Evidence of meeting #39 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 community.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Marie-France Kenny  President, Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada
  • Noel Burke  Interim President, Quebec Community Groups Network
  • Sylvia Martin-Laforge  Director General, Quebec Community Groups Network
  • Richard Clément  Director and Associate Dean, Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute, University of Ottawa
  • Suzanne Bossé  Director General, Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada
  • Hilaire Lemoine  Executive in Residence, Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute, University of Ottawa

9:20 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Tomorrow, we should discuss this organization that wants to meet with us.

9:20 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Michael Chong

Fine.

9:20 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

He does not know what to do with the Roadmap.

I'm sorry we were not at your annual meeting in Montreal, but I think you understand there was a leadership convention in Toronto and it was pretty hard not to be there. We did send some people to attend, but we wanted to be there.

Ms. Kenny, representatives from the FCFA as well as the QCGN are recommending that there be another Roadmap or that it continue. You are saying that this has been positive. Although it may not have yielded all of the desired results, you feel that it would be positive to continue the Roadmap. Is that accurate, Ms. Kenny?

9:20 a.m.

President, Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada

Marie-France Kenny

Yes, indeed we do.

Moreover, we are recommending that the three components I alluded to, namely our space, our population and our development, be more aligned with the Strategic Community Plan.

I will let the representatives from QCGN respond, but I think that they too have gone through this priority-setting exercise. Since we have each set priorities for ourselves, we felt that it would be important that a new Roadmap be in line with the priorities of each community.

9:20 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Burke, do you wish to add something to this matter?

9:20 a.m.

Interim President, Quebec Community Groups Network

Noel Burke

I would add that the work that has been accomplished through the previous road map has enabled us to come to a climax this year with the establishment of priorities among the various English-speaking communities of Quebec. That's a challenge we have met, and it's incumbent on the government to continue that support, because I think we're going across a threshold that will make a very successful and sustainable community for us. We're convinced of that. So we would absolutely support the continuation and renewal of the road map.

9:20 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

The representatives from the University of Ottawa are also in favour of this. I know that you did in fact state this. Nevertheless, this bears repeating because we still do not know whether or not this will occur. I truly would like to know how you feel with respect to this situation. You are therefore in favour of another Roadmap?

9:20 a.m.

Director and Associate Dean, Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute, University of Ottawa

Richard Clément

That is correct. The Roadmap is an action plan, but it is also a financial plan that is absolutely crucial if we are to continue this initiative.

9:20 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Let us now talk about the Roadmap.

You have certainly heard from people reporting on what has been going on in these meetings. Representatives from various organizations and communities have told us that they had not been consulted about the Roadmap. I am not referring to you, as a national organization, but rather to the communities themselves.

Would you agree with these community representatives? Last week, certain individuals from the north told us clearly that they had not been consulted. It has also been said here—and I would like to hear your thoughts on the matter—that the government expected our committee to hold the consultations and felt that this would be adequate. Would you agree?

9:25 a.m.

President, Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada

Marie-France Kenny

As far as the next Roadmap goes, I completely agree with you, we were not consulted. As far as we know, no members of the FCFA or the Leaders' Forum were formally consulted.

9:25 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Do you think it would be necessary to meet with communities if there were another Roadmap? That is fundamental, we must work with communities.

How can the government work with communities, whether we are talking about francophones outside Quebec, Acadians or anglophones within Quebec, if they have not been consulted?

9:25 a.m.

President, Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada

Marie-France Kenny

Without a doubt, we must be consulted. Such consultation is essential so we can work together in order to align both government priorities and those of the communities and ensure that the next Roadmap meets their needs. Frankly, we are in the best position to do so since we are on the ground. In both cases, we deliver the services. It follows that we are aware of needs on the ground. In our opinion, it is essential that we be consulted. I am not talking about the FCFA, but rather the network.

9:25 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Ms. Martin-Laforge, what do you have to say?

9:25 a.m.

Director General, Quebec Community Groups Network

Sylvia Martin-Laforge

Our president asked me to answer this one.

I think a blended approach in consultation is important so that everyone understands they have been consulted. In the English-speaking community over the past many years, the connection of consultation to the road map has not always been understood. As my president said a few minutes ago, in the last year or so—and certainly with the priority-setting conference in March—in the community at large, individuals and organizations have understood better the need to work together to give a common understanding of what we want as a community. So I think the QCGN over the past years has done what it was supposed to do in getting community input on the road map.

I think the democratization of consultation needs to be continued. We have to see how we can get to the individual so those people can give input on what they need. As a result of March 24-25, we're starting to get to the level of the individual, as far as feeling that the Government of Canada has an impact with a program like the road map.

9:25 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Ms. Kenny, in your brief, you discuss the importance of immigration. What do you think of the closing of immigration offices, such as the one in Moncton for example?

We know that Quebec is heavily involved in immigration. It has several representatives on site, in various countries, where the rest of Canada is not represented. With all due respect, I believe that when Quebec works on immigration, it does so in the interests of Quebec. Quebec was handed a responsibility with respect to immigration. However, when offices are being closed in Moncton or Prince Edward Island, do you believe that goes against the interests of minority francophones? I mention francophones because they are the most affected.

For example, in Prince Edward Island, there are immigration problems. The office will close and there will not even be one in Moncton. People will have to deal with the Halifax office.