Hansard
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Add search criteria
Results: 1 - 30 of 50335
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2021-06-15 10:03 [p.8427]
Expand
It is my duty to lay upon the table, pursuant to section 28 of Appendix 1 to the Standing Orders of the House of Commons, a report from the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner entitled “Ratansi Report”, dated June 2021.
Collapse
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2021-06-15 10:05 [p.8427]
Expand
It is my duty to lay upon the table, pursuant to section 11 of the Lobbying Act, the Commissioner of Lobbying report for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021.
Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(h), this report is deemed permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.
Collapse
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2021-06-15 10:05 [p.8427]
Expand
It is my duty to lay upon the table, pursuant to subsection 40(1) of the Access to Information Act, the report of the Information Commissioner for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021.
Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(h), this report is deemed permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.
Collapse
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-06-15 10:05 [p.8427]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to seven petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.
Collapse
View Mélanie Joly Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Mélanie Joly Profile
2021-06-15 10:05 [p.8427]
Expand
moved for leave to introduce Bill C‑32, An Act to amend the Official Languages Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts.
Collapse
View Emmanuel Dubourg Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Emmanuel Dubourg Profile
2021-06-15 10:07 [p.8427]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Official Languages, entitled “Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Government’s Ability to Deliver Information and Services in Both Official Languages”.
Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
Collapse
View Bryan May Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bryan May Profile
2021-06-15 10:07 [p.8427]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, regarding support programs for veterans, caregivers and families.
Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
I would like to thank our clerk and all of the staff who have allowed us to continue our work virtually this past year.
Collapse
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
CPC (ON)
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
2021-06-15 10:08 [p.8428]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the ninth report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, entitled “Challenges Faced by Women Living in Rural, Remote and Northern Communities in Canada”.
Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
Collapse
View Marwan Tabbara Profile
Ind. (ON)
View Marwan Tabbara Profile
2021-06-15 10:08 [p.8428]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, I had the honour of speaking with over a dozen travel agents and I have three petitions to present.
The petitioners call upon this House to recognize the negative impact COVID travel restrictions have had on the economic situations of travel advisers, especially independent travel advisers. They call upon the House to respond with sector-specific remedies until travel resumes for a sufficiently long time to ensure a return to a sustainable income flow.
The petitioners call for the continuation of the CRB at $500 per week for six months past the full-time resumption of travel. Further, they call for sole proprietors to be qualified for the RRRF in urban areas. Finally, they ask the House to ensure that any financial assistance to airlines and their subsidiary travel companies will be conditional on the protection of travel advisers' commissions and that any commissions already clawed back be repaid to travel advisers.
Collapse
View Han Dong Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Han Dong Profile
2021-06-15 10:10 [p.8428]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, I am proud to present a petition started by the Willowdale Community Legal Services and signed by hundreds of Canadians across the country.
The petitioners are concerned about the current Canada child benefit legislation, which denies many children who are residents of Canada, including those who are Canadian-born, access to the Canada child benefit payment because of the immigration status of their parents. The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to reduce child poverty and alleviate the hardships faced by children and women in Canada by allowing all children who are residents of Canada access to Canada child benefit payments irrespective of the immigration status of their parents.
I am pleased to present this petition and proud to support it.
Collapse
View Rob Morrison Profile
CPC (BC)
View Rob Morrison Profile
2021-06-15 10:11 [p.8428]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition virtually on behalf of my constituents in Kootenay—Columbia. The signatures on this petition were submitted out of great concern by my constituents in Kootenay—Columbia regarding the Columbia River Treaty.
The petitioners, therefore, call on the Government of Canada to act as follows. The Columbia River Treaty impacts the lives of all Kootenay—Columbians. The federal, provincial and regional governments have varying levels of responsibility for the protection of Canadian interests with all aspects of the Columbia River Treaty negotiations. The Columbia River Treaty requires the co-operative development of water resources, flood risk management, power generation and recreation, like Lake Koocanusa.
The treaty displaced over 280,000 acres of ecosystem, including local farmers, ranchers and indigenous communities. They call upon the Government of Canada to focus on the importance of the Columbia River Treaty and to meet the priority, development and planning of the construction of a weir on the Canadian side of the international border on Lake Koocanusa, British Columbia.
