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 language.

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

10:35 a.m.

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

Richard Clément

My colleague will speak after me.

In general, we could certainly promote that type of research through activities like those we always do. There is the summer university for young researchers. Of course, it could include researchers who work for the federal government or provincial governments. A number of research companies would also be interested.

There are two reasons to do that. First of all, we have to bring them to the same place for a certain number of days or perhaps a few weeks to allow them to meet, exchange information and create a national network of language skills and research into languages in all aspects of linguistic duality, including learning and maintaining it. Then, we have to bring together the most competent people in the field, the top researchers, not only Canadians, but also people who would come from elsewhere in the world.

It's a start and that is how networks are created in other fields, like history or geography. People meet regularly by creating these types of links. Obviously, regular publication of academic journals that focus on these issues requires some financial support and infrastructure.

That is what comes to mind.

May 1st, 2012 / 10:40 a.m.

Hilaire Lemoine Executive in Residence, Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute, University of Ottawa

In the past, the federal government had much greater expertise in research and analysis within its offices. In the past five to eight years, the government has lost those skills. In my opinion, it should call on research institutes to acquire that expertise.

Furthermore, I will take this opportunity to come back to Mr. Gourde's question. It is true that there are more bilingual people than in the past. However, it does not make sense to me that after 40 years, Canada still has a rate of bilingualism of 18% or 19% among young people. It really does not make sense. I think we should have set a bilingualism target a long time ago. We cover that in our document. However, we should not just set a target, because there are consequences.

First, it must be done jointly with the people responsible for the education of the people concerned in the provinces. Then, there will also have to be a change of approach in our programs. Finally, we must make young people aware of the advantages of bilingualism. I haven't seen any such campaign for a number of years.

In my opinion, we shouldn't take for granted that there's more awareness of bilingualism or that the level of bilingualism is higher in Canada than it was 15 years ago. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Élaine Michaud Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

My next question is for the representatives of the FCFA.

During your presentation, you told us that the Roadmap had really focused on services to citizens, as we see in different levels of government, provincially as well as federally.

If I understood correctly, you haven't received additional funding to provide those services.

10:40 a.m.

President, Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada

Marie-France Kenny

There was a very small amount of funding.

One thing must be remembered. When initiatives are added, whether it is the Roadmap or something else, we receive money for a specific project, for example hiring a person to lead the project, but in terms of the whole administrative aspect, there is very little strengthening of our capacities.

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Élaine Michaud Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Could you talk briefly about the additional constraints or obligations imposed on organizations by this focus on services to citizens?

10:40 a.m.

President, Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada

Marie-France Kenny

We are called on more and more. Senator Comeau was discussing it with me this week. Organizations like the FANE, in Nova Scotia, are called on more and more by citizens who want services. We offer those services.

Organizations don't necessarily have more employees. They may have received a little funding so a person can coordinate a project. Nevertheless, we haven't had capacity strengthening for everything that is done in terms of services to citizens or administration.

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Élaine Michaud Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

We've just talked about research. Could you tell us what the importance of research would be in a future roadmap for your communities?

10:40 a.m.

Director General, Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada

Suzanne Bossé

Research is essential and absolutely necessary. It is a major aspect. It is impossible for communities to define the progress, the advances or the challenges that remain if there is no research or evidence with which to work.

To give you an example, after the census Statistics Canada published the post-censal survey, which required funding. This document allowed us to emphasize certain aspects of development, whether it be in health, in early childhood or in other sectors.

I therefore think it would be very important for the next roadmap to include research. This was shown over the course of the research symposium organized last fall by the Official Languages Secretariat.

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Michael Chong

Thank you, Ms. Bossé.

Thank you to all of our witnesses for appearing.

I would also like to thank Mr. Bélanger for his work on the committee. I wish him good luck.

Thank you very much for all the work you've done on this committee. I wish you well.

Without further ado, this meeting is adjourned.