An Act for the Substantive Equality of French and English and the Strengthening of the Official Languages Act

An Act to amend the Official Languages Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts

This bill was last introduced in the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2021.

Sponsor

Mélanie Joly  Liberal

Status

Second reading (House), as of June 15, 2021
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Official Languages Act to, among other things,

(a) codify certain interpretative principles regarding language rights;

(b) provide that the Minister of Canadian Heritage is responsible for exercising leadership within the Government of Canada in relation to the implementation of that Act;

(c) provide that section 16 of that Act applies to the Supreme Court of Canada;

(d) provide for Government of Canada commitments to

(i) protect and promote French,

(ii) contribute to an estimate of the number of children whose parents are rights holders under section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,

(iii) advance opportunities for members of English and French linguistic minority communities to pursue quality learning in their own language throughout their lives, including from early childhood to post-secondary education, and

(iv) advance the use of English and French in the conduct of Canada’s external affairs;

(e) provide for certain positive measures that federal institutions may take to implement certain Government of Canada commitments, including measures to

(i) promote and support the learning of English and French, and

(ii) support sectors that are essential to enhancing the vitality of English and French linguistic minority communities and protect and promote the presence of strong institutions serving those communities;

(f) provide for certain measures that the Minister of Canadian Heritage may take to advance the equality of status and use of English and French in Canadian society;

(g) provide that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration is required to adopt a policy on francophone immigration;

(h) provide that the Government of Canada recognizes the importance of cooperating with provincial and territorial governments;

(i) provide for rights respecting the use of French as a language of service and a language of work in relation to federally regulated private businesses in Quebec and regions with a strong francophone presence;

(j) provide that the Treasury Board is required to monitor and audit federal institutions for their compliance with policies, directives and regulations relating to the official languages, evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of policies and programs of federal institutions relating to the official languages and provide certain information to the public and to employees of federal institutions;

(k) enable the Commissioner of Official Languages to enter into compliance agreements and, in certain cases, to make orders; and

(l) permit employees of federally regulated private businesses in Quebec and regions with a strong francophone presence to make a complaint to the Commissioner of Official Languages with respect to rights and duties in relation to language of work, and permit that Commissioner to refer the complaint to the Canada Industrial Relations Board in certain circumstances.

It also makes related and consequential amendments to other Acts.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Act for the Substantive Equality of Canada’s Official LanguagesGovernment Orders

May 20th, 2022 / 1:15 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Maxime Blanchette-Joncas Bloc Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased today to speak to Bill C-13, which is particularly important to the Bloc Québécois.

Today's strategy from the Liberals, supported by the NDP, was to move time allocation on a bill that is vital to protecting French in Quebec as well as in the rest of Canada.

Bill C‑13, which is currently under consideration, represents the culmination of efforts to modernize the Official Languages Act. This objective is set out in the mandate letter of the current Minister of Official Languages, as well as that of her predecessor.

In the September 2020 Speech from the Throne, the government recognized the special status of French and its responsibility to protect and promote it, both outside and within Quebec.

The stage seemed to be set for the federal government to protect French in Quebec. It appeared the government would include the reform, requests and demands of those dealing with the decline of their language on a daily basis, namely Quebeckers.

However, in both Bill C-32 from the previous Parliament and the current version, the Official Languages Act reform completely ignores the demands made unanimously by the Quebec National Assembly and the Bloc Québécois about protecting French in Quebec.

In fact, the federal government's bill flies in the face of the Quebec National Assembly's Bill 96. One of the objectives of Bill 96 is to extend the application of the Charter of the French Language throughout Quebec. Despite that, in their interventions and communications, the Liberals claim to support Bill 101 and brag about being champions of the French language.

Since the Prime Minister and Liberal members claim that they have always supported the Charter of the French Language, how can they introduce a bill that will prevent the Quebec government from applying that charter within its own territory? Based on a 2007 Supreme Court ruling, provincial laws can apply to federally regulated businesses as long as they do not directly violate any applicable federal law.