I support this petition and present it to the House of Commons on behalf of my constituents in Kootenay—Columbia.
Collapse
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2021-06-15 10:12 [p.8428]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to present two petitions this morning.
The first petition is from many constituents concerned about the shortage of family doctors and how 92% of family doctors in this country are in urban areas and only 8% are found in more rural and remote areas, such as where I live. On a brief parenthetical personal note, I am going to have a knee replacement tomorrow, so I will not be in the House. My family doctor remains in Ottawa because I was not able to find one in Saanich—Gulf Islands 12 years ago when I moved here.
The petitioners ask for the federal government, recognizing that this is provincial jurisdiction, to develop a holistic, full-on effort, working with provinces and territories, to find a fair and holistic solution to the acute shortage of family doctors in much of Canada.
Collapse
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2021-06-15 10:14 [p.8428]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, the second petition speaks to an issue that we have heard about in this House frequently in recent weeks, and that is the critical declining area of our forests comprising old-growth forests. The petitioners note that there are solutions to protecting what is left. Less than 2.7% of British Columbia forests, for example, are in old-growth condition. Old growth fosters biodiversity, and it is a major sink for carbon. It could be part of Canada's federal plans for protecting biodiversity, protecting carbon and keeping it out of the atmosphere.
The petitioners note that solutions in value-added forest products, in collaboration with first nations, could create part of our path to reconciliation while preserving old-growth forests. In short, the petitioners call for a halt on all old-growth logging across Canada.
Collapse
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-06-15 10:14 [p.8429]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.
Collapse
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2021-06-15 10:14 [p.8429]
Expand
Is that agreed?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Collapse
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
2021-06-15 10:15 [p.8429]
Expand
moved:
That the House agree that section 45 of the Constitution Act, 1982, grants Quebec and the provinces exclusive jurisdiction to amend their respective constitutions and acknowledge the will of Quebec to enshrine in its constitution that Quebeckers form a nation, that French is the only official language of Quebec and that it is also the common language of the Quebec nation.
He said: Mr. Speaker, you have inspired me to read the motion again, as I find it rather poetic.
That the House agree [the use of the word “agree” was no accident] that section 45 of the Constitution Act, 1982, grants Quebec and the provinces exclusive jurisdiction to amend their respective constitutions and acknowledge the will of Quebec to enshrine in its constitution that Quebeckers form a nation, that French is the only official language of Quebec and that it is also the common language of the Quebec nation.
Although it has been 30 years since the Bloc Québécois was created, there are still people in the nation next door who think they need to rewrite their own laws to enshrine French, and only French, as Quebec's official language. This is because, 30 years later, there is still that much to be done, not to mention gaining independence.
Quebec is totally and entirely entitled and justified to tell anyone listening and anyone else, in every forum and soon every forum around the world, that it is a French nation whose only official language is French. I would remind all these fine people that this has been the case since 1974. When I was a boy in short pants French was already the only official language of Quebec. It feels like some members of the House just discovered that the Earth is round, although I am told that a few people here are not so sure. The common language has more weight than the official language. The common language is the one we use when we are walking down the street and we encounter someone we do not know.
The great tragedy of the French language in Quebec is when a young francophone encounters another young francophone at the corner of Peel and Sainte‑Catherine and they carry on in English without understanding the history behind that reality, without understanding what brought them there, without understanding the sometimes uncertain compromises made, the humiliations of history, the strong affirmations and the emergence of an extraordinary culture. Two young francophones speaking to each other in English in the street is the antithesis of recognizing the wonderful contribution of a Leonard Cohen to Quebec culture. What makes us who we are completes us. We can never give up who we are.
Today is a very special day. Some would say that it is rather singular to be celebrating it in this place, but that is where our friendly struggles have brought us. This day will be celebrated in the hearts of the millions of Quebeckers who recognize themselves in our cause. We are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Bloc Québécois.
