Gill Profile
View Marilène Gill Profile
2019-05-28 13:58 [p.28136]
Mr. Speaker, the Canadian government's $100-billion shipbuilding strategy is a fiasco. By excluding the largest shipyard, Davie, and dividing the contracts between two shipyards outside Quebec, Ottawa has shot itself in the foot. Almost 10 years later, not one of the ships ordered has been commissioned, all so that Quebec would be excluded from getting contracts.
The Prime Minister himself acknowledged that two shipyards do not have the capacity to meet the needs of the Coast Guard and our armed forces.
What has the government done to fix the Conservatives' $100-billion mistake? It has awarded $16 billion in contracts to the same two shipyards that already have too much work, once again excluding Davie and Quebec.
This scheme is funded by our own taxes. With 50% of production capacity in Canada, Davie deserves its fair share of the contracts, and Quebec will accept nothing less.
View Monique Pauzé Profile
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2019-05-28 15:04 [p.28148]
Mr. Speaker, here is how the government responded to my question yesterday:
With regard to pipelines, especially pipelines that cross provincial borders, it is up to the federal government to do the work.
For Ottawa, doing the work means always saying “yes” to pipelines, every time, no exceptions. In light of the B.C. Court of Appeal ruling, we are worried about the energy east project resurfacing in Quebec.
Will the government promise to never revive the energy east project in Quebec?
View Monique Pauzé Profile
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2019-05-28 15:05 [p.28148]
Mr. Speaker, it is funny how their good projects are always in the industries that pollute the most. Since 1956, Ottawa has always said yes to the oil industry's pipeline requests. The government always says yes and only yes.
Quebec does not want any more pipelines full of dirty oil. Quebec is saying no to energy east, and if Quebec does not want it, then neither does the Bloc.
It is great that the project is not on the table, but the government needs to commit to keeping it that way. Will the Prime Minister commit to never reviving energy east? Will he make that solemn promise today?
View Monique Pauzé Profile
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2019-05-27 15:04 [p.28058]
Mr. Speaker, the B.C. Court of Appeal sided with the federal government. Now Ottawa is free to ram a pipeline down our throats, and there is nothing we can do about it.
It does not matter that British Columbia and Quebec do not want pipelines. It does not matter that residents do not want pipelines. It does not matter that first nations do not want pipelines. Oil companies want pipelines, so Ottawa will build some, and that is that.
Could the Prime Minister pledge not to build any pipelines in Quebec without the approval of the people of Quebec?
View Michel Boudrias Profile
View Michel Boudrias Profile
2019-05-17 12:01 [p.28009]
Mr. Speaker, this week, Quebec got to witness a road show, a piece of political theatre in bad taste about extending Highway 19. The people of Terrebonne are pleased, because this is the good news they have been waiting for for years.
However, it is Quebec that builds highways, not Ottawa. Not one centimetre of road is built in Quebec without the authority and approval of the Government of Quebec.
Why did the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities organize a press conference in our backyard, without Quebec, when there is no real announcement to be made because Quebec has the final say?
Does it have something to do with the election?
View Michel Boudrias Profile
View Michel Boudrias Profile
2019-05-17 12:02 [p.28009]
Mr. Speaker, working for Quebec and in Quebec's best interests means complying with the agreements between this government and Quebec. The agreement on infrastructure makes it clear that Canada's role is limited to contributing financially, period. It will not be involved in the implementation stages. Essentially, according to the agreements, the only two things Ottawa can do with regard to Quebec are sign a cheque and get out of the way. Quebec wants Ottawa to transfer this infrastructure funding as a lump sum, with no strings attached, in accordance with the agreement.
Could the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities stop stirring up artificial quarrels and just cut a cheque instead of putting on a show for the cameras?
View Marilène Gill Profile
View Marilène Gill Profile
2019-05-16 15:08 [p.27954]
Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois submitted a brief on Bill 21 to the National Assembly.
Our message to Quebec's elected officials is simple: Ottawa can hardly wait to use the court challenges program to bankroll a challenge of the secularism bill.
Can the Minister of Justice guarantee that he does not intend to directly or indirectly challenge Quebec's secularism bill?
View Marilène Gill Profile
View Marilène Gill Profile
2019-05-16 15:09 [p.27954]
Mr. Speaker, the answer was not clear.
