An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (French language)
Robert Aubin NDP
Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)
Introduction and First Reading
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- Feb. 29, 2012 Failed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Official Languages.
March 8th, 2013 / 11:40 a.m.
Christian Paradis Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)
Mr. Speaker, the NDP pompously announced a very irresponsible bill, Bill C-315. Rather than introducing bills that have been written on the back of a napkin, we want to check the facts. That is what we did. We set up a committee of independent experts and deputy ministers supported by experts in their departments.
The situation of French in Quebec companies under federal jurisdiction is practically the same as in those under provincial jurisdiction. We are not going to create more red tape—
Language Skills Act
Private Members' Business
February 26th, 2013 / 6:45 p.m.
Robert Aubin Trois-Rivières, QC
Mr. Speaker, some days it does a body good to rise in the House, and today is one of those days. It is rare to feel this sense of optimism and excitement that leads us to believe that we are close to a broad consensus that would finally allow us to move forward on an issue that should have been resolved ages ago. Better late than never.
I am therefore pleased to speak about a common-sense bill.
In fact, one has to wonder why we are still discussing such a bill in a country that recognizes two official languages.
However, given the growing likelihood that many members of the government and the other opposition parties will get behind this proposal, I would like to talk more about the areas that unite us rather than those that divide us so that this bill can be passed.
In passing, I would like to commend the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst who, long before I arrived in this chamber, had already been fighting for years for the House to treat this country's anglophones and francophones equally.
I would also like to sincerely thank my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent who, through her bill, is strengthening the rights of francophones in every province and territory. Passing this bill will further strengthen francophone communities.
So, what does this bill say? Since the key message of the bill is contained in just a few short lines, I would like to read it for the benefit of all those who are watching these proceedings via CPAC or elsewhere.
The bill's short title is the Language Skills Act. In my opinion, it could not be any clearer.
The bill simply states:
2. Any person appointed to any of the following offices must, at the time of his or her appointment, be able to understand English and French without the aid of an interpreter and to express himself or herself clearly in both official languages...
I will spare hon. members the rest since the list of the agents of Parliament that should have these skills has already been read out by many of the other speakers.
Once it has been established that Canada has two official languages, everything else should just fall into place naturally.
First, the same level of service should be provided to both language communities since the Constitution protects that right.
Second, people whose appointment is approved by resolution of the Senate, House of Commons or both houses must be able to communicate with parliamentarians in both official languages.
Third, French and English must have equality of status as to their use in all institutions of Parliament.
Equality of use highlights the idea behind the original wording that candidates must have the language abilities before they are appointed to be an officer of Parliament. It seems obvious to me that a unilingual anglophone or francophone, even with the best intentions in the world, will not be able to provide equal service in both languages before learning the second language, something that can often take years.
There is a glaring inconsistency between the services offered to one language community over the other. As I mentioned earlier, in the past, more often than not, it has been francophone communities that end up losing out when the principle of official language equality is twisted.
I have been talking about principles since the beginning of my speech because prejudices in everyday life can become quite significant.
So what kind of service would a Canadian receive if he or she contacted the information commissioner, the privacy commissioner, the chief electoral officer or the auditor general if that government official spoke only the language that the Canadian did not speak?
It is easy to picture the fruitless discussion that would take place, despite the goodwill of the participants. That simple example illustrates the need to support Bill C-419, which was introduced by my colleague.
The entire francophone community is watching the members from every party to ensure that we address this issue once and for all and do not try to hide behind excuses or half-measures.
In his preliminary report on the investigation that resulted from the complaint filed by the member for Acadie—Bathurst, the Commissioner of Official Languages—who is bilingual, thankfully—concluded that the Privy Council Office failed to meet its obligations under the Official Languages Act when it appointed Mr. Ferguson as Auditor General.
As I said earlier, this bill is vital to all of Canada's francophone communities. However, I would be remiss if I did not mention that Bill C-419 on bilingual officers of the House, Bill C-315, which was designed to recognize the language rights of Quebec workers employed by businesses under federal jurisdiction, and the bill to recognize Quebec's political weight within the federation are all opportunities to recognize the Quebec nation. There was political will to recognize the Quebec nation within Canada, but there has not been any political will to grant the rights that should be part of that recognition.