Quebec has long been asking Ottawa to allow Bill 101 to apply to federally regulated businesses based on that ruling. A resolution supported by all parties in the Quebec National Assembly and adopted on December 1, 2020, stated that the Charter of the French Language “must be applied to companies operating under federal jurisdiction within Québec” and called on the Government of Canada to “make a formal commitment to work with Québec to ensure the implementation of this change”.

The message could not be any clearer, but what did the Liberals do at the first opportunity? They imposed on Quebec a language regime that subjects all federally regulated businesses to the Official Languages Act, while at the same time destroying Quebec's ability to apply its Charter of the French Language to businesses operating on its territory.

That should not be taken lightly. There is even a serious and real danger for French in Quebec with Bill C‑13. In the event of a difference between the federal regime, which is based on bilingualism, and Quebec's regime, which is based on the primacy of French, the federal regime would prevail.

The Minister of Official Languages can repeat as much as she wants that Bill C‑13 will protect French in Quebec as well as Bill 101, but that is not true. It is factually incorrect.

Bill C‑13 seeks to apply the bilingualism regime to Air Canada. Francophones will be given the right to complain in the event that the right to work in French is breached. It has been shown many times that this model cannot protect the rights of francophones to work and be served in their language. Despite the thousands of complaints against Air Canada over the years, we see that for these non-compliant organizations, French is nothing but an irritant. How will extending this model to all federally regulated private business stop the decline of French?

What is more, Bill C‑13 confirms the right to work in English at federally regulated businesses in Quebec. I repeat, the Official Languages Act is reinforcing bilingualism, not protecting French. Some will say that the bilingualism approach seems reasonable at first glance. It leaves it up to the individual to interact in the language of their choice. However, when we take into account the linguistic and demographic dynamics in which that choice is made, this approach has devastating and irreversible consequences on French. Do not take it from me. It is science.

Professor Guillaume Rousseau from Université de Sherbrooke explained this phenomenon to the Standing Committee on Official Languages in February:

...virtually all language policy experts around the world believe that only [an approach that focuses on just one official language] can guarantee the survival and development of a minority language....

The...approach may seem generous, since individuals may choose which language to use among many, but it is in fact the strongest language that will dominate....In real terms, the federal government should do less for English and more for French in Quebec.

As my party's science and innovation critic, I must insist on the importance of basing our decisions on scientific data. Ottawa must listen to reason, listen to the science and respect the evidence. Science cannot be invoked only when it suits our purposes and ignored when it does not, and the Prime Minister needs to take that into account.

When we look around the House of Commons, we quickly see that the Liberal Party stands completely alone when it comes to the application of Bill 101 to federally regulated businesses. It has always been easy for the Prime Minister to say that he is in favour of Bill 101 as long as that did not require him to take any action, politically speaking. Today, it is clear that French is declining in Quebec and Canada and that its decline is accelerating so fast that the Prime Minister himself has been forced to recognize it and express concern. He still says that he is in favour of Bill 101, but he is not walking the talk.

We are witnessing yet another attempt by the Liberal government to create a wide, untenable gap. On the one hand, the government wants to be the champion of French because it feels the public pressure to protect French better, including in Quebec. On the other hand, it completely refuses to let Quebec control its own language policy. The result is that the Liberal Party now stands alone in its stubbornness. We saw that when my colleague from Salaberry—Suroît introduced Bill C-238, which seeks to subject all federally regulated businesses to the Charter of the French Language. The Bloc, the Conservative Party and the NDP supported it, but the Liberal Party did not.

Let me make this clear. The Bloc Québécois will not support Bill C‑13 unless and until amendments are made that enable Quebec to be the master of its own language policy. The federal government must acknowledge that the Quebec nation is grappling with anglicization, and it must introduce a differentiated approach that recognizes and respects Quebec's unique linguistic reality. That is why explicit recognition that the Charter of the French Language takes precedence over the Official Languages Act for federally regulated businesses in Quebec is a minimum requirement. That is what the Bloc Québécois and the National Assembly of Quebec want, so that is what Quebec needs.