In this day and age, it is no longer appropriate to see individuals as being more than human, especially if they are still living. However, I am in a position to speak to, as humbly as possible, the stature of a certain Lucien Bouchard and to assess all that he relinquished, all the courage he showed 30 years ago to create what one day history will call one of the essential tools for making Quebec a full sovereign nation. We have an obligation to be humble, each one of us in this place, in Parliament, online, all the workers, the hardworking men and women here and elsewhere, the supporters, the Quebeckers engaged in this desire to complete a journey that began with the Quiet Revolution.
Although we recognize that we must be humble, we also have the right to show our pride. We are a fine bunch; we are the bunch who cheerfully refuse to disappear. We are those they say will not exist. We are told over and over that the Bloc Québécois is finished, just as we are told over and over that independence is finished. Well, these naysayers keep having to roll up their sleeves because our objective is sound, noble and legitimate.
However, it will never be more and it will never be better than what has been done by those who came before us in Parliament's House of Commons, which, I say with no enmity, will always be foreign to us. If we wish it, it will be temporary.
Today Parliament is going to properly debate a very important motion, not just surreptitiously dispose of it. Quebec is navigating through the maze of documents that were designed to make it wither away. Those same documents indicate that it is time to acknowledge and note down the fact that Quebec is a nation.
Quebec is not a nation within a united Canada. That does not mean anything. Quebec is a whole, entire, thriving, complete, vibrant, beautiful, and up and coming French nation. No other language can even begin to compare to the heritage, beauty, allure and poetry of French. No wonder there was a baby boom in Quebec. These things start with flattering words, and French has much to offer in that regard.
Members were able to refuse the motion that we moved at the end of May with a simple “nay”, but today it will not be so easy. We are pleased to make two observations. First, we think that the motion will be adopted. We will be pleased to accept it because it is very good thing.
Second, without this great group of 32 passionate people, the motion never would have been adopted. It would have never even existed, and Quebec would have never been able to identify with it to this extent. This group decided to make this proposal to Ottawa. It did not want to be received with indifference and actions that would later go against it. This is not a legal approach that we have initiated, not at all. It is also not an approach that involves interpretation, a scope of interpretation or “interpretativity”. It is a political approach. Take it or leave it. It is political.
We are putting this Parliament in a position where it will be forced to effectively take note of the fact that Quebec is affirming that we are a French nation. I would dare say that Parliament should do that in a humble way, which is not something it is often known for.
There will be consequences. The government cannot go on forever hiding behind an assortment of judges who have also been hidden behind a charter that was designed to counter the will of Quebec and the Quebec National Assembly. Beyond all of that, there is the will of elected officials from across Canada and Quebec.
When the time comes to do something, someone will have to show some consistency. The government cannot recognize the French-speaking Quebec nation, take money from Quebeckers and give it to people who want to challenge and oppose the French-speaking Quebec nation. Now, it does happen, and there have been some inconsistencies, but we will expose the people who deserve to be exposed.
I want to say something that might sound a little harsh, but that is not my intention. The government's new, multi-page slogan is called the modernization of the Official Languages Act. I think I can say that this is not something we will be debating here. This bill will not go anywhere. It is essentially a second document filled with statements and hypothetical plans that will only happen if the Liberal government has a minority. We shall see what makes it into the rewritten version if they ever win a majority.
We do not even know what it is all about. It is starting out with private briefings, and we do not know what the Minister of Official Languages plans to include in her bill. We do know that it will apparently recognize French as the official language of Quebec. A round of applause for acknowledging what we all have known for 50 years. People who are better informed than me have reported that it essentially copies what would be in Quebec's hypothetical Bill 96, with respect to making federally regulated companies and institutions subject to the Charter of the French Language.
First of all, the two laws would say the same thing, but the federal law would take precedence. Why? It is because in real life, from the Canadian and federal perspective, Quebec is a vassal state. If we do not agree, I decide. That is what Canada is, even in terms of language, identity, values and culture. That speaks volumes.
We are talking about a government that cannot even hope to pass amendments to the Broadcasting Act, which was thankfully and greatly improved thanks to my friend the member for Drummond's efforts; a government that cannot even get its budget implementation bill passed, when there is probably someone out there shopping for a bus and a couple of planes.