The Bloc's position is clear. We support the religious neutrality of the Quebec state. We believe that people should give and receive services with their faces uncovered. We support the ban on public workers in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols.
In the meantime, the chair of the justice committee is waiting for Bill 21 to be passed before initiating legal challenges.
Will you respect the will of Quebec and not challenge Quebec's secularism bill, yes or no?
View Louis Plamondon Profile
Mr. Speaker, the Canada-Quebec infrastructure agreement is very clear. Canada's role in infrastructure is to provide funding, and that's it.
Quebec's public transit fund is short $200 million because increased ridership from the outskirts of Montreal was not taken into account.
Rather than making announcements about Quebec highways, which do not fall under the federal government's jurisdiction, will the Minister of Infrastructure instead do his part and give Quebec the $200 million it needs?
View Xavier Barsalou-Duval Profile
Mr. Speaker, if you seek it I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: That, in the opinion of this House, the government should (a) respect the Canada-Quebec infrastructure agreement, which states that Canada's role in any project is limited to making a financial contribution, and that it will have no involvement in the implementation or operation; (b) refrain from unilaterally calling press conferences on infrastructure projects in Quebec without having any announcements to make.
View Mario Beaulieu Profile
View Mario Beaulieu Profile
2019-05-13 11:04 [p.27657]
moved that Bill C-421, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (adequate knowledge of French in Quebec), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I introduced a very simple bill with a clear objective, and that is to enable newcomers who want to become citizens and reside in Quebec to integrate into their host society.
In order to integrate, newcomers must be able to communicate with members of their host society. In Quebec, the common language is French. The purpose of the Charter of the French Language is to make French the official and common language of Quebec.
As a result, newcomers must learn French in order to integrate into Quebec society. This matter is in keeping with the commitments of the current Quebec government and enjoys a broad consensus in Quebec. According to a recent survey, 73% of Quebeckers believe that a basic knowledge of French should be mandatory in order to live in Quebec and 84% believe that newcomers should be required to take French classes.
In 2017, the Auditor General released a report in which she concluded that efforts to encourage immigrants to learn and use French had failed. Under Canadian law, knowledge of one official language, either English or French, is required for citizenship. The Bloc Québécois introduced Bill C-421 to make knowledge of French mandatory in Quebec.
That is no more coercive that what is already in place: knowledge of one of the two official languages is mandatory for obtaining Canadian citizenship. Many members of the Council of Europe require knowledge of the adopted homeland's language either as a condition of entry, to obtain permanent residence or to become a naturalized citizen, yet the federal Liberals seem to find the idea unacceptable and inconceivable.
When Bill C-421 was presented to the subcommittee on private members' business, the members declared that it was unconstitutional and therefore non-votable. We appealed the decision, but because they have a majority, they refused to budge even though the law clerk and several members of other parties disagreed.
An extremely rare secret vote was held to save Canadian parliamentarians the trouble of publicly stating their position on this issue of importance to Quebeckers. Democracy was hijacked, and the people need to know.
The Premier of Quebec said:
We would want newcomers to pass a French test before getting their permanent resident status or citizenship. That is what the Bloc wanted. I think it is unfortunate that the debate is not being allowed to move forward with legislation.
Bill C-421 will not be voted on, but we have not been given much time to present it, so I will focus on the substance of the debate, rather than on the constitutionality of the bill.
As I alluded to earlier, Quebec's blueprint for linguistic development, as defined by the Charter of the French Language, also known as Bill 101, is meant to establish French as the official and common language of Quebec. This approach is based on collective territorial rights. As the common public language, French in Quebec should not only be the language used by francophones when speaking to one another, it should also be the language used in inter-linguistic communications, the language spoken between people with different mother tongues.
Making French the common language is essential for integrating newcomers into Quebec society and ensuring the future of French in Quebec and in North America.
When the language of the majority is the official language and the common public language, newcomers naturally tend to learn and use that language in order to participate fully in their host society. That is what happens in many western countries.
Research on language development models around the world shows that this approach is the only one that is able to prevent the assimilation of minority languages in countries with several national languages. The only countries that have multiple national languages and no assimilation are those that use language management models based on the principle of collective territorial rights, like Belgium or Switzerland.
For instance, in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, the only official language, the language in which public services are provided from kindergarten to university, is Dutch. For newcomers, learning Dutch is compulsory.
