Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-30 11:03
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We are going to start meeting 147, which is being televised today.
We have the honour of having Raymond Théberge, the Commissioner of Official Languages, with us today.
Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(f), we are studying the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Official Languages 2018-19, referred to the committee on May 9, 2019.
To give some context to today's meeting for everyone watching, I would like to point out that the act provides for the presentation of an annual report by the Commissioner of Official Languages. This has been the case since 1969, if I'm not mistaken. The committee's conventions and traditions provide that we shall promptly receive the Commissioner each time so that he can submit his report directly.
Mr. Commissioner, you will have 10 minutes, as is customary, to make your opening remarks. Then, according to the committee's procedure, we will have a one-hour roundtable discussion.
Thank you to you and your team for being here today, including Ms. Giguère, Assistant Commissioner, and Ms. Saikaley.
Go ahead, Mr. Commissioner. We are listening.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-30 11:12
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Mr. Commissioner, thank you for your opening remarks and your annual report. I think this is your second report since you've been in the position. It's a captivating report, and I am sure that my colleagues will have some interesting questions for you.
I will take this opportunity to welcome Mr. Ouellette to the largest House of Commons committee. In fact, this is where national unity is played out from day to day.
Thank you for being here, sir.
We'll start with our questions. Mrs. Boucher, you have the floor.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-30 11:17
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You have 50 seconds left.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-30 11:18
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Thank you very much, Mrs. Boucher.
I'll now give the floor to Ms. Lambropoulos.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-30 11:24
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You have one minute left, Ms. Lambropoulos.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-30 11:25
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Thank you, Commissioner.
We'll now go to Mr. Choquette, from the entrepreneurial region of Drummondville.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-30 11:31
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You have 15 seconds, Mr. Choquette.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-30 11:31
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
We now go to Mr. Arseneault.
You have six minutes.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-30 11:36
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You have two minutes left, Mr. Arseneault.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-30 11:38
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Thank you, Commissioner.
I would like to welcome Mr. Long to this committee. Thank you for joining us today.
The floor now goes to Mr. Samson.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-30 11:44
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They are in fourth place.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-30 11:44
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A 20-second answer, if you please.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-30 11:44
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Thank you, Mr. Samson.
We now move to Mr. Gourde, who has the floor for six.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-30 11:50
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Thank you, Mr. Gourde.
Mr. Ouellette, the floor is yours for six minutes.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-30 11:57
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Thank you, Commissioner.
For the last person questioning,
Mrs. Boucher, you have four minutes.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-30 11:59
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Have you finished?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-30 11:59
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You have one minute.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-30 12:00
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Thank you, Mrs. Boucher.
Mr. Choquette has honourably given up his three minutes.
Commissioner, I have two questions for you, and I am sure that Mr. Samson will be happy to hear the first one.
I would like to talk about bilingualism for the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada. I do not think I am mistaken in saying that all members of this committee would like to see the legislation change so that the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada must be bilingual. After all, we all voted in favour of Mr. Choquette's commendable bill.
I have a special request for you, which goes beyond the work of this committee. We only have three weeks left, but you have at least six years.
At the moment, there is a serious problem. Some lawyers from the Department of Justice claim to be constitutional experts, and some really are. Let me throw this idea at you, although I do not know whether you have the authority to do it. They do not work for nothing, but would you be able to employ some constitutional experts to help you to write a legal text, a solid, well-supported counter-argument in opposition to the legal minds in the Department of Justice? That is a text that we could use in the future.
We need you. As members of Parliament, we do not have the resources we need to employ eminent constitutional scholars, but your office does. You have a substantial budget. Would it be worthwhile to prepare a constitutional argument in support of Mr. Choquette's motion?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-30 12:02
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At the moment, there is no counter-argument, and that is the problem.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-30 12:02
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Consider it, please. We need your help on this.
Finally, Commissioner, I want to thank you for the work you have done in the last year, especially for your second report. I want you to know that you have our moral support. We are with you. You do not stand alone in Canada. You have important tasks and heavy responsibilities. I strongly encourage you to continue in the same direction, even to exert a little more pressure, no matter which government is in power. You have nothing to fear. I want to say that we support you. Surveys seem to demonstrate that most Canadians support your work, and that is positive. I really want you to know that we are behind you. In turn, we expect you to be behind us.
Thank you for appearing before us today, Commissioner.
My thanks to my colleagues for their questions.
Would you like to say a few words?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-30 12:03
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Thank you very much. This is probably the last time that we will welcome you to this committee in the 42nd Parliament.
We will pause for 15 minutes and then resume in camera to focus on our work.
[Proceedings continued in camera.]
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-07 11:18
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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?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-07 11:19
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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?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-07 11:19
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On page 6, under "Positive Measures", you refer to the implementation of a new procedure.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-07 11:20
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Could you give some more information on the new procedure that you allowed you to advance the project in Vancouver?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-07 11:21
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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?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-07 11:23
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However, official-language minority communities have not been officially placed higher in the hierarchy as provided by the Act.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-05-07 11:23
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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?
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