Unanimity is a rare event in this House, I agree, but I am asking the few members not yet convinced of the rightness of this bill to try to walk, from now until the day of the vote, if only for a week, or at least a day, in the shoes of a Canadian living in an official language minority situation. If they do not have the good fortune to be bilingual, let them ask to be answered in the official language they do not know. They will quickly discover what lies behind the drafting of this bill.
The goal is not to make all Canadians bilingual, although such a dream can be a fine thing, and such an accomplishment is undeniably an advantage in the international world we now live in. The goal of this bill, rather, is to leave no one behind because of a communication problem arising from ignorance of an official language on the part of an officer of Parliament. It is a question of job skills and requirements.
I must therefore insist: let us never again be told that out of 34 million Canadians across this country, we cannot find a Canadian man or woman who is both bilingual and qualified for the job we are trying to fill. Bilingualism, after all, is an integral part of the skills or qualifications such a person should have.
Our language is much more than a work instrument; it is also a part of our identity. If Canada has chosen to recognize two official languages, for reasons that are historically highly defensible, it should now ensure consistency in its decisions and acquire the means to realize its goals.
The NDP has always been a fervent defender of the official languages in the public realm, and this bill is a conclusive example. We will fight relentlessly for every Canadian man and woman to be able to receive services and interact with officers of Parliament in the official language of their choice. We will soon have an opportunity to send a clear message to all Canadians by voting in favour of Bill C-419.
I implore parliamentarians in all parties in this House, let us not miss this historic opportunity. I will close by thanking all of my colleagues in this House who, in their heart and soul, have already decided to support the bill. I would suggest most humbly to those who still have doubts to drop by the Standing Committee on Official Languages. There they will definitely find food for thought and colleagues who ask nothing better than to discuss with them the wisdom of this measure.
The House resumed from February 17 consideration of the motion that Bill C-315, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (French language), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
February 29th, 2012 / 2:50 p.m.
Robert Aubin Trois-Rivières, QC
Mr. Speaker, as renowned Quebec singer Éric Lapointe would say, if he were speaking English, “Whatever”.
Bill C-315 is balanced and solves a real problem. NDP members from across Canada support it unanimously because they believe that the recognition of Quebec as a nation within Canada should be backed up by real action.
Will the Conservatives acknowledge that it is high time Quebeckers felt respected? Will they vote in favour of Bill C-315?
February 29th, 2012 / 2:50 p.m.
Robert Aubin Trois-Rivières, QC
Mr. Speaker, in a few hours the House will vote on Bill C-315, which would give Quebec workers employed by businesses under federal jurisdiction the same language rights as other Quebec workers.
Instead of beating around the bush and announcing a new committee that has still not come to be, will the Conservatives take action and vote with the NDP to recognize the rights of all francophone workers in Quebec?
Canada Labour Code
Private Members' Business
February 17th, 2012 / 2:10 p.m.
Robert Aubin Trois-Rivières, QC
Mr. Speaker, based on my understanding of the procedure, I have five minutes to conclude on such a fundamental bill. I am not going to repeat what was said by my distinguished colleagues, but I thank them for supporting this bill. I also thank all the parliamentarians who spoke during the first hour of debate that we had on Bill C-315. There were a few parliamentarians from the third party and even from the government.
I must admit that I am somewhat uneasy as I conclude in these last five minutes, because I do not really know what to expect, particularly since the government has announced the establishment of a committee to review the issue and determine whether there is a problem with the use of French in Quebec's federally regulated businesses.
If the government has not already seen that there is a problem, that is a problem in and of itself. But even if there were no problem, Bill C-315 recognizes a basic right for workers in Quebec which, again, is the only province where French is the official language. Nowhere else in Canada does a worker feel compelled to defend his language of work. This is because the language of work in the other provinces is respected. There is something unique here, and this is why this bill is also unique in that it recognizes the rights of Quebeckers. Such recognition is a no-brainer, even if there were no problems. But it is already too late: the problems exist, so let us deal with them now.
The New Democratic Party is a great national party which fully and unanimously supports this bill. No one can say that this legislation was concocted by a group of francophones seeking some privileges. Everyone recognizes that this bill provides Quebeckers with a critical element, following the recognition of their province as a nation. For this, I thank all my other colleagues, and I hope the House will at least agree to have the bill reviewed in committee.