The same thing goes for French in Wallonia, and people there can still learn any number of second languages. The fact that French is the common language in Quebec seems to be unacceptable or even unthinkable to varying degrees for all the national parties. We saw how the member for Honoré-Mercier completely overreacted. For him, making knowledge of French a requirement for citizenship is the same as segregating people based on colour.
The Liberal member for Laurentides—Labelle, a staunch defender of “hello, bonjour”, and the Liberal member for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles gave some examples of people in Quebec who do not speak French, adding that it would have been unacceptable for those people to be forced to move to Ontario for not passing the French test. They do not seem to agree that learning and using French could be considered a tool for integrating into Quebec society.
A Conservative member of the Standing Committee on Official Languages said that if a condition were created requiring people to speak basic French, the anglophone minority community in Quebec would have a much harder time surviving within our province.
The Canadian model, defined by the Official Languages Act, is based on fundamental principles that differ from the Quebec model and its approaches that recognize territorial collective rights. For one thing, the Official Languages Act excludes Quebeckers as an integral part of Canada's francophone minority. The act governs official language minorities designated by province. In that sense, Quebec anglophones are considered a minority just as much as francophone and Acadian communities, when in fact, they are part Canada's anglophone majority, as was even confirmed by the UN Human Rights Committee.
The best example is that the federal government and the predominantly English speaking provinces have no problem weakening Quebec's legislation, including by imposing a Constitution in 1982 against the will of the Government of Quebec, a Constitution under which the Charter of the French Language was weakened in every key area of application. As a result of the principle of linguistic minorities per province, Quebec's anglophones, who already anglicize five times the number of new citizens than their demographic weight, receive steady support to promote more services in English not just for anglophones, but for everyone, including allophones and francophones.
The official languages program allocates more than $75 million a year in support of anglophone communities in Quebec, including lobby groups such as the Quebec Community Groups Network, alias Alliance Québec, which successfully led a legal battle to restore institutional bilingualism. The other major founding principle of Canada's official languages legislation is a bilingualism policy for federal institutions based on the linguistic rights of individuals across Canada.
As soon as Bill C-421 was introduced, former official languages commissioner Graham Fraser stepped in. In his opinion, requiring adequate knowledge of French would contravene the Official Languages Act, as it would supposedly prevent individuals from communicating with the government in the language of their choice. Even though some members openly stated that the bill was votable, no member in the House openly supported the bill.
Whether the bill is constitutional or not, the crux of the problem is that most of the federalist members in this place do not accept that French is the common language in Quebec, the language of convergence, the language of interlinguistic communication. This implies that people can communicate with the government in the language of their choice and that English and French have equal status and privileges with respect to their use in the institutions of Parliament and the Government of Canada. That is the foundation of the Official Languages Act. French cannot be the common language, the official language, the language of convergence in Quebec, but there must be two common languages. Some researchers, for example Jacques Leclerc and Marc Termote, have noted that equal rights granted to unequal groups inevitably lead to inequitable results.
In some way, it is as if there were no laws to protect workers or the environment. It would leave it up to market forces to decide.
Marc Termote said:
Most countries abide by what is known in linguistics as the "law of the land" whereby for every given territory, only one language is used in the public sphere....
However, in some Anglo-Saxon countries, such as Canada and therefore Quebec, individual rights prevail over societal rights in many instances...individual freedom to choose does not mean that the individual's choice will not be influenced by external factors. For Quebec, being the last majority French-speaking society in North America and a tiny minority "surrounded" by 300 million English speakers is certainly not a minor factor. Additionally, free choice paves the way for a fair balance of power.
As Lacordaire said, “Between the strong and the weak, between the rich and the poor, [we could say ‘between the English-speaking majority and the minority’] it is freedom which oppresses and the law which sets free”.
This explains why across just about all of Canada, outside Quebec, nearly all language transfers for allophones happen in English. If you go to Toronto or Ottawa, you quickly see that it is difficult to function without speaking English.
However, in Quebec, the majority of newcomers settle in Montreal, where all services are accessible in English at all levels of government. Since English is the majority language in Canada and even more so in North America, there is a natural tendency to use English.
In addition, access to the official languages in federal institutions is not equal. By design, services are provided in French where numbers warrant. As we saw once again in the report from the Commissioner of Official Languages, even when the numbers warrant, services are not always offered in French.