Bill C-13—Time Allocation MotionOfficial Languages ActGovernment Orders

May 20th, 2022 / 10:30 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Madam Speaker, if we look at the components of Bill C-32, our action plan and Bill C-13, it is clear that the common thread is the desire to achieve substantive equality. That is why we are going further with our bill. We want to ensure that we make our contribution to achieving substantive equality. It will not happen overnight. We recognize that French is in decline in this country. French is in decline in Canada. That is why we are moving forward with an ambitious bill. We absolutely want to correct this situation.

Bill C-13—Time Allocation MotionOfficial Languages ActGovernment Orders

May 20th, 2022 / 10:25 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Madam Speaker, I would like to once again thank my colleague who has been working in this field for several decades. I am extremely grateful to him for that and for the work that he does here in Ottawa as the chair of the official languages caucus.

Positive measures are indeed a very important part of Bill C-13. The stakeholders we spoke to really wanted to see improvements in the definition and handling of positive measures compared to former Bill C-32. That is exactly what we did.

We took care to closely examine every word and every comma in our new bill because we want to ensure that it will really help official language minority communities. We want the positive measures to be clearly defined, because they are a very important component.

Bill C-13—Time Allocation MotionOfficial Languages ActGovernment Orders

May 20th, 2022 / 10:05 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Madam Speaker, just the opposite is true.

Our government is firmly committed to protecting and promoting French across the country, including in Quebec. We recognize that there has been a decline in the use of French across the country, including in Quebec. That is why we are moving forward with this new version of our bill.

The former Bill C-32 was introduced last June. Since being appointed Minister of Official Languages, I have had the good fortune and privilege of meeting many of the people who have been working on this file for years. Based on the information we have received, we can say that they are very happy with the new version of the bill, which they think has more teeth.

That is why we really want to ensure that parliamentarians can continue the debate at the Standing Committee on Official Languages and move Bill C-13 forward.

I would remind the House that following the committee study, the bill will come back to the House before going to the Senate. I look forward to ensuring that this great bill receives royal assent as soon as possible.

An Act for the Substantive Equality of Canada's Official LanguagesGovernment Orders

May 12th, 2022 / 11:10 p.m.
See context

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor LiberalMinister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Madam Speaker, over the past few months, I have had the privilege of meeting with a number of stakeholders who have shared the improvements they want to see in this bill compared to the old Bill C‑32. I believe we have incorporated those improvements in Bill C‑13.

I really appreciated the comments by the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, and I would like to know what recommendations she would make and what amendments she would like to see to Bill C‑13.

An Act for the Substantive Equality of Canada's Official LanguagesGovernment Orders

May 12th, 2022 / 11 p.m.
See context

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I want to start by acknowledging that I am on the traditional territory of the WSANEC nation in my riding of Saanich—Gulf Islands.

Since we are talking about languages this evening, I want to point out that the word “saanich” comes from an indigenous language called Sencoten. The word was mispronounced by the Europeans, which resulted in the change that explains the name of my riding today.

We are here this evening to debate Bill C‑13. It has been a long, hard-fought journey to get protections for both official languages here in Canada. As we have heard, the French language is obviously threatened because it is the minority language in Canada and in North America. Quebec culture represents the largest francophone community in our country, but it is not the only one. There are the Acadians in the Atlantic provinces and there are other francophone communities all across Canada, such as the Franco-Manitoban and Franco-Albertan communities. There is also a francophone community in British Columbia. It is not big, but it is important.

The Official Languages Act was adopted in 1969. That was a long time ago. It declared that French and English were the two official languages of Parliament and the Government of Canada. The next step came in 1982, with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which reaffirmed French and English as the official languages of Canada. It has been 30 years since the last major reform to this legislation.

The government introduced Bill C‑32 during the previous Parliament, in 2021, but it died on the Order Paper when the election was called last August. We now have Bill C‑13, which was introduced in March 2022. This is my first opportunity to speak to this bill. We clearly need to address the decline of French in this country because French is still threatened, in spite of all of the work that has been done on official languages in Canada.