If it needs to be improved on—like all bills, and mine is no exception—let us at least allow it to follow its course and be reviewed by a standing committee. At the same time, the minister's committee can do its own work and shed a different light on the issue. We are not opposed to anything, but please let us not shut the door on the rights of Quebeckers that are recognized in this bill. Otherwise, it will be yet another step backward. In this kind of situation, the status quo is not an option. If we do not recognize the problems, and if we do not solve them, we get caught up and we slip backwards.
I hope all francophones and francophiles in this Parliament will give the bill a chance to go further and refer it to committee for clause by clause review. I am using the term “francophiles” in its broadest sense, because one does not have to speak French to be a francophile, but simply have an open mind toward that language.
Canada Labour Code
Private Members' Business
February 17th, 2012 / 2 p.m.
Charmaine Borg Terrebonne—Blainville, QC
Madam Speaker, it is a great honour for me to rise in support of this great piece of legislation, which is essential. I also want to congratulate the hon. member for Trois-Rivières for proposing it. As previous speakers have mentioned, this bill addresses a deficiency. The fact that no member from the government or from the other parties has risen to support this bill makes me wonder. Why do they not support it? I would appreciate an explanation.
I am going to talk about the purpose of this legislation. I represent the riding of Terrebonne—Blainville in the beautiful province of Quebec. When I travel to other parts of the country and tell people I come from Quebec, the first thing they think about is French.
People who do not live in Quebec or elsewhere in Canada would be surprised to learn that there are places where the working environment is English-speaking. Why? It is because our laws are flawed, and this is what the bill seeks to correct. In short, this legislation is useful because it would apply the province's language requirements to federally regulated businesses. As my colleagues who have spoken before me have pointed out, French may be the primary language of work in a small telecommunications company. However, there could be a business next door like Rogers, which is federally regulated, where employees are forced to speak English.
I totally object to this situation and to the fact that an employee may be told by his employer that he must learn English to work there. This is completely ridiculous. We must stop thinking in those terms and correct the flaws in the legislation.
I have some facts for those who criticize this bill on the ground that it is unnecessary. There are 200,000 workers who are not covered by the Charter of the French Language. We are talking about 200,000 people who go to work and may be forced to speak English, that is, to work in a language that is not their first language. This can create a working environment in which workers are less happy. It is important to point this out.
The Quebec Labour Code does not apply to federally regulated businesses, and this flaw must be corrected. Someone mentioned that the hon. Minister of Industry has set up an advisory committee. Perhaps this will correct the situation, but who will appoint the members of that committee, how much will the consultation process cost, and how long is it going to take? Will a report be produced? Will something come out of that exercise? A committee is just a half-measure to correct the situation. We must move forward and support Bill C-315.
I remind hon. members that Quebec was recognized as a nation in the House by all hon. members and by this government. If we believe in the concept of nationhood, it is essential to respect the language rights of Quebec's francophone majority. I want to tell members from Ontario, New Brunswick—actually not New Brunswick, because it is not a good example—and British Columbia, where the anglophone population forms a majority, that this bill will not apply to their provinces. It will only apply to Quebec, where the rights of the linguistic majority are not respected the way they should be. The bill directly addresses this issue.
I have a quote for those who think that this bill is unnecessary. It is taken from an article on the issue of English at National Bank in Quebec: “According to several sources, English has become the primary language of work for a large number of National Bank employees, particularly in the information technology or IT sector.” This is a major problem. When we think “Quebec”, we think “French”, but with such flaws in the legislation, we cannot move forward and correct the situation.
This is all I have to say on the bill. However, I want to congratulate my colleague again for proposing a great piece of legislation. I urge all hon. members to help our members and the workers in Quebec who must learn a language other than their mother tongue in order to work and keep their jobs. I urge all hon. members to rise in support of French.
Canada Labour Code
Private Members' Business
February 17th, 2012 / 1:55 p.m.
Philip Toone Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC
This bill deserves our attention and support. It was a mistake, or at least an accident of Canadian history that a constitution was created in Canada that divides jurisdictions into federal and provincial. Our Constitution of 1867 listed a number of provincial jurisdictions. The intention was very clear in 1867: labour laws would largely fall under provincial jurisdiction. However, there are provincial industries that are completely governed by the federal level. We have to move forward with regulations in those fields. I am talking about fields of work that might have escaped the attention of our hon. colleagues of 1867. Obviously, the Internet did not exist in 1867. That is why telecommunications fall under federal jurisdiction today. The Constitution of 1867 states that anything not listed therein will fall under federal jurisdiction. In 1867, the telephone, the Internet and so forth, obviously did not exist.