Fifty years ago, before the Official Languages Act, francophone and Acadian communities had suffered through assimilation policies in all of the provinces that are now primarily anglophone. For them, bilingualism was a huge step forward in accessing the public services in French that were severely lacking after being prohibited for years.
The “where numbers warrant” principle means that, if the number of French speakers in a region decreases, fewer services are offered. In some way, it is as if the government were to reduce EI benefits or job creation measures in an area that is prone to unemployment. This way of doing things officially misrepresents Canada's language situation.
Francophones are therefore strongly encouraged to increase their numbers if they want even basic services in French. However, it would be much more logical to change the “where numbers warrant” criterion rather than misrepresenting the language situation, as the government has been doing for the 50 years that the Official Languages Act has been in force.
In the beginning, intergenerational language transfers were measured using mother tongue as an indicator. When the decline in mother tongue became too pronounced, the indicator was changed to language used at home and then to first official language spoken. Today, the government is coming up with new indicators to inflate the number of francophones and justifying that action by saying that it is going to offer more French services to official language minorities. That does not make any sense.
A study on language planning around the world showed that an approach based on institutional bilingualism and portable individual rights is unable to counter the assimilation of minority languages. That has been proven over the 50 years that the Official Languages Act has been in force. During that time, the assimilation of francophones has increased with every census.
In short, the Canadian language planning model runs counter to Quebec's model. Most MPs and all of the parties in Parliament support the Canadian model rather than the Quebec model.
As Jacques Leclerc, an expert who worked on the language planning study, said:
As soon as the demands of the francophone province of Quebec offend the sensibilities of the anglophone majority, they are denied. Discussions then become pointless and come to a standstill.... Under the current regime, Quebec is always democratically penalized and cannot impose anything on the majority across Canada.
View Monique Pauzé Profile
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2019-05-13 11:37 [p.27661]
Mr. Speaker, my speech will focus on three important things: the situation of French in Quebec, the important role French plays in social cohesion, and parliamentary democracy as it applied to Bill C-421.
What was the most important news about the language issue in Quebec in recent years? It was the record drop in the demographic weight of French speakers and the unprecedented rise in the demographic weight of English speakers.
English is not threatened in Quebec; French is. We are not the ones saying that. It is Statistics Canada, and it cannot be said that Statistics Canada is an organization that supports Quebec nationalism.
Here is what is being said:
The Language Projections for Canada, 2011 to 2036...indicate that, if the demographic conditions observed since 2011 continue, the balance between French and English in Quebec will continue to quickly tip in favour of the latter. According to those same projections, between 2011 and 2036, the weight of French-home-language speakers is expected to drop by approximately seven percentage points, while that of English-home-language speakers is expected to rise by two percentage points.
On the 40th anniversary of Bill 101, Guy Rocher, a sociologist, professor and renowned speaker, quoted some figures from Statistics Canada, as well. These figures relate to the census, which showed that French is declining in Quebec, as a mother tongue, language of work and language spoken at home. This has become a language crisis. We cannot keep turning a blind eye, because we now have figures showing how bad it is. Once again, I remind members that Statistics Canada as an organization is not very supportive of Quebec nationalism or independence.
The situation is critical. Play time is over and now is the time to act. French is under threat in Quebec. I am not fearmongering here. I am simply stating the facts, and everything that can be done to protect the French language must be done. This is what my colleague's bill was designed to do.
Here is another quote from Statistics Canada that demonstrates how important the French language is to social cohesion:
The ability of immigrants to speak one of the official languages is considered an important condition for their full participation in Canadian society.
That is what Statistics Canada says about Canada, and rather emphatically at that. It seems to me that what is good for the goose should be good for the gander. French in Quebec should also get special consideration.
The government is trying to brainwash us into believing that the battle for French is won and that we no longer need to worry our pretty little heads about it. The fact remains, though, that mastering French is less beneficial to immigrants than mastering English. There are social reasons for all that, of course. There are unilingual English brand names and the Internet. Information and communications technology has exploded in recent decades, and with it the use of English at the expense of every other language in the world.
The Government of Quebec also has its own unique problems, such as the language of administration, which is often English; the sign law, which is often disregarded; and challenges related to officially bilingual municipalities. Those are all consequences of the many attacks on Bill 101, our language charter.
Knowledge of French is fundamental to successful integration and access to employment. Knowledge of French is fundamental to strong social cohesion.
