House of Commons Hansard #102 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was french.

Topics

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 416
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

What is the total amount of government funding since fiscal year 1998-1999 up to and including the current fiscal year, allocated within the constituency of Ottawa South, listing each department or agency, initiative, and amount?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 417
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

With respect to the isotope crisis due to the shutdown of the NRU reactor at Chalk River: (a) what is the government's long term plan to ensure reliable isotope production in Canada; (b) what is the government's short term plan to provide isotopes for Canadian tests; (c) will the government license the McMaster Nuclear Reactor as part of its short term solution; (d) how many medical tests have been postponed due to the shortage; (e) how many medical tests have taken place with substitute materials, such as thallium, since the shortage began; (f) what are the total additional costs to date incurred as a result of these alternate tests; and (g) will the government be reimbursing the provinces for these additional costs and, if so, when can they expect payment?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all Notices of Motions for the Production of Papers be allowed to stand.

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Opposition Motion—French Language Instruction in Quebec
Business of Supply
Government Orders

October 28th, 2009 / 3:35 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

moved:

That, in the opinion of the House, recognition that the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada means, in particular, that Quebec has the right to ensure that immigrants to Quebec must learn French first and foremost.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by noting that I will share my time with my friend and colleague, the member for St. John's East.

Last week’s Supreme Court of Canada ruling on language of instruction in Quebec reopened the debate on how to protect the French language and help it thrive in Canada.

Since the 1960s, there have been several attempts to require immigrants to go to French schools in order to protect the status of French as the common language in Quebec.

Following the resounding failure of freedom of choice under the Union nationale exactly 40 years ago, in 1969, Robert Bourassa's Liberals attempted to resolve the situation with Bill 22 in 1974. Images of children in tears being subjected to language tests to satisfy the law's requirement that children have sufficient knowledge of the English language to go to English school resulted in the law being repealed.

There was a shift from freedom of choice to sufficient knowledge of English, which was eventually dropped by three successive governments. It is worth noting that linguistic and language of instruction in Quebec issues contributed to the downfall of the Union nationale in 1970 and the defeat of Bourassa's government in 1976. Changes were made in 1977, under the Lévesque government, when Dr. Camille Laurin introduced Bill 101, the Charter of the French Language, and that is the legislation in force today.

Instead of the highly subjective language tests mandated under Bill 22—which we should make a note of because it will come up again—objective criteria were instituted. Bill 101's Quebec clause restricted access to English-language schools to children with at least one parent who had received English-language instruction in Quebec.

Following the unilateral patriation of Canada's Constitution without Quebec's consent, the Quebec clause was replaced by a Canada clause that allowed access to English-language schools for children with one parent who had received elementary schooling in English in Canada and children with a sibling who had received or was receiving English-language instruction.

The change to the Canada clause might be understandable because of the need for mobility within a country, but it is the last bit about brothers and sisters that throws everything off because of a completely unrealistic judgment from the Supreme Court of Canada.

Now, an immigrant family need only have enough money to pay for private, unsubsidized English school for one of their children, in order to be able to send all of their children to English public school in Quebec.

Not only is this ruling a monumental social error, allowing well-off immigrants to buy a right, but it is ill-advised constitutionally.

The seven judges can pay lip service to the importance of protecting French in Quebec, but in reality, they are killing any possibility of that. The judgment passes the buck to the Quebec parliament to find a solution. I sat on Quebec's Commission d'appel sur la langue d'enseignement, and I worked as a lawyer for the Conseil supérieur de la langue française and Alliance Quebec, and I know that it will be practically impossible to evaluate the good faith of every immigrant family and to conduct, as the Supreme Court suggested, a global qualitative assessment to determine whether the educational pathways in English—those are the terms they used—are genuine. It is completely absurd.

Unless we can protect Quebec's ability to direct the children of immigrants to French school, all of this will be a waste of time. That is why I encourage all the members in this House to support our motion today.

Opposition Motion—French Language Instruction in Quebec
Business of Supply
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I commend my colleague from Outremont for his stand on this issue. He said, and rightly so, that from now on immigrant families would be able to pay to send their children to school, thereby buying the right to stay in the English school system.

Does he not think that foundations from Canada or elsewhere could promote English by helping these families send their children to English schools even though some immigrants are poor?

Opposition Motion—French Language Instruction in Quebec
Business of Supply
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would respectfully indicate to you that I was sharing a total speaking time of 20 minutes. Your signal came after five minutes, which means that I had a quarter of the total time, not half.

In response to my colleague, I will tell him this. For those who are interested, paragraph 29 of the Supreme Court's decision contains the most relevant elements with regard to his question. Believe it or not, this is an actual quote from the decision:

The global assessment of the child`s educational pathway, which focuses on quality, is then based on a set of factors that are of varying importance depending on the specific facts of each case.

In other words, people are shown how to circumvent the law that the Supreme Court is reluctantly saying is necessary to protect French in Quebec. We all remember the Supreme Court under Brian Dickson or Antonio Lamer. The Supreme Court today is not of the same calibre as it was then. On the contrary, it is just as we see on television, that is the chief justice asking francophone lawyers to speak more slowly so that unilingual anglophone justices can understand better. That is the new reality of the Supreme Court and it is a tragedy for our country.

Opposition Motion—French Language Instruction in Quebec
Business of Supply
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

Order. It has come to my attention that there was a problem with the clock. The hon. member for Outremont had split his 20 minute speech, so he should have had 10 minutes. There was a problem with the clock and, in fact, it only started at four minutes. There are actually six minutes remaining for the member.

With my apologies, the member for Outremont has six minutes remaining in his speech.