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Results: 1 - 15 of 105
View Marilène Gill Profile
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I also thank my colleague from the NDP who spoke earlier.
I would have liked him to go further. He talked about transparency, as well as the need to show scientific evidence and to provide an update. We need to go even further. Once the evidence is provided, a strategy needs to be presented to the public as well.
The thing that many people find frustrating is the fact that nobody knows where we are headed, because nobody has up-to-date information.
I would like to know whether my colleague agrees and whether he thinks that his government will come up with an exit strategy—
View Marilène Gill Profile
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister refuses to close Roxham Road on the pretext that that is not the solution because irregular migrants “will cross elsewhere”.
Yes, they will cross elsewhere. They will cross at the border crossings. That is what they did before the safe third country agreement. If the Prime Minister suspends the agreement, something he can do unilaterally, migrants can cross at any border crossing in Canada rather than coming in through the woods. It is simple, safe and humane.
When will the federal government suspend the agreement and close Roxham Road?
View Marilène Gill Profile
Mr. Speaker, that is exactly the problem.
The border is long and people can cross wherever they want to, even though they should be going through official border crossings. If we suspended the safe third country agreement, migrants would be redirected to the 117 border crossings across Canada, instead of converging to cross at Roxham Road, as 92% of them are doing.
The number of irregular crossings is expected to rise significantly on the weekend, so the minister cannot stand by. He can immediately suspend the agreement and shut down Roxham Road.
Will he finally do something?
View Marilène Gill Profile
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I always like hearing what he has to say.
He concluded his speech on China by talking about greenhouse gas emission rates. He said that Canada produces 1.6% of greenhouse gas emissions, while China produces 27%. I would like to bring to my colleague's attention to the fact that the entire world did not experience the industrial revolution at the same time. Canada's greenhouse gas emissions rate has not always been what it is today.
Does my colleague not think that we can work on both fronts? Of course, China could probably be doing something, and I will not get into that, but at the same time, there is certainly something we could be doing as well. For example, today the government was asked to stop subsidizing oil companies. Should we not be doing both if we really want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
View Marilène Gill Profile
Mr. Speaker, as someone who wants to take the time to do things properly and to consult, can my hon. colleague tell me why none of the Government of Quebec's requests were accommodated in this new version of the bill?
View Marilène Gill Profile
Madam Speaker, I would like to say from the outset that French in Quebec and outside Quebec is alive and well.
In the House, I sometimes get the impression from some speeches that French is being dismissed as a dying language. People have brought up certain monuments from the past. I agree that we can be proud, but French is not a thing of the past and the Bloc Québécois can attest that it has a future. However, I think Bill C‑13 is a step backward.
I will explain what I mean, as some of my colleagues have, but perhaps on a bit more of a personal level. We all have a very close and personal connection to our mother tongue, and even to what I did outside the House. In my professional life, this was always very important.
I mentioned a step backward.
First there was Bill C-32, and today we are debating Bill C‑13. We can all agree that sometimes bills are two sides of the same coin. They do look somewhat similar. There is talk of urgency and improvements, but urgency is relative given that the Liberals decided in 2021 to shut down Parliament and call an election just after the Minister of Official Languages had introduced Bill C‑32. Some changes were made. I remember hearing a colleague say earlier that the previous bill was really quite extraordinary, so much so that they decided to rewrite it in the next Parliament.
We keep hearing about equality. To me, “equality” is a pretty strong term. It is not “equity” or “the possibility of equity”. I do not think Bill C‑13 is about equality. Even in terms of institutional bilingualism or individual bilingualism, I think it is a denial of the truth to say that bilingualism truly exists in Canada.
I could talk about my personal experience as a private citizen, and not just with the Air Canada example. Even though Bill C‑13 supposedly sets out to achieve “substantive equality”, this is still just a bill. As with any rights issue, there can still be a right, and the idea with that right can be equality, but in actual fact and in practice in real life, there has to be a lot more than that. A colleague talked about “teeth”, but I think that overstates what is in the bill. I talked about a step backward, so “teeth” is not really what we have here.
One thing the Bloc Québécois feels is important is the acknowledgement of a fact. I am not sure this particular fact is worth getting excited about, but the bill does acknowledge the fact that French is in a minority situation in Canada and in North America. We agree on that. These are just numbers, but at least there is that acknowledgement, and that is one step in the right direction, albeit a small one.