Marina Doucerain, a researcher in the area of immigration psychology, has done studies on this. She has indicated that all studies of immigrants in the greater Montreal area that she has been involved in have been unequivocal. It is very clear that the majority of participants, whether they come from the Maghreb region, Russia or elsewhere, want to make Quebecois friends and integrate into the majority culture, which means they must learn French. However, the francization and cultural integration of immigrants remain problematic.
Let us now look at what happened here, in the House of Commons, with my colleague's bill. The exceptional procedure applied to the bill introduced by my colleague from La Pointe-de-l'Île prevents the bill from even being voted on in a recorded division. This is basically just another attempt to relegate the Quebec nation to a minority status just like every other ethnic minority in Canada.
Canadians, who are still 100% behind Pierre Trudeau's charter, will not stop until there is linguistic free trade from coast to coast to coast.
In closing, what we want is for French, the common language of Quebec, to have the chance to counterbalance English, the common language of Canada, the United States, and globalization because our distinctness is important to us.
I will take a few moments to read a motion that was moved at the end of November 1995 by Mr. Jean Chrétien, who was prime minister at the time.
The motion moved:
Whereas the People of Quebec have expressed the desire for recognition of Quebec's distinct society;
(1) the House recognize that Quebec is a distinct society within Canada;
(2) the House recognize that Quebec's distinct society includes its French-speaking majority, unique culture and civil law tradition;
(3) the House undertake to be guided by this reality;
(4) the House encourage all components of the legislative and executive branches of government to take note of this recognition and be guided in their conduct accordingly.
In his argument, the former prime minister said:
The purpose of the motion we are debating today is to have the elected representatives of Canada recognize that Quebec is a distinct society within Canada. As a Quebecker and a francophone [we know that Mr. Chrétien is a Quebecker and a francophone, of course], I understand and share the desire of my fellow Quebeckers to have our difference recognized.
Today I call on Canadians who demonstrated their attachment to Quebec during the referendum campaign to support our government's initiative to recognize Quebec explicitly as a distinct society.
This was adopted on December 11, 1995. Is the quiet nationalism mentioned by the member from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert possible in this country? It would seem it is not. This motion should have been applied to Bill C-421, but it was not.
Federalists are upset by our desire to have our own nation, a nation that proclaims loud and clear our pride in speaking French, and to give it the tools needed to keep our language alive. It also bothers them that we want to base our identity on the common values that bring us together and unite us. “The moment Quebec stands up for itself, federalists become outraged.” These words were spoken by my colleague, the member for La Pointe-de-l'Île. He said them in 2015, and we fully endorse them.
View Louis Plamondon Profile
Mr. Speaker, we all want to rise to defend the French fact in Quebec. We all want to propose solutions to ensure that this beautiful language remains a living language.
Contrary to what the previous speaker said, the use of French is declining in Quebec. Our language is at risk. We are not saying that immigrants are bad people. However, the conditions for welcoming them do not currently include the obligation to learn French. That is what my colleague's bill is proposing.
Naturally, we agree with protecting francophone minorities outside Quebec, and the government should take action on many fronts in that regard. However when we compare this to what is provided to the anglophone minority in Quebec, we are completely off course.
I did a little experiment. I went to Crescent Street in Montreal. I went into six restaurants and I was first greeted in English at each one. When I spoke French, they spoke to me in French. English is far from being at risk in Quebec.
There are two major hospitals in Quebec, each with a $2-billion price tag. One is French and the other is English. In Montreal, there are more English than French movie theatres, and there are more English publications than French ones.
We polled immigrants, who make up 50% of Montreal's population. According to the poll, most believe that francophones only make up 25% of Quebec's population. They are not aware of the French reality. That is why we must establish mandatory measures to ensure they learn French, integrate into the francophone majority and ensure the survival of French in Quebec.
Bill C-421 does that. It is a very moderate bill. It would inevitably be accepted by immigrants if they knew before arriving in Quebec that they had to comply.
My colleague, who also wants to address this bill, will speak for the two minutes remaining.
View Marilène Gill Profile
View Marilène Gill Profile
2019-05-13 11:54 [p.27663]
Mr. Speaker, I do not want to repeat what my Bloc Québécois colleagues have already said, but in light of what has been said, I would like to look at the subject from another angle, with concrete examples.