This bill has been well received. The Commissioner of Official Langauges said, “I have read the proposed measures and believe that they will breathe new life into efforts to protect and promote both of our official languages”. That notion of protecting and promoting French and of promoting and supporting the learning of English and French is a difference between Bill C‑32 from the previous Parliament and the current Bill C‑13. It is nevertheless clear that it is primarily the French language that needs to be protected. The bill also talks about promoting the French language, supporting francophone communities and, for the first time, protecting the right to work and receive services in French.

Bill C-13 is really two bills in one. It amends the Official Languages Act and enacts the use of French in federally regulated private businesses act, while making related amendments to other acts. This is an important effort for the protection and use of French in private companies.

As we have seen in tonight's debate, the Bloc Québécois will not be supporting this effort concerning Quebec. It is right to ask that French be protected in private businesses in Quebec. It is clear that the French language must be used in francophone majority regions. The bill does raise some issues, but I think we will be able to improve it in committee.

Bill C-13 expands and strengthens the powers of the Commissioner of Official Languages. It is a good idea to give him more powers and to strengthen his role by giving him the right to present and find solutions to violations related to the use of the French language in Canada.

This legislation also includes an effort to recognize indigenous languages. It is not much. It does not introduce new powers or new rights. However, the preamble of the amended act now includes these words in the way of recognition: “of maintaining and enhancing the use of languages other than English and French and reclaiming, revitalizing and strengthening Indigenous languages”.

I think that is a step in the right direction. We need to look to other legislation and other reconciliation programs to protect the most at-risk languages, our country's indigenous languages.

For unilingual anglophones who are following this debate, I cannot say how important it is for all of us who do not have French as a first language to keep trying to learn. I know that a lot of the members here tonight have tried, as I have, too. I love speaking French and I love improving my French. Late at night it gets a little more difficult, but it certainly improves and enriches our society.

It is not for nothing that French is known as the language of Molière. It is a beautiful language, and we need to make sure that Canada's identity on this continent, which is really one of the things that distinguishes us in an important way from, I do not know if we can call it American culture, but what passes for culture, not to be too self-satisfied about the richness of Canadian society in entertainment and music. We are, as anglophone Canadians, enormously enriched by the existence of the Quebec fact of the francophone reality that we are not a unilingual country. The more we protect and raise up indigenous languages and hang on to them, that will also improve who we are as a people and enrich us all.

An Act for the Substantive Equality of Canada's Official LanguagesGovernment Orders

May 12th, 2022 / 10:45 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Marilène Gill Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to say from the outset that French in Quebec and outside Quebec is alive and well.

In the House, I sometimes get the impression from some speeches that French is being dismissed as a dying language. People have brought up certain monuments from the past. I agree that we can be proud, but French is not a thing of the past and the Bloc Québécois can attest that it has a future. However, I think Bill C‑13 is a step backward.

I will explain what I mean, as some of my colleagues have, but perhaps on a bit more of a personal level. We all have a very close and personal connection to our mother tongue, and even to what I did outside the House. In my professional life, this was always very important.

I mentioned a step backward.

First there was Bill C-32, and today we are debating Bill C‑13. We can all agree that sometimes bills are two sides of the same coin. They do look somewhat similar. There is talk of urgency and improvements, but urgency is relative given that the Liberals decided in 2021 to shut down Parliament and call an election just after the Minister of Official Languages had introduced Bill C‑32. Some changes were made. I remember hearing a colleague say earlier that the previous bill was really quite extraordinary, so much so that they decided to rewrite it in the next Parliament.

We keep hearing about equality. To me, “equality” is a pretty strong term. It is not “equity” or “the possibility of equity”. I do not think Bill C‑13 is about equality. Even in terms of institutional bilingualism or individual bilingualism, I think it is a denial of the truth to say that bilingualism truly exists in Canada.

