Thank you for giving me the floor, Mr. Chair.
I, too, would like to make the following comments. I'm an anglophone, as you know, from Quebec, and there's a certain reality in Quebec for the linguist minority community there. I can tell you first and foremost that the law seeks to promote and protect French in Quebec and across Canada. I think that we are all unanimous on that. There's no hesitation. There's no reconsideration. We're all speaking the same language.
However, I do also want to echo some of the comments that have been made. I will express them in English. Bill 96, of course, was enacted last summer in 2022. It has become the new charter of the French language and replaces the old Bill 101. The issue with Bill 96.... The anglophone linguistic community in Quebec is very anxious and fearful of this law. It has become the new charter. Why the use of the pre-emptive clause, the notwithstanding clause, is of great concern for the anglophones is that this linguistic minority community in Quebec has rights. It has guaranteed rights by virtue of the Quebec charter of the French language as well as the Canadian Constitution. Therefore, this law, Bill 96, is shielded from any contestation that any linguistic minority community, such as the anglophone community in Quebec, would have. It poses a grave problem. Any reference to it in a federal law, you can understand, is of considerable worry for this community.
What I would like to do is walk through.... The amendment speaks about deleting, specifically, lines of what we have in Bill C-13. I would like to walk the committee through and read the lines that my colleague is suggesting we delete. Then I would like to make some comments on that.
In subclause 2(2), we start with “And whereas the Government of Canada”. We keep that. The amendment is proposing to delete the following:
is committed to enhancing the vitality and supporting the development of English and French linguistic minority communities—taking into account their uniqueness, diversity and historical and cultural contributions to Canadian society—as an integral part of the two official language communities of Canada, and to fostering full recognition and use of English and French in Canadian society;
And whereas the Government of Canada is committed to protecting and promoting the French language, recognizing that French is in a minority situation in Canada and North America due to the predominant use of English;
And whereas the Government of Canada is committed to cooperating with provincial and territorial governments and their institutions to support the development of English and French linguistic minority communities, to provide services in both English and French, to respect the constitutional guarantees of minority language educational rights and to enhance opportunities for all to learn both English and French;
Mr. Chair, this is what we're proposing to do away with.
I would like to remind the committee that Canada's character is founded on the principle that we have two official languages. We have two official linguistic minority communities. There has been, during the course of the study, one colleague in particular who has almost put in doubt that there's a linguistic anglophone community in Quebec. However, I can guarantee you that it exists. It is a healthy community. It is made up of 1.3 million anglophones in Quebec. Therefore, I think that what we're proposing here is deviating from all the linguistic regimes that we find in this beautiful country of ours. I would say that the law is there to be able to ensure symmetry.
I can tell you, first and foremost, that I will be voting against this amendment for obvious reasons. I would almost say to members around this committee that we're putting in doubt the bedrock of this country, founded on these two official languages, by interposing one and only one linguistic regime.
These are my comments.