I would remind members that the comments made by my colleague from Winnipeg North did not exactly respond to what we were saying. Perhaps some of what we said was misunderstood, misinterpreted or misconstrued, for when we talk about the minority, as my colleague from Bécancour—Nicolet—Saurel said, Quebec is already a minority within North America. That is what my colleague from La Pointe-de-l'Île noted earlier. The threat to the French language is concrete and real.
I said I would give the House a concrete example. I am the member for Manicouagan. The riding of Manicouagan is located in eastern Quebec, bordering Newfoundland and Labrador and the Maritimes. There are, of course, immigrants in my region, although sometimes people think that immigrants would not want to settle on the North Shore, an administrative region of 350,000 kilometres that is often thought to have nothing but spruce trees, snow and whales. People do live there. People have settled in Sept-Îles, Havre-Saint-Pierre, Baie-Comeau and Haute-Côte-Nord, for example. They are settling in lots of places. These immigrants do not speak either French or English as their primary language, but they choose to settle there and learn the language. I see them as success stories. These people are welcomed by the community, which is happy to teach them French, the language they need to know in order to live in those regions, where English is nearly non-existent. Anglophones make up only about 1% of the population, with the exception of the lower north shore, where the proportion of anglophones is a little higher.
Those are excellent positive examples of people who go to school in French, work in French and receive all their services in French. That is what enables people on the North Shore to live their lives in French and play an active role in society. Just like the rest of Quebec, Manicouagan has programs designed to help immigrants integrate. Language is the doorway to culture, as my colleague from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert said earlier. By learning the language, which is the best way to learn about culture, newcomers can play a full and active role in the community.
I know that because, having taught literature at university, at CEGEP and in a bunch of other places, I have seen it. Having access to a body of literature connects people to history, sociology, the arts, music and more. People who can access the language rapidly also become part of the community very rapidly. That is what we want for everyone. That is what I would want for myself if I were to move to another country. I would want access to everything that country had to offer—for newcomers, that means everything the Quebec nation has to offer—and that is really the purpose of the bill introduced by my colleague from La Pointe-de-l'Île.
In conclusion, I wish we could debate this bill in the House. Beyond the issue of language rights, which the bill introduced by my colleague from La Pointe-de-l'Île defends, this is an exercise in democracy that demonstrates to me the contempt—I do not want to put it that way, but it is what first came to mind—that my fellow MPs and also my colleagues from Quebec have for the French language issue.
I mentioned contempt, but I believe that transparency is also lacking in this process. In fact, since elected officials are accountable to voters, I wish they could rise in the House to indicate whether they support or oppose this bill, which is a bill for all Quebeckers.
Montreal was mentioned quite a bit. Montreal may simply be a symptom of what is not working in terms of the French language, because we must protect it.
View Mario Beaulieu Profile
View Mario Beaulieu Profile
2019-05-13 11:59 [p.27664]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert.
What happened today is another black mark on Parliament. Today, on May 13, 2019, the House of Commons of Canada behaved as if it were the House of Commons of English Canada.
It decided that taking steps to integrate immigrants into French Quebec was unconstitutional despite the well-known fact that the integration and inclusion of newcomers is critical if we want to continue to live and thrive in French. The member from Honoré-Mercier and others said that making French the common language is socially divisive when, in fact, the opposite is true. Making French the common language allows us to include everyone and build a coherent and inclusive society so that everyone can fully participate in Quebec society.
The Canadian model of institutional bilingualism does not work. We know this. Over 85% of newcomers in Quebec live in Montreal. In Montreal, all services are provided in English, upon request, or, in the federal government, by default. Newcomers come to Canada, where the majority speaks English. They come to North America, where an even greater majority speaks English. As a result, they are naturally inclined to choose English.
That is why Bill 101 sought to make French the language of the government, with exceptional measures to allow anglophones in Quebec to continue to thrive and live in Quebec. We did not want a repeat of what happened to francophone and Acadian communities outside Quebec. They were prohibited from having French-language schools. For years, French was completely banned from institutions.
Now that the Official Languages Act has been implemented, we must move on to another stage. The House of Commons is demonstrating that it is impossible to do that in Canada.