I could talk about my personal experience as a private citizen, and not just with the Air Canada example. Even though Bill C‑13 supposedly sets out to achieve “substantive equality”, this is still just a bill. As with any rights issue, there can still be a right, and the idea with that right can be equality, but in actual fact and in practice in real life, there has to be a lot more than that. A colleague talked about “teeth”, but I think that overstates what is in the bill. I talked about a step backward, so “teeth” is not really what we have here.

One thing the Bloc Québécois feels is important is the acknowledgement of a fact. I am not sure this particular fact is worth getting excited about, but the bill does acknowledge the fact that French is in a minority situation in Canada and in North America. We agree on that. These are just numbers, but at least there is that acknowledgement, and that is one step in the right direction, albeit a small one.

The Bloc Québécois often comes back to the issue of minority status. Quebec's French is the language of the minority in Canada and we stand by that. It is not the language of the majority. It is in Quebec, but it is still surrounded by English. I will come back to that later with personal examples. I believe it is important to talk about the minority status of French.

The Bloc Québécois naturally stands with francophones outside Quebec. Bill C‑13 does not have the same impact on communities outside Quebec as it does on those in Quebec. That could sometimes be a good thing for certain communities. I was thinking about what the Minister of Official Languages was saying earlier concerning the court challenges program. For francophone groups outside Quebec, it may be useful. However, in Quebec, it is the complete opposite. It is destructive.

With regard to Bill C‑13, the best approach would have been to respect Quebec and its choices. Only a nation can properly defend its own language. Language is the main vehicle for culture. It is a means of expression that is replete with history and meaning.

It is up to Quebec to protect it. Quebec knows best how to do that, such as with the Charter of the French Language. Here the feds are imposing a bill that conflicts with our existing mechanisms to protect and promote the language. They are forcing us to do all kinds of things. I have emphasized that repeatedly this week. The feds force a lot of things on us.

Earlier, I talked about denial. I could talk about something that rings totally false. The government's proposal will be harmful. We really want something asymmetrical, but that is not at all what this is.

I wish I could have talked about a lot of other things. I really could have used 20 minutes, but I will move on to something more personal. Anyway I think we all agree, and we have said it over and over: there is no way we can accept this.

I would have liked to talk about the differences between a right and a responsibility. In the case of Quebec, this bill enables federally regulated businesses to choose the language, whereas the charter says that employees must speak French at work. That is a big difference. It is night and day. Protection needs to take precedence over choice. If the choice exists, we will not be able to defend our language. Sometimes, people choose the easy way out, and the easy way out is Bill C-13.

That being said, I would like to talk about my own personal experience. My colleague from La Pointe-de-l'Île specializes in languages, my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé is a historian and my colleague from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert is an actor. My background is in the humanities. I enjoy literature. I am a literature professor. I worked in writing and publishing. My house is full of books. Of course, they are books of French literature, even though I also worked on British literature. The fact remains that, even though this was not a family trend, I somehow stumbled into the humanities and the language field. Every day, my thoughts turn to issues related to language, literature, culture and identity. Language is part of our identity.

I also have children. When one has children, they have a mother tongue. Of course I taught them French, but our children are not our children. That is the way it is; it is part of our existence. I have three children, one of whom is very small. He does not talk yet. I also have older children. Despite my efforts, all I see in their lives—this is a debate about territory, so I hope my colleagues will allow me this more or less accurate analogy—is like what the Romans did, but with English, which seeks to extinguish the French language right in our own homes. I am not against all these digital tools, but when I look at my children, I can see that, language-wise, it is no longer like it was in 1950, when people had to cross the border to swim in an anglophone sea. Now it is in our very own homes, so we really have to come up with some very strong measures.

I think of my son who is a gamer. He is bilingual, and I am glad he is. I speak several languages too. I speak a little German and Spanish. I studied Latin and Greek, and I speak French and English. I love languages. I see that he has become bilingual, but at the same time, I see how much languages change. I am talking about the written language, the spoken language and our relationship to language. Even though my kids are young, certain languages still dominate. In the concept itself, the idea of cultural domination means that one will assimilate the other.