The Bloc Québécois often comes back to the issue of minority status. Quebec's French is the language of the minority in Canada and we stand by that. It is not the language of the majority. It is in Quebec, but it is still surrounded by English. I will come back to that later with personal examples. I believe it is important to talk about the minority status of French.
The Bloc Québécois naturally stands with francophones outside Quebec. Bill C‑13 does not have the same impact on communities outside Quebec as it does on those in Quebec. That could sometimes be a good thing for certain communities. I was thinking about what the Minister of Official Languages was saying earlier concerning the court challenges program. For francophone groups outside Quebec, it may be useful. However, in Quebec, it is the complete opposite. It is destructive.
With regard to Bill C‑13, the best approach would have been to respect Quebec and its choices. Only a nation can properly defend its own language. Language is the main vehicle for culture. It is a means of expression that is replete with history and meaning.
It is up to Quebec to protect it. Quebec knows best how to do that, such as with the Charter of the French Language. Here the feds are imposing a bill that conflicts with our existing mechanisms to protect and promote the language. They are forcing us to do all kinds of things. I have emphasized that repeatedly this week. The feds force a lot of things on us.
Earlier, I talked about denial. I could talk about something that rings totally false. The government's proposal will be harmful. We really want something asymmetrical, but that is not at all what this is.
I wish I could have talked about a lot of other things. I really could have used 20 minutes, but I will move on to something more personal. Anyway I think we all agree, and we have said it over and over: there is no way we can accept this.
I would have liked to talk about the differences between a right and a responsibility. In the case of Quebec, this bill enables federally regulated businesses to choose the language, whereas the charter says that employees must speak French at work. That is a big difference. It is night and day. Protection needs to take precedence over choice. If the choice exists, we will not be able to defend our language. Sometimes, people choose the easy way out, and the easy way out is Bill C-13.
That being said, I would like to talk about my own personal experience. My colleague from La Pointe-de-l'Île specializes in languages, my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé is a historian and my colleague from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert is an actor. My background is in the humanities. I enjoy literature. I am a literature professor. I worked in writing and publishing. My house is full of books. Of course, they are books of French literature, even though I also worked on British literature. The fact remains that, even though this was not a family trend, I somehow stumbled into the humanities and the language field. Every day, my thoughts turn to issues related to language, literature, culture and identity. Language is part of our identity.
I also have children. When one has children, they have a mother tongue. Of course I taught them French, but our children are not our children. That is the way it is; it is part of our existence. I have three children, one of whom is very small. He does not talk yet. I also have older children. Despite my efforts, all I see in their lives—this is a debate about territory, so I hope my colleagues will allow me this more or less accurate analogy—is like what the Romans did, but with English, which seeks to extinguish the French language right in our own homes. I am not against all these digital tools, but when I look at my children, I can see that, language-wise, it is no longer like it was in 1950, when people had to cross the border to swim in an anglophone sea. Now it is in our very own homes, so we really have to come up with some very strong measures.
I think of my son who is a gamer. He is bilingual, and I am glad he is. I speak several languages too. I speak a little German and Spanish. I studied Latin and Greek, and I speak French and English. I love languages. I see that he has become bilingual, but at the same time, I see how much languages change. I am talking about the written language, the spoken language and our relationship to language. Even though my kids are young, certain languages still dominate. In the concept itself, the idea of cultural domination means that one will assimilate the other.
The same is true of my daughter, through the use of social media, and I mean that in the pejorative sense. Sometimes she has no choice regarding what information she can access, even though the amount of information is astronomical. We have a huge encyclopaedia at our fingertips. She will end up becoming anglicized, too.
This will also be true for my little boy, with platforms like Netflix and everything he will have access to. Most of it is in English.
Everything I just described is really happening, and legislation like this is truly a complete setback. When we want to strengthen a language, and I am still talking about Quebec, we do not introduce legislation that goes against the will of a nation and against the will of a government. This would only weaken the language.
In my opinion, and my words will be harsh, this bill is an indirect linguistic assimilation policy for Quebec. When something cannot be done directly, it is done indirectly. I think Bill C‑13 is smoke and mirrors.