I thought that getting my bill passed would be difficult but still possible. It is not being given a chance. The most shocking thing is that, despite the opinion of Parliament's legal counsel, the bill was deemed unconstitutional. The truth does not matter, what matters is that the majority can impose its will, like it imposed the Constitution in 1982. It was the Constitution of English Canada and we never signed on to it. Today, the Liberal MPs are hiding behind the Constitution, and it seems there are not too many Conservatives who are interested in this.
We built an original society in Quebec. By rejecting my bill as non-votable and refusing to discuss it seriously, the House of Commons is showing its true colours. Hon. members are sending us a very clear message today. They are telling us that French Quebec is unconstitutional. They are telling us to stop striving for it because it is unconstitutional, illegal and impossible, and it is time to move on to something else. They are saying that if we really want a French Quebec, we should do that by leaving Canada.
I got the message loud and clear, and I hope that more and more Quebeckers will too. The only option, the only way forward for French, is independence for Quebec.
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2019-05-09 15:05 [p.27592]
Mr. Speaker, it has gotten to the point where Premier Legault has to think about scaling down and delaying the Quebec City tramway project because the federal government is not pulling its weight. The project is $800 million short. The money is there, but the government refuses to hand it over to Quebec without conditions. This problem could be solved tomorrow morning.
Will Ottawa get out of the way, let Quebec manage funds from the integrated bilateral agreement based on its needs and contribute fully to the Quebec City tramway?
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2019-05-09 15:06 [p.27592]
Mr. Speaker, could the government transfer the funds with no strings attached and do the same for other programs?
What we are hearing is that the $800 million has to come out of the green infrastructure fund, meaning that all of Quebec's municipal green programs would have to be scrapped to make way for the Quebec City tramway. We should not have to choose between sacrificing our regions or sacrificing our national capital. We can carry out all of these projects if the money is transferred in a lump sum.
Tax revenues are supposed to be used to serve our needs, not to serve programs.
Will the government let Quebec handle infrastructure dollars without imposing conditions?
View Mario Beaulieu Profile
View Mario Beaulieu Profile
2019-05-07 15:04 [p.27484]
Mr. Speaker, management of the migrant crisis has been a disaster, as the Auditor General has shown. Criminal background checks are inadequate. There is departmental overlap. Two-thirds of the hearings are postponed indefinitely.
If Ottawa stays asleep at the switch, it will take five years for asylum seekers to find out whether they can stay in Quebec or not. The system is broken.
When will the Liberal government finally wake up?
View Mario Beaulieu Profile
View Mario Beaulieu Profile
2019-05-07 15:05 [p.27484]
Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, things are not improving. The situation is getting worse.
It his inhumane to make asylum seekers wait for years to find out whether they can stay in Quebec. People are going to end up starting a family and laying down roots only to be deported in five years.
Who is going to pay for all this during those five years? Quebec will end up footing the bill for housing, health care, education, and social assistance.
Will the Liberal government reimburse Quebec for the $300 million it has already spent and will it ensure that claims are processed in a timely fashion?
View Monique Pauzé Profile
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2019-05-02 13:59 [p.27293]
Mr. Speaker, we have long suspected, and now we know, that the oil companies are driving the Conservative agenda.
Last month, the Conservative Party leader met in private with senior executives from the dirty oil industry. Any chance they were meeting to develop the Conservatives' mystery plan to fight climate change?
Not at all; they met in secret to develop a strategy to win the election and run the energy east pipeline through our province, our farmland and our waterways. Quebeckers take on all the risk while Calgary's billionaires get to enjoy all the benefits.
The first step in getting the dirty oil pipeline is to get the money flowing. It just so happens that in the last quarter, the Conservatives raised $8 million in generous contributions.
The closer they get to the oil companies, the richer they become. That is how the Conservatives operate. They work for the oil companies and against Quebec. We all know Quebeckers deserve better.
View Michel Boudrias Profile
View Michel Boudrias Profile
2019-05-02 15:09 [p.27305]
Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his answer.
So far, the Government of Quebec has given the Canadian Red Cross $1 million to directly help the victims with their basic needs. I am still talking about the floods since that is the issue at hand. The Government of Quebec gave $1 million without delay.
We are calling on the federal government to do the same today. That would directly, tangibly, and immediately help those who are in great need, the people on the ground.
If Ottawa can find $12 million to help Loblaws, then surely it could find $1 million somewhere in the budget.
Can the minister commit to matching Quebec's donation to the Red Cross?
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