That is why today we have workers in Quebec employed by Rogers who do not have the same rights as people employed by smaller, provincially regulated companies in Quebec. It is an inequality that we must resolve. Today, with Bill C-315, we can resolve this matter. We can correct this long-standing mistake, which should have been corrected a long time ago. I am surprised that this House has not done anything about these shortcomings before now.
I believe that my colleague from Hochelaga said that it was a shortcoming to have created a situation in which workers in Quebec are not on equal footing. It is completely unacceptable. We cannot allow an employee at a credit union in Quebec to not have the same rights as an employee who works at a National Bank branch. Even the November 23, 2011, edition of Le Droit raised the fact that “English is quite present at the Banque Nationale”.
Surprisingly, I believe that most Quebeckers may not realize that the people they go to see every day, such as National Bank tellers, do not enjoy the same rights as those who work for provincially regulated companies. That is something we need to address. I believe that the bill before us provides an invaluable opportunity to make changes that have been needed for a long time. We should have addressed this issue a long time ago.
Labour law in Canada is not just about the rights and bills that we debate in the House. Today, we are talking about people's day-to-day lives. People have to feel comfortable in their workplace.
I will repeat the point raised by the member for Hochelaga. She said that labour law in Canada is not the same as labour law in Quebec. Those governed by Quebec's labour legislation enjoy a number of benefits not enjoyed by those governed by Canada's labour code. For example, she spoke about the right, during a strike, to not be replaced by scabs. We have that right in Quebec. This is really something that needs to be fixed, but it is not included in this bill. This bill deals with language. I would like to point out that there are many changes that should be made to Canada's labour law. And that may be one of the most important changes that we should address.
Today, we will discuss language rights. I will point out that there are many people who may not understand today that we are not talking about language rights in Canada.
The Official Languages Act will not be affected by today's bill. All the federally regulated services that are already offered in both official languages will continue to be where needed.
In my riding, many anglophones absolutely want to protect their linguistic rights, their culture and their heritage. These anglophone families have been in my riding for hundreds of years, and we are certainly not casting them aside. We will continue to protect their language. It is not a question here of taking away the rights of anglophones in Quebec. It is a question of giving concrete expression to the rights that francophones should have had a long time ago by virtue of the fact that they work in a federally regulated enterprise.
As I mentioned at the beginning of my speech, it is more by constitutional accident that telecommunications companies, for example, are governed by the federal government rather than the provinces. I am convinced that had the telephone and the Internet existed in 1867, they would have been made a provincial responsibility. However, they did not exist at the time. According to the Constitution, anything not already covered automatically falls under federal jurisdiction.
It may have been a mistake at the time, but what is important is to respect the Constitution and everyone's rights in order for all Canadians to be on an equal footing. In one province in particular, it just does not make sense that workers in one company do not have the same rights as workers in another.
I really want to make sure that people understand that Quebec has different responsibilities than the other provinces. The House has recognized it: Quebec is a nation. There are reasons why we said that. It must not be an empty gesture. If the government recognizes that Quebec is a nation, it must be consistent and put forward bills that prove that the House of Commons respects Quebeckers and the role they have to play in our federal system. Quebec is responsible for promoting the French language within the province, in North America and throughout the world.
Canada is a bilingual country founded by at least two nations. I would even say that we should go a bit further and include the first nations among the founding peoples, but that is another bill for another day. Today, we must focus on Bill C-315, the purpose of which is to respect the language rights of Quebec workers. It is not right that, in Quebec, people are being refused rights because they are francophone. In Quebec, a province that is made up of a large francophone majority, it is not right for collective agreements to be written in English only. We must address the major shortcomings in the Canada Labour Code. Amendments must be made. We must implement the changes that the hon. member for Trois-Rivières is proposing in this bill.
Today's bill is in agreement with the Conseil du patronat du Québec, the Quebec Employer's Council. Working effectively can only be good for business.
This is not just a matter of language rights or a matter of human rights, it is also a matter of common sense. In Canada, if a company wants to find workers, it is perfectly normal for that company to offer them working conditions that respect their living conditions and make it easier for them to integrate into the company. It is a matter of respect for the individual.