It is quite ironic to see who the government is turning to. It is turning to the leader of the Bloc Québécois to say we are in a peck of trouble, that we are good people, that we still have a lot in common and that we will to work to make it work. These people have come to tell us that they will be deciding how to manage our language, our values, our identity, our culture and our nationhood and that is really nice of them, but no thanks. We are going to do it ourselves.
Now let us talk about timelines. The Minister of Official Languages is going to introduce an official languages bill that would, among other things, seek to replicate what will eventually be prescribed by Bill 96, which amends Quebec's Charter of the French Language to make federal institutions and businesses subject to the Charter of the French Language.
I am a good guy, and I would like to save her the effort. First of all, the parliamentary session of the House of Commons will surely be over before anyone even begins to look at the purely legislative side of things. There is a very good chance that this Parliament will be over too, so it will not happen in the foreseeable future. Let us not hold our breath.
In the meantime, two things will happen. First, in all likelihood this fall, the Quebec National Assembly will vote on what will, depending on the will of the elected representatives of the Quebec National Assembly alone, become Bill 96, and the Charter of the French Language in Quebec will henceforth apply to institutions and businesses under federal jurisdiction. The fall seems a bit far off, so we are going to move faster than that.
Tomorrow, the bill introduced by my esteemed colleague from Beauport—Limoilou, which would subject federal institutions and businesses in Quebec to the Charter of the French Language, will be put to a vote in the House of Commons. We are going to save a lot of time, avoid a ton of double-dealing and vote on this bill tomorrow. It will be done. We will be able to say thank you, goodbye. It will be dealt with, and we will be able to move on to another issue.
The House will have an opportunity tomorrow to move forward with a bill that would make federally regulated institutions and businesses subject to the Charter of the French Language, as called for by the Quebec National Assembly. Is that not wonderful?
Why not make the most of this opportunity? I must admit that it would have the disadvantage of stealing a bit of our thunder in terms of scoring political points in the run-up to the election. That is a bit of a shame, but it should not be the priority.
It is also important to point out that before anyone spoke French in New France, English on the shores of the United States, or Spanish on the southern islands or in Louisiana, North and South America were home to dozens and dozens of nations, each of them no less a nation than ours are today. They have their own histories, languages and cultures. That is always worth mentioning. We wanted to amend the motion to that effect, and some members from other parties suggested it, but others were not willing to let us do so.
When we have our great debates that, let us face it, pit French against English, we do not always mention it, but we should always give indigenous languages—I hate to say a specific status, because that term is so misused, but a factual, institutional and friendly respect that shelters them from all our debates that, from the perspective of these great cultures, only just arrived on their continent.
Before I conclude, I would like to encourage the minister to do something useful with the Official Languages Act. Some might interpret that to mean that I am implying she is addressing things that are not useful and, well, they are right. Quebec does not need anyone at any time to tell it how to promote and protect its language, culture, arts, identity and values. What it badly needs is for those who are not involved to mind their own business and keep their noses out of ours.
Instead, those resources should be invested, willingly, happily and generously, to support Acadian communities and francophone communities outside Quebec, which need them badly. No doubt people will tell us that anglophones in Quebec also badly need to be protected. I say this without malice. I confess I do not get up in the morning worrying about the survival of the English language in Quebec. I think it is doing quite well, and I am happy for it. The day Canada treats its French and Acadian minorities as well, as generously, and as warmly as Quebec has historically treated its English minority, the debate will be quite different. God knows we are not there yet.
Whatever Quebeckers decide to do with their nation, their state, their language, their culture, their values and their history, the result will be a resolutely French nation. I say this both in friendship and as a bit of a warning: No one is going to stand in Quebec's way. No one will succeed. The joyous, dynamic, festive, colourful, culinary and musical resilience of Quebeckers is unstoppable. As history will show, today will be a milestone in the protection of this nation, which will one day be called upon once more to take its destiny in its own hands, and the sooner the better.
Collapse
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-06-15 10:35 [p.8431]
Expand
Madam Speaker, I listened very closely to what the leader of the Bloc had to say and I really believe that he underestimates or undervalues the passion that people have for Quebec. I am thinking in particular of the Prairies, where many people, including me, have a very strong love for the province. We want Quebec to retain its heritage. The French language is a beautiful language.
