House of Commons Hansard #106 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was election.

Topics

Francophones Outside Quebec
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member really wants to know what I said, he can read the minutes of the committee in which I said, following the comments by the minister, Ms. Beaudouin, that the problem of anglicization exists throughout the country, including in the Province of Quebec.

Francophones Outside Quebec
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage has said a lot of things, so many things that she was awarded the Montreal Gazette 's brickbat of the week. No mean feat.

Francophones Outside Quebec
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Francophones Outside Quebec
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

I would recall some statistics for her: the rate of assimilation of francophones in New Brunswick is 8.7 per cent; in British Columbia, 72 per cent; in western Canada, 55 per cent; in Ontario, 37 per cent and in the City of Hamilton, her city, 65 per cent. These are Statistics Canada's figures. And this is why associations representing francophones in English Canada have criticized the minister's remarks.

Instead of concealing the problem, by promoting bilingualism, does the minister not think it is time to recognize the facts, to open her eyes and to perhaps offer some solutions?

Francophones Outside Quebec
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, if the member is really interested in the well-being of the francophone community across Canada, I would ask him to contact his counterpart, the Quebec minister of education, who has introduced a system that discriminates against francophones outside Quebec in French language post-secondary education.

Francophones Outside Quebec
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec introduced a system of higher costs for out of country students, as did Ontario. In Ontario, it is good management; in Quebec, it is discrimination.

In the case of out of province students, Quebec charges them the average cost of education in Canada, which means that it costs even less for an Ontarian than studying in Toronto. Those are the facts. It is time the minister woke up. If she wants to talk money, we will talk money.

Does the minister not think that one way to meet her responsibilities, because she does have responsibilities although she may not realize it, is to look carefully at the use the other provinces make of the money intended to go to educating official language minorities that went to other things, like heating schools or setting up public washrooms in Kingston?

Francophones Outside Quebec
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I asked the hon. member, who, I assume, supports the policy of his colleague, the hon. member for Québec-Est, who supports a policy of bilingualism across the country, which we support, whether he is prepared to acknowledge that the education policy of his counterpart in Quebec City, Pauline Marois, discriminates against 1,500 students registered at Laval, the University of Sherbrooke and the University of Montreal. Most of them are francophones who wish to continue their studies in their own language.

Why is the Government of Quebec a part of such discrimination against Canada's francophones?

Francophones Outside Quebec
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Québec-Est, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister keeps hammering at Quebec because she cannot do her own job properly. That is the problem.

Marcel Beaudry, president of the National Capital Commission, said before the Joint Committee on Official Languages that Ottawa was, to all intents and purposes, a bilingual city. However, only last summer the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne condemned the national capital's English unilingualism.

Considering that the assimilation rate of francophones within the federal capital has reached 30 per cent, does the Minister of Canadian Heritage not think it is high time she reminded Mr. Beaudry that it is part of the NCC's mandate to actively promote linguistic duality?

Francophones Outside Quebec
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, one thing is certain and that is that someone who refers to francophones outside Quebec as paraplegics in wheelchairs is hardly in a position to say anything about the state of the French language.

That being said, what I said, and what is falsely denied by the hon. member for Québec-Est is that now, and this was not the case 30 years ago, 99 per cent of francophones outside Quebec who wish to be educated in their language have that possibility, thanks to federal policies.

Of course the policies are not perfect. But if the hon. member wants to victimize francophones in this country, I think he is barking up the wrong tree.

Francophones Outside Quebec
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Québec-Est, QC

Mr. Speaker, I challenge the minister to prove that 99 per cent of francophones outside Quebec have access to education in French, when there are only 50 per cent. This is a shameless falsehood on the part of the minister who is supposed to be responsible for this sector.

Francophones Outside Quebec
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Francophones Outside Quebec
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Dear colleague, I suggest it would be more appropriate to refrain from using words like "falsely" or "falsehood". I would ask you to be very careful about your choice of words.

Francophones Outside Quebec
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Québec-Est, QC

NCC leases provide that tenants who are businesses or government agencies must advertise and provide services in both official languages. According to Mr. Beaudry, they cannot act on these clauses because they have never been enforced.

Are we to conclude that the Official Languages Act is no longer valid because it has never been properly enforced in Canada, outside Quebec?

Francophones Outside Quebec
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, you will understand my pleasant astonishment at the spectacle of the Bloc Quebecois' supporting the use of bilingual signs across the country. We think that is an important step forward.

If the member for Quebec Est is honest in the comment that he made the other night to the committee that he supports bilingualism across the country, in every part of the country, including the province of Quebec, I would encourage him to intervene with the minister of education in Quebec who has introduced a two tier system of tuition which discriminates against francophones outside Quebec.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

November 25th, 1996 / 2:20 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, it looks like the finance minister's harmonization road show hit a pot hole last week, then the wheels fell off, then it rolled over and then it exploded in the ditch.

First, Greenberg stores announced they are closing 5 stores in New Brunswick and a possible 19 others in Nova Scotia and they have placed the blame squarely on the harmonized GST.

Then we hear about the 16,000 New Brunswickers who have signed a petition to dump the tax and then a report comes out showing how rents in Nova Scotia will go up, hurting the old, the young and the poor, those least able to absorb a tax hike.

Finally, at the end of the week Ontario's finance minister put a torch to any possibility of Canada's largest province hitching a ride on this Hindenburg.

Why will the finance minister not finally admit that his hope for a nationwide harmonization deal is dead? Will he kill it now in Atlantic Canada before it kills any more jobs?