The same is true of my daughter, through the use of social media, and I mean that in the pejorative sense. Sometimes she has no choice regarding what information she can access, even though the amount of information is astronomical. We have a huge encyclopaedia at our fingertips. She will end up becoming anglicized, too.

This will also be true for my little boy, with platforms like Netflix and everything he will have access to. Most of it is in English.

Everything I just described is really happening, and legislation like this is truly a complete setback. When we want to strengthen a language, and I am still talking about Quebec, we do not introduce legislation that goes against the will of a nation and against the will of a government. This would only weaken the language.

In my opinion, and my words will be harsh, this bill is an indirect linguistic assimilation policy for Quebec. When something cannot be done directly, it is done indirectly. I think Bill C‑13 is smoke and mirrors.

An Act for the Substantive Equality of Canada's Official LanguagesGovernment Orders

May 12th, 2022 / 9:30 p.m.
See context

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I am extremely honoured and happy to participate in tonight's debate on a subject that is particularly close to my heart, namely the vitality and future of the French language, whether in Quebec or anywhere in the federation's francophone minority communities.

That is why I would like to raise some points for consideration in tonight's discussion. The first thing to do is to provide an overview of the current situation.

How is it that we have reached a point where it is absolutely necessary to modernize the Official Languages Act? I remember one date: 1988. That is the year the last major reform of the Official Languages Act was carried out. I remember I was 15 years old and in ninth grade at Beaulieu school in Saint‑Jean‑sur‑Richelieu. It was a very long time ago, so I think it is high time to modernize the act. In fact, this modernization is several years overdue.

The situation has changed a great deal since 1988, and it has not improved for francophones in Quebec or in certain communities elsewhere in Canada. I will provide a few figures to start. In 1971, the demographic weight of francophones in the federation was 27.5%. In 2016, it was only 22.8%, which represents a considerable decrease over those 45 years.

Admissions of francophone immigrants outside Quebec between 2008 and 2020 totalled approximately 50,000, well below the 125,000 expected and required to keep the demographic weight of their population outside Quebec at 4.4%. This shortfall of 75,000 francophone immigrants outside Quebec is equivalent to the entire francophone community of British Columbia. That says a lot.

The 4.4% target for francophone immigrants outside Quebec established in 2003 was supposed to be met in 2008. It was pushed back 15 years because, over 20 years, the federal government never managed to promote the French-speaking minority in Canada outside Quebec. It never met that target. On the contrary, the percentage of francophones among immigrants who settled outside Quebec stagnated at around 2%, with a historic low of 1.5% recorded in 2015. That is a far cry from the target of 4.4% for francophone immigration set by the previous government.

We have more recent figures on the systematic rejection of work permits for francophone students from Africa. They are extremely worrisome and show that there is a systemic problem at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. The refusal rate is much higher in Quebec than in the rest of Canada for these African countries. In Canada, the refusal rate was 29% in 2015 and it increased slightly to 33% in 2021. In Quebec, the refusal rate for francophone immigrants from Africa was 29% in 2015 and 52% in 2021, which is a significant increase.

These numbers are staggering, and then, on top of that, the French fact in Quebec and the rest of Canada has been declining for years. That is worrisome and the Commissioner of Official Languages has drawn attention to it. He said that, in 2021, he received approximately 1,000 complaints about non-compliance with the Official Languages Act and disregard for French in federally regulated businesses or federal departments. However, this year, he has already received 5,500 complaints, and the year is not over yet. That is five times more than last year. People see that there is a problem. The NDP noticed there was a problem over the years, but particularly in the past few years.

Some recent events in connection with the Official Languages Act were very upsetting for many people. The President of the Treasury Board said that he had not made any compromises and that no compromises would be made on official languages.

However, if we take a good look at internal federal government communications during the pandemic, we find communications that are in English only; meetings without interpretation services, or in which people were embarrassed or afraid to speak in French; and the approval of a unilingual English product label. In some cases, someone's health and safety could have been in danger because they did not have a French version of the label.