I am wondering if the member could provide his thoughts in regard to the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have a passion for the province of Quebec and who want Quebec to retain French as its common language.
Collapse
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
2021-06-15 10:36 [p.8431]
Expand
Madam Speaker, who could forget the extraordinary outpouring of deep love from Canada just before the 1995 referendum, when tens of thousands of Canadians violated all the rules of democracy? It was a scam of historic proportions, during which the streets of Quebec were inundated with Canadian flags and declarations of love that vanished just as quickly as they had appeared. I for one have not forgotten.
I invite the member to pose his question about love for the French language out west, to the Métis.
Collapse
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
2021-06-15 10:37 [p.8431]
Expand
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the leader of the Bloc Québécois for his speech and his motion.
We are talking about a motion to recognize that Quebec has the jurisdiction to amend its section of the Constitution to state that Quebeckers form a nation, which is recognized by the House of Commons and by the NDP in its platform, and that French is the only official language of Quebec. As my colleague pointed out, this has been the case since 1974, when Robert Bourassa was premier. These are all indisputable facts. In addition, this motion is non-binding.
What is the point of tabling a motion on something that everyone agrees on?
Collapse
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
2021-06-15 10:38 [p.8431]
Expand
Madam Speaker, I am a little excited. I presume that, from now on, everyone in the House will agree when the Bloc Québécois puts forth proposals asserting Quebec's exclusive jurisdiction, not only in the areas of language, culture, art and who we are, but in everything concerning the Quebec nation, including certain exclusive jurisdictions.
Take pharmacare or dental care, which there is somewhat of a tendency to want to centralize. In this context, not all NDP members read the Sherbrooke declaration closely. Still, we will let bygones be bygones. We will see what happens in future votes.
Collapse
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2021-06-15 10:39 [p.8431]
Expand
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the leader of the Bloc Québécois.
I would also like to congratulate the Bloc on its anniversary. I had the honour of working with Lucien Bouchard when he was the federal environment minister. In my opinion, he is still the best environment minister Canada ever had.
I would like to say that the Green Party totally agrees with the need to protect the French language and Quebec culture for Quebeckers and for everyone across Canada who benefits from that extraordinary culture.
However, I have a problem. I studied law and constitutional law when I was younger, so I understand the Canadian Constitution. I do not see any problems with the aim of Bill 96, but if any other members of the House have any articles by experts, I would appreciate it if they could share them with us, because I cannot get any further in my research. I think that it is ultra vires of the province to make a change to the Canadian Constitution.
In my opinion, it is a—
Collapse
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2021-06-15 10:40 [p.8432]
Expand
The hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly.
Collapse
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
2021-06-15 10:40 [p.8432]
Expand
Madam Speaker, debate is a healthy exercise in politics. Reflection is also a healthy exercise.
Let us say that more than 330 out of 338 members of Parliament agree on a motion; I think it is fairly safe to assume that when it is 30:1, it is not the 29 who are wrong.
Out of respect and the affection that everyone is so keen to express toward the Quebec nation, I invite the hon. member to reconsider and to acknowledge that French is in a unique position in Quebec, but it goes far beyond that. It is a question of recognizing a nation; despite the fact that it was conquered, it remains, resolutely and obstinately—and Lord knows we are obstinate—a nation.
Mr. Bouchard was without a doubt a great environment minister. In our 30-year or 60-year history, we had René Lévesque, Jacques Parizeau, Pauline Marois, Bernard Landry and many other great politicians. We also had Gilles Duceppe, my friend and predecessor. It is true that Lucien Bouchard was a great environment minister but, more than that, he was a great sovereignist leader.
Collapse
View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech.
Does the leader of the Bloc believe that the ability to amend the Constitution affects all provinces or just Quebec?
Collapse
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
2021-06-15 10:43 [p.8432]
Expand
Madam Speaker, I wish everyone the same happiness I wish for us.
