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

9:20 a.m.

Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Graham Fraser

We have received a complaint on that matter and we will be investigating. We will also be preparing a report following that investigation.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Will it be made public at some point?

9:20 a.m.

Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Graham Fraser

That will depend on the complainant, not on me.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

If I filed a complaint, I too would get a copy of the report. Is that correct? In that case, I'm going to file a complaint. Thank you.

9:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

That's a somewhat awkward way of operating, but if it's the only way to get information to determine whether the decisions of the Parliament of Canada are actually being complied with, we'll do it.

9:20 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Michael Chong

Thank you, Mr. Bélanger.

Mr. Williamson, it's your turn.

March 15th, 2012 / 9:20 a.m.

Conservative

John Williamson New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Good morning, Mr. Fraser. We have not yet had the opportunity to speak outside this room, but I believe we will be able to do so within two weeks. I can't wait.

9:20 a.m.

Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Graham Fraser

Yes, we both have quite heavy schedules.

9:20 a.m.

Conservative

John Williamson New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Yes, that sometimes happens in Ottawa.

To begin with, I am grateful to you for being aware of the budgetary situation here in Ottawa. I believe that the requests you have submitted are quite reasonable. Thank you for that.

In committee, here and elsewhere, witnesses often tell us that we must not touch their programs. I believe you are aware that changes are taking place. I would like to ask you a few questions. I will keep going until the chair cuts me off.

Are there any programs for which you think resources have not been properly used or spent, and what changes would you make to those programs? I'm talking about the roadmap.

9:20 a.m.

Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Graham Fraser

In fact, I heard about situations where it was determined that amounts were not spent by reading the transcript of remarks by witnesses who appeared here—but whom I cannot name. I can't repeat those remarks. However, all the elements of the roadmap that we are considering were established for good reasons, but it is becoming quite difficult to evaluate the results.

Our staff has gone over the reports on plans and priorities and the departmental performance reports. All we can say is that funding has indeed been determined. In some cases, there is no mention, while in others there is information to the effect that such and such an amount has been spent. Whatever the case may be, this is not a sufficiently specific instrument to conduct the evaluation you are requesting.

9:20 a.m.

Conservative

John Williamson New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Thank you.

Are there any aspects of the present roadmap that you would like to see allocated or done differently after 2013?

9:20 a.m.

Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Graham Fraser

As I emphasized earlier, I believe that some elements should not be subject to renewal every five years, but should instead be included permanently in departmental budgets. The questions arising about the relevance of emphasizing certain programs, like the evaluation you are conducting here today, may be somewhat existential in nature, but that nevertheless adds a certain amount of instability, uncertainty. I believe that cancelling a number of roadmap programs would be disastrous. In this kind of evaluation, we could determine whether those programs should be permanent, whether they should be included in the permanent budgets of a department.

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

John Williamson New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Very well.

Mr. Chair, how much time do I have left?

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Michael Chong

You have three minutes left.