How could Health Canada authorize such a thing? It is mind-boggling. It is really shocking.

I will highlight some recent current events that really drive home what I have been talking about. The Liberals appointed a unilingual anglophone Lieutenant Governor in New Brunswick, the only officially bilingual province in Canada. Incidentally, they were chastised for that. Another issue that has attracted a lot of attention is that the CEO of Air Canada does not speak French and is quite happy to say that he has been living in Montreal for years, that he does not need to speak French and that he sees no problem with this. More recently, we learned that the board of directors of Canadian National is composed solely of unilingual anglophones who do not understand French and who do not see the necessity of having someone on the board who does.

We must take action. We should have taken action long ago. I must point out, as some of my colleagues did earlier, that it was somewhat cynical of the Liberal government to say that it had taken action by introducing Bill C-32 when it dragged its feet for six years and did nothing to modernize the Official Languages Act despite the glaring issues. Then there is the fact that there was nothing about access to child care, education, high schools; being able to live in French; having cultural activities in French. The government said that at least it had introduced a bill.

A bill was introduced two weeks before the end of the parliamentary session, when the government knew very well that it was going to call an election. That was last year, in 2021. It introduced a bill, a white paper, that was useless. We had to start all over again in the new Parliament. When the government says that it is concerned, that it cares, and that it is in a hurry to take action, pay it no mind because it has done nothing for years. How pathetic.

It is clear that the pressure exerted by the NDP, stakeholders and members of francophone and Acadian communities across the country has paid off. The government came back with a new bill that brings in substantial changes. That is good. We should not dismiss or downplay these changes.

The preamble of the amended Official Languages Act recognizes that French is in a minority situation in Canada and is the official language of Quebec. Also, while acknowledging linguistic regimes put in place in other provinces like New Brunswick, the amended act underscores the importance of maintaining and promoting indigenous languages. For the first time, there is a recognition that French is in a minority situation in Canada and that it is the official language of Quebec. That is not insignificant. That did not exist previously. It really is a step in the right direction. Let us not be willfully blind or stick our heads in the sand for ideological or vote-seeking reasons. It is very important. There had never been an affirmation of the asymmetrical linguistic situation in any federal law before. It is enshrined in this bill, and we in the NDP are very happy about it because it will give more tools to francophone communities in Quebec and, more importantly, outside Quebec. That is unprecedented. It has to be said.

The bill also clarifies which positive measures the government must take to support francophone minority communities outside Quebec. There have been cases before the courts where that was not clear. There is now greater clarity in that regard.

An Act for the Substantive Equality of Canada's Official LanguagesGovernment Orders

May 12th, 2022 / 9:05 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, there was something very odd in the member's question, so I was just quickly researching this. The member cited Bill C-32 from the last Parliament as an achievement of the government. That bill did not pass. The bill was tabled for first reading on June 15, 2021. What happened to that bill? The government decided to call a premature election, which dissolved Parliament and, therefore, the bill. Only a Liberal would present a bill that was not debated and did not pass as a demonstration of their great accomplishments on this issue.

The minister then also spoke about money spent, instead of results. How do the Liberals measure their achievements? They talk about the money they spend instead of the results they achieve, and they talk about a bill they tabled at the 11th hour before they dissolved Parliament with a needless summer election. I suggest we need a better way of measuring accomplishment than that.

An Act for the Substantive Equality of Canada's Official LanguagesGovernment Orders

May 12th, 2022 / 9:05 p.m.
See context

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor LiberalMinister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Madam Speaker, I am a bit confused. This evening I have been hearing many Conservative members talking about how we have not done much when it comes to official languages since 2015. Let me do a bit of recap. I am very proud of the work that has been done since we formed government.

We have put in place an action plan, which we have backed up with investments of $2.7 billion, when it comes to official languages. We have made historic investments in post-secondary education in minority communities. We also moved forward with Bill C-32, and now we have Bill C-13. After the consultation I have been doing since I became Minister of Official Languages, we have put in place a bill