I think that, in theory, beyond the intricacies of the Charlottetown accord, had the exercise been more sincere and taken more seriously, we would have had a confederation of autonomous territories and, unlike what we see every day now, the provinces would not be creatures of Ottawa, but the other way round. That would have required going against the grain and showing a bit of humility, but, as a result, every person, every community, every people and, especially, every nation claiming the right to self-determination—this includes francophone communities outside Quebec and the Acadian nation, which I love—will always have my personal support, as well as that of the Bloc Québécois.
Collapse
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-15 10:44 [p.8432]
Expand
Madam Speaker, at one point or another, we have all seen unflattering and unhelpful remarks in social media, but there is something we, and especially my colleagues in the Bloc Québécois, see a lot. It is called Quebec bashing. In fact, it is a national sport for some, which consists in knocking Quebec indiscriminately.
I would like to thank my leader for his speech. It was inspirational as always.
Does he think that the fact that the House of Commons recognizes Quebec as a nation whose common and only official language is French could help educate and influence Canadians in the right direction, which would make relations between our two nations even more pleasant and cordial?
Collapse
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
2021-06-15 10:44 [p.8432]
Expand
Madam Speaker, a little earlier, I mentioned two young francophones who were speaking English to each other on the corner of Peel and St. Catherine. I dream of two young people from anywhere in the world meeting on a street corner in Rimouski and greeting each other in French.
When this happens, when it becomes normal and an everyday occurrence, when Quebec is fully accepted for what it is, we will be a wonderful neighbour to Canada, and we will do so much together, more than with anyone else. Social media will no longer have a reason to bash us.
Collapse
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
2021-06-15 10:45 [p.8432]
Expand
Madam Speaker, I would like to start by saying that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Mont‑Royal.
I am very pleased to be participating in today's debate. It is in a way the continuation of a debate held in the House in 2006 when I was a young member of Parliament. Well, at least I was a little younger than I am now, and my hair was not quite so white. It was an important debate for me because we were preparing to vote in favour of recognizing the Quebec nation. Obviously, I voted in favour of the motion because, in my opinion, it is a simple fact.
We had had an extremely interesting debate, and I remember very clearly that the vast majority of the members present voted in favour of the motion recognizing that Quebeckers form a nation within a united Canada.
My former colleague Stéphane Dion aptly summarized the conclusion of the debate. He said, “we all agree on what is basic in this, which is, for those who are Quebeckers, that we are proud to be Quebeckers and Canadians, and that other Canadians are proud to have Quebec as part of their country.” As a result, the debate in the House of Commons on the recognition that Quebeckers form a nation within a united Canada was held and settled in 2006.
The Bloc Québécois may not like what I am about to say, because they would prefer an argument. We clearly recognize that French is the official language of Quebec. I will say it again: French is the official language of Quebec. We also recognize the key role that Bill 101, or the Charter of the French Language, has played in preserving and strengthening the French language in Quebec. I have always supported Bill 101. Since we wish to modernize the Official Languages Act, we understand and respect the Quebec government's desire to do the same with the Charter of the French Language.
With respect to Quebec's desire to enshrine this symbolic recognition in the province's constitution, I think I can safely say that Quebec has a certain amount of leeway that allows it to make changes, provided it is clearly stated that the suggested amendments cannot directly or indirectly modify the scope of the provisions of the Canadian Constitution. We all agree on that.
In other words, it must be stated that the Quebec government's bill does not erode other laws that protect the language rights of the English-speaking community in Quebec. Obviously, there will be several debates in Quebec's National Assembly and throughout Quebec on this very important topic. I will follow these debates with a great deal of interest.
Although it is true that symbols are important, it is also true that actions are even more important. Actions speak louder than words. The government has signalled its intention to take action to counter the decline of French across the country. In fact, our ambitions are not limited to countering the decline of French. We want to take action to encourage people to learn and use French and to foster the development of francophone communities across the country.
In the throne speech and budget 2021, we clearly stated that we are responsible for protecting and promoting the French language, not only outside Quebec, but in Quebec as well, while continuing to fully respect the rights of the English-speaking minority.
