Evidence of meeting #32 for Official Languages in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was roadmap.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Graham Fraser  Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
  • Sylvain Giguère  Assistant Commissioner, Policy and Communications Branch, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
  • Lise Cloutier  Assistant Commissioner, Corporate Management Branch, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

9:50 a.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Would it be advantageous to promote Canadian unity at those festivities?

March 15th, 2012 / 9:50 a.m.

NDP

Dan Harris Scarborough Southwest, ON

On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, I believe we're currently studying the road map on linguistic duality, not the Canada 150 celebrations. That is a suggested study topic for the committee to undertake when we've completed this study. Perhaps the member can keep it relevant to the study we're currently undertaking.

9:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Michael Chong

Thank you for that point of order. I've given members a great deal of latitude in asking questions.

9:50 a.m.

NDP

Dan Harris Scarborough Southwest, ON

We've had 10 minutes of questions on a study we're not doing right now.

9:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Michael Chong

That is true, but there have been many questions about Radio-Canada, and things like that. I think if it's tangentially related to the road map it's permissible. I'm going to allow Monsieur Gourde to continue.

Thank you for your intervention.

Monsieur Gourde.

9:55 a.m.

Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Graham Fraser

Could you repeat the question?

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Yes. To respond to Mr. Harris, I note that, at the start of my questions, I talked about the importance of the festivities in the context of the next roadmap. There are no doubt synergies to develop in that area.

Would it be advantageous to promote Canadian unity at the upcoming celebrations?

9:55 a.m.

Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Graham Fraser

Absolutely. I believe it is essential for linguistic duality to be an integral part of those celebrations, both when they are planned and when they are held.

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Michael Chong

All right.

Thank you, Mr. Gourde and Mr. Fraser.

Mr. Harris.

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Dan Harris Scarborough Southwest, ON

Thank you.

Thank you, Mr. Fraser and colleagues, for appearing today again on the same study.

How many months ago did you last present to the committee?

9:55 a.m.

Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Graham Fraser

I was before the committee in the fall for my annual report.

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Dan Harris Scarborough Southwest, ON

That's right. Of course, we had already undertaken this study.

In your time as Official Languages Commissioner, have you seen many studies conducted by this committee that have taken as long as this one to undertake?

9:55 a.m.

Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Graham Fraser

It's not one of the things that I've been evaluating. I report to Parliament. I don't evaluate parliamentary activities, so I would not....

What I've found in our own organization is that what is important is not the length of time a study takes but the quality of the study that is produced.

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Dan Harris Scarborough Southwest, ON

Certainly, from what we heard from Heritage Canada witnesses, they think the study will be of such quality that they don't need to consult anywhere else, but I completely understand that you can't comment on that, having received complaints about that.

Following up on, perhaps, some of the other testimony that Heritage Canada witnesses gave at that same meeting, they brought up that they are now using a filter with staff to determine whether they have official language consequences or responsibilities. Of course we've asked them to provide that to the committee, so we can determine whether it's of value or not.

They did mention one other thing, and it was quite interesting that they were able to quote you directly. I asked about your fears and concerns about budgetary cuts and the unintended consequences of said cuts. They were able to quote those exact words back, which I thought was great, but at the same time, they have not done anything or developed any kind of plan to monitor whether there could be unintended consequences. Could you perhaps comment on that?

9:55 a.m.

Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Graham Fraser

Let me just repeat the position that is familiar to you. I think it is extremely important that, when institutions are engaging in the budget-cutting process, they do an evaluation of the impact, and often the only way one can do that evaluation is by checking with the people who will be affected.

Let me give you an example—