People often see themselves in terms of their work. They want to go to work knowing that their employer respects them. It has been mentioned a number of times that the rate of depression and even the suicide rate increase when people are unemployed. We want to create workplaces where people feel respected so that they can develop and so that we can have a united Canada that respects the language rights of all Canadians.
Canada Labour Code
Private Members' Business
February 17th, 2012 / 1:45 p.m.
Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Hochelaga, QC
The purpose of this bill is to amend the Canada Labour Code regarding French as the language of work in Quebec, in federally regulated businesses. I repeat: French as the language of work in Quebec in federally regulated businesses.
Why is it important for me to discuss this issue today? For over 15 years I helped to negotiate collective agreements in an effort to improve the lives of those around me. I came to realize that there is a flagrant omission in the Canada Labour Code, which affects thousands of workers. Although the majority of the population in Quebec speaks French, many francophone workers do not have the same language rights at work as their neighbours. This is incredible in 2012, but true.
Here is a concrete example: Aéroports de Montréal, an interprovincial and international transportation company, is subject to the Canada Labour Code. In 2004, Aéroports de Montréal carried out construction work and security guards were hired for surveillance purposes. In order to get the job, francophone workers had to complete unilingual English documents; there was no French version available. Another prerequisite: the guards had to be able to speak English. Yet, on the construction site, the language of work was French. All activities took place in French.
At around the same time, in 2004, workshops for municipal vehicles were built in Hochelaga. The City of Montreal is—obviously—not an enterprise that is subject to the Canada Labour Code. No francophone workers involved in the project were asked to complete forms in English, nor did they have to know English to work on the construction site where, again, all activities took place in French.
Fortunately for the Aéroports de Montréal security guards, the employees took a stand and contested these pointless practices. However, they had to defend their rights themselves because the Canada Labour Code did not offer them this protection.
Why did these two groups of employees working in the same city, at the same time, and in similar situations, not have the same rights? Because labour relations for employees of Aéroports de Montréal, whose activities are federally regulated, are governed by the Canada Labour Code and the Charter of the French Language and its consequential language rights do not apply. Quebec's labour relations laws do not apply to the employees of Aéroports de Montréal, while they do apply to employees of the City of Montréal, and the different codes have different rules. For example, unlike the Quebec code, the Canada Labour Code has no anti-strikebreaker provisions, more commonly known as “anti-scab” provisions. This is a great injustice that needs to be corrected as soon as possible.
Let us come back to the clauses related to language of work. Here is another example, a situation that many people can probably relate to. Madame Pelletier—an imaginary person—works in a chartered bank in Montreal east. Her cousin, Madame Aubé, works at a credit union a block away. Both cousins have the same training, work in similar jobs and work in completely francophone environments, but while Madame Aubé continues to advance her career, Madame Pelletier cannot apply for management jobs because she does not speak English. However, English is rarely spoken at her branch. Nevertheless, her bank requires that executives speak English. That is rather unfair, is it not?
Imagine a team working for a large telecommunications company in Amos, in the Abitibi region, that receives the text of an arbitral award rendered following a grievance that affects the team, but they receive it in a language that the team does not understand, because that language has never been required for their work in a francophone community. What do they do?
Bill C-315 will protect the linguistic rights of Quebec's francophone majority working in enterprises under federal jurisdiction. I already gave some examples of companies under federal jurisdiction—and so have other members: mills, radio and television broadcasters, interprovincial and international transportation companies, including rail, road, marine and air.
This would affect several thousand workers in Quebec. In his statement on Wednesday, the hon. member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice talked about “making Canada a strong...country in which Quebec has an important place”.
And yesterday, the Minister of Labour said:
Our government is committed to promoting and protecting the French language in Canada.
Our government is proud of Canadian bilingualism and our cultural diversity, and we remain fully committed to promoting the French language in Canada and abroad.
If they truly believe in this, here is an opportunity for the Conservatives to prove it and demonstrate that this is not just empty rhetoric. As my NDP colleague from Outremont often says, they need to walk the talk.
Recognizing the Quebec nation must not be merely symbolic. We do not need an advisory committee to examine the matter. We already know there are problems. While the intentions may have been good, it was money wasted. Other studies have already shown this. It is now time to act.
Bill C-315 proposes concrete results for Quebeckers without taking away the rights of other workers. It simply supports the rights of the francophone majority in Quebec, in the same way that the rights of the anglophone majority are protected outside Quebec .