View Marilène Gill Profile
Madam Speaker, I could not agree more with my colleague. In all the notes I prepare for my speeches, I am always tempted to remind members of that early and absolutely useless election that cost all Quebeckers and Canadians time.
We are now starting over again, discussing bills that we could have tackled back then. Furthermore, the government is constantly telling us that it is urgent. I would submit to my colleagues that we are sitting until midnight tonight. There could have been other ways of doing this.
I would like the government to take responsibility for its own bills and its own legislative agenda so we can get things done. There is no point in simply talking without there being any concrete action. We see it even with tonight's bill: There is a great deal of goodwill, but, when it comes to concrete measures, that is a different story.
View Marilène Gill Profile
Madam Speaker, I could also say that I have good intentions while introducing a bill, for example, to lower gas prices.
There is nothing in Bill C‑13. The government sees, accepts, says and commits to saying that there is asymmetry. However, the text does not reflect that, since it does not contain asymmetrical measures. It is a problem and that is the problem.
For its part, the anglophone community in Quebec is doing very well. Hundreds of millions of dollars are sent to Quebec. Let us look at this honestly, and look at the data, not just the good intentions. The bill contains words, but words are worthless without action.
View Marilène Gill Profile
Madam Speaker, we simply want this bill not to apply to Quebec. That would be the best thing to do.
View Marilène Gill Profile
Mr. Speaker, this year, the largest aluminum manufacturing company in the Americas is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Aluminerie Alouette is a source of pride on the North Shore, a jewel for Quebec and the perfect example of how it is possible to be a major, environmentally responsible business on a human scale.
A company such as Alouette represents above all the strength, knowledge and expertise of its employees. More than 900 people on the North Shore work hard for a company that has been involved in the community from the beginning.
Whenever I can, I do not hesitate to promote this company, which has deep roots in our region, and every time I visit I am reminded of just how proud we can be of the expertise and know-how of the North Shore and Quebec, especially when it comes to technology.
I want to wish a happy 30th anniversary to Aluminerie Alouette, its employees, its suppliers and everyone who contributes to its success and, of course, to its very dynamic CEO, Claude Gosselin.
Let us work together to ensure the company can continue to grow and showcase the know-how of the North Shore and Quebec all across the Americas and beyond.
View Marilène Gill Profile
Madam Speaker, my first love as a student, as a teacher and even as a child was literature. In a way, literature was my alma mater.
Through literature I perceived—or glimpsed, to be more accurate—the letters themselves, because letters both voluntarily and involuntarily encompass all of human knowledge.
That may be why I have always had a grateful admiration for and insatiable curiosity about the 18th century, and in particular the 18th century in France: That was the century of Enlightenment in England and the Erklärung in Germany. It was the century of reason, knowledge and intelligence.
The Enlightenment was the century of encyclopedias and rational dictionary of the sciences, arts and trades, the century of philosophers, of Rousseau, Voltaire, Diderot, the century that cried loud and clear, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”.
It was the century of man guided by the light of the spirit, of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, but also of woman and the citizen with Olympe de Gouges, the century of democracy, access to knowledge, science, the ideal of progress, of tolerance and humanism, of equality. It was the century of the French Revolution, as well as the American Revolution.
It was a century of emancipation. It was the century that began the long separation of church and state in France. After the French Revolution, in little more than a century, people had to win the fight for the right to govern themselves by taking power from those they peered up at from below. That century marked the dawn of the people.
These men and women left us a great legacy. That all men, not God, decide for all men. This is the legacy that gives me the legitimate right to stand here today, before the members of the House of Commons, to represent some 100,000 citizens in the riding of Manicouagan.
Members will then understand my astonishment when, in fall 2015, more than three centuries after the French Revolution, when I was about to take my seat in the House, I heard the following words resound before the opening of the sitting:
Almighty God, we give thanks for the great blessings which have been bestowed on Canada and its citizens, including the gifts of freedom, opportunity and peace that we enjoy. We pray for our Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth, and the Governor General. Guide us in our deliberations as Members of Parliament, and strengthen us in our awareness of our duties and responsibilities as Members. Grant us wisdom, knowledge, and understanding to preserve the blessings of this country for the benefit of all and to make good laws and wise decisions. Amen.