The reason I am talking about the need to protect French in Quebec is that French is in decline even in Quebec, especially in the greater Montreal area. That decline can sometimes be seen in the way people are greeted in shops and restaurants. It can be seen on some signs and heard on the street and on the radio. It can be seen in the statistics on the decline of French and rise of English, particularly in both public- and private-sector workplaces.
As a Quebecker and a Canadian, I am very concerned about the decline of French, and so is the government. I know that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Official Languages are especially concerned. Every member of the House who wants to protect a fundamental trait of our country, namely the existence of two official languages, should be concerned. Allow me to make it clear that the federal government wants to protect and promote French.
That desire to act on all fronts is written in black and white in the bill that my colleague, the Minister of Official Languages, tabled in the House. The federal government will protect French by taking action in federally regulated sectors, which include banks and communications and transportation companies. All federally regulated employers, of which there are about 18,000, will have linguistic obligations, not only in Quebec, but also in regions with a strong francophone presence outside Quebec.
Drawing inspiration from the Charter of the French Language, we will pass laws on the right to be served and to work in French in federally regulated private businesses in Quebec and in regions with a strong francophone presence across Canada. That is a significant step. We will be creating language-of-work and language-of-service rights that will foster the use of French in Quebec and across Canada. We are doing this because we recognize that we need to do more to support French and to achieve real equality between the two official languages.
To quote Aristotle, “The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.” Facts are facts, and the fact is that French is not equal to English in our country and even less so in North America. As noted in the throne speech, Canada's approximately eight million francophones are surrounded by an ocean of more than 360 million primarily anglophone inhabitants of North America. As such, it is our responsibility to take action in areas within our purview to protect that minority and ourselves.
I want to stress that the reform we are proposing would in no way curtail the rights of Quebec's anglophone minority. I do not think the Bloc Québécois or anyone else wants that. However, we do know that if the French language is to continue to thrive in Quebec—and this is even more so the case outside Quebec—precise, vigorous and ambitious measures must be instituted immediately. That is what we will do, and we will also be working on a number of fronts. For instance, we will lean on cultural institutions such as Telefilm Canada, the National Film Board of Canada, and CBC/Radio-Canada, requiring them to support French-language content.
We will adopt measures to promote francophone immigration to try to counter the very worrisome trend of declining francophone demographics in the country. We will increase French-language learning opportunities for all Canadians. We will make it official policy to appoint bilingual justices to the Supreme Court of Canada, a move the Conservatives oppose, for some reason. We will strengthen some of the powers of the Commissioner of Official Languages, and much more.
The reason I mentioned jurisdiction earlier is that, as the Liberal party's Quebec's lieutenant, it is fundamental to me. Jurisdictions must be respected and that is why, whether it is the right to work in French in federally regulated businesses or the right to be informed and served in French by those same businesses, we are clearly acting within our jurisdictions. Not only are we acting clearly, but we will act clearly in our areas of jurisdiction.
At the same time, this measure we have included in our bill to modernize the Official Languages Act affords us a prime opportunity to work closely with the Quebec government. If we want the new federal system to coexist with the French-language requirements, we need to work together and we want to. That is what underpins what we are doing and that is what is written into the bill. That is also the spirit of the bill, this willingness to work with Quebec to strengthen and promote French, the language that I cherish, that we cherish and that is so beautiful. We must do more to protect it, to share it and to strengthen it.
Collapse
View Louise Chabot Profile
BQ (QC)
View Louise Chabot Profile
2021-06-15 10:55 [p.8434]
Expand
Madam Speaker, one evening during this parliamentary session when the report on the decline of French in Quebec was published, I thought I heard members saying how much they loved French. I get the same impression from the speech that the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons just gave.
In Quebec, we cherish and cultivate French. It is something that we are proud of because it is a key component of living together. Why is the federal government giving this so much attention and taking so many precautions rather than letting us govern our French language with our charter? Why did the federal government contribute to the decline of this beautiful common language in Quebec—
Collapse
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2021-06-15 10:56 [p.8434]
Expand
Order.
The hon. government House leader.
Collapse
Results: 1 - 30 of 50335 | Page: 1 of 1678

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>|
Export As: XML CSV RSS

For more data options, please see Open Data