Federal institutions, governed by the Official Languages Act, are not affected by this bill, because both official languages are already protected by the act. This is the case, for example, with the Port of Montreal, located partly in my riding, Hochelaga.
Nor would a business that provides services only to anglophone communities be asked to have all its documentation translated into French. That would not help anybody. This bill, however, would greatly improve the working environment for a great many francophone Quebeckers. On average, people spend at least a third of their lives at work—in our case, it is a little more—and an even higher percentage of their working lives. When you are not happy at work, the days seem long, and that obviously has a bearing on life outside work.
Having good working conditions is important to people’s mental and physical health and to the quality of their work. Even the Conseil du patronat du Québec is trying to convince businesses in the province that promoting the use of French in the workplace will actually benefit them. Bill C-315 is extremely important, therefore, on several levels: it provides a concrete and realistic solution to an increasingly evident problem; it confers rights upon thousands of workers without taking any rights away from anyone; it helps to create more healthy workplaces; it helps to foster more productive workplaces; it helps to protect and promote the French language; and it reaffirms the place of the Quebec nation in a fair and united Canada.
I therefore congratulate my colleague from Trois-Rivières for having taken up the cause in an effort to close a flagrant loophole in the Canada Labour Code, by proposing a fair and concrete solution.
I would strongly encourage members from all parties and provinces to show their solidarity with francophones in Quebec by supporting this bill.
Canada Labour Code
Private Members' Business
February 17th, 2012 / 1:40 p.m.
Pierre Jacob Brome—Missisquoi, QC
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to take part in the debate on Bill C-315, which seeks to amend the Canada Labour Code in order to put an end to a linguistic inconsistency in Quebec.
The bill, which was introduced by the hon. member for Trois-Rivières, is in line with what various professional organizations and francophone workers in Quebec are saying. Its purpose is to harmonize the language requirements that apply to federal businesses operating in Quebec with those in force in that province.
I would like to voice my unconditional support for this bill and explain why it should be passed by this House.
This bill will bring an end to a pattern that has been observed in federal businesses operating in Quebec, where francophone workers encounter language difficulties in their workplaces. Approximately 200,000 people are unable to take advantage of the provincial language requirements set out in the Charter of the French Language. They are therefore unable to use their mother tongue at work or are able to use it only sparingly. The Conseil du patronat du Québec found that the fact that employees are unable to use French in the workplace is a problem that affects the work environment. Now that it is aware of the problem, this year, the organization plans to hold a campaign to encourage these companies in Quebec to use French more often in their business activities.
It is essential to allow the members of the linguistic majority of a province to express themselves in their mother tongue. In Quebec, French is the predominant language, and francophone employees of federal businesses operating in Quebec have the right to use their mother tongue in the workplace. This bill will strengthen that right. The language rights of the other provinces have already been established, and I think it is important for Quebec to be able to take advantage of this harmonization with provincial language requirements.
I would like to add that this House adopted the following motion on November 27, 2006:
That this House recognize that the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada.
Allowing workers in federal businesses to speak French in their Quebec workplaces would help with Quebec's ongoing integration into Canada and would clearly illustrate the principle of asymmetrical federalism that is so dear to the official opposition.
I would like to quote the hon. member who introduced Bill C-315. His words provide a good summary of the spirit of this bill:
...[that] this bill is not dogmatic, but that it was designed to reflect a majority of Quebeckers and to ensure that they feel acknowledged at home in Quebec and also within the Canadian federation.
It has been said that this bill is contradictory. It is not. This is a pragmatic bill that strengthens the language rights of francophone workers—the linguistic majority in Quebec—while preserving the language rights of the province's linguistic minority, through clause 8.2 of the bill.
An exception is set out in clause 8.1 in order to respond to the social and economic reality of these federal businesses. In this case, everyone wins because Bill C-315 in no way infringes on the rights of the anglophone minority in Quebec.
I would like to add that this bill also authorizes employees to use a language other than French, on the condition that it not take precedence over French.
In closing, I would like to quote what the Minister of Labour had to say during question period on February 16, 2012.
Mr. Speaker, French is an integral part of our history, our identity, our daily lives, and it is one of the founding languages of Canada. Our government is committed to promoting and protecting the French language in Canada.
The solution is for the government to support this bill and vote in favour of it.