I was being forced to pray to the Christian God. I looked around and almost everyone was doing the same, whether they were Christian or perhaps Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist, agnostic or atheist. I could not understand then, and I still cannot now, why Parliament should impose any faith, let alone its faith, on all parliamentarians, employees of the House and, by extrapolation, Quebeckers, of course, and Canadians, even if it is with the noblest of intentions, unless it is being done unconsciously. I felt the House of Commons was depriving me of my freedom of conscience.
Clearly, the Canadian Parliament has not yet finalized the divorce between church and state, which I believe is necessary, because every belief system carries with it its own sense of supremacy.
As a thinking being, capable of reasoning and blessed with freedom of conscience, the idea of relying on a higher power that has the ability to grant me “wisdom, knowledge and understanding” and that would be able to “guide me in my awareness of my duties and responsibilities” smacks of offloading my responsibility.
The blessings bestowed on Canada do not depend on some divine Christian will exercised through Christian members of Parliament.
The gifts Canada enjoys are preserved by the choices made by the representatives of the people, based on the will of the people. The government is responsible, and elected members are accountable.
I believe that this prayer obviously creates an insoluble conflict between freedom of conscience and empowerment, as well as between responsibility and accountability.
No one really believes something they are forced to believe. All they can do is pretend. No one takes part in a healthy debate if the conclusion relies on an intrinsic prior truth that they cannot understand. That is what this daily prayer symbolizes. These are essentially the two reasons that led me, on June 12, 2019, to try to table a motion on behalf of the Bloc Québécois to replace this prayer with a moment of reflection.
With all due respect for all religions, and in all humility, because I have no delusions of stealing heaven's fire like the mythological figure Prometheus, I have to say that taking part in a prayer that requires me to yield my freedom of conscience and reason to the invisible hands of a god, the Christian God, is something that is, in all good conscience, viscerally impossible.
To paraphrase Étienne de La Boétie, spiritual servitude can only be voluntary. I refuse to allow anyone to think for or through me. I refuse to have my thoughts dictated for me. I make my own choices, and I take responsibility.
My colleagues may have deduced that, in my opinion, religion is a private affair. Faith is a conscious and deliberate choice, and some people choose to adhere to the precepts and values of a theistic belief system in order to determine their existence, but that is a private and personal choice.
Faith is an individual decision, not a societal one. Beliefs cannot be imposed. Society cannot be forced to act according to imposed individual beliefs. The state must be neutral. It must be secular.
I will therefore not reveal to my colleagues what religion I belong to, whether or not I practise, whether I am an atheist or an agnostic, or what I think about the religion of the gods or of humankind. I will simply reiterate that I respect these belief systems. They all preach love, peace and sharing, and their core values have been shaping the world since the dawn of time. They are aimed at transcendence, and they are what separates us from the animals, along with our intelligence and our humanity.
In closing, this explains why I stand behind the curtain during the prayer. I believe I am not the only one to do so, whether out of respect for ourselves or for others, for our beliefs or our intellect, whether discreetly or perhaps even ostentatiously. Religion is private. Like me, it should remain behind the curtain, to be practised only in our homes and our places of worship.
Let us all, as parliamentarians, gather together in a genuine moment of free reflection during which some may choose to consult their conscience or God. When that happens, I will step into the House, and the House will step into the 21st century.
View Marilène Gill Profile
Madam Speaker, at no point did I mention the Reign of Terror, if that is what my colleague is suggesting.
As I said earlier, I am passionate about both history and knowledge. Naturally I would love to have a conversation with him and very humbly share what I know about the historical period during which humanity achieved democracy. Great Britain is not the only place where peoples have fought for freedom and representation.
We have been told repeatedly that this subject is of no interest to the House of Commons and that other subjects are more deserving of our attention. However, as my colleague from Drummond said, opposition days give us a chance to do other things and explore other topics.
My colleague's enthusiasm indicates that this subject is likely to inspire debate. I very much look forward to hearing what he has to say about it. Perhaps he will speak today.
View Marilène Gill Profile
Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question.
I believe that such important issues should be raised and debated in the House, and that everyone should have an opportunity to contribute to the debate. As parliamentarians, we are here to debate. Let us give everyone the opportunity to express their opinion, if I may echo what a colleague just whispered in my ear. That is the intent behind this motion.
We must be able to debate these matters before the general public. That is what they expect of us. If there are others in the House who share our view that freedom of conscience is very important, let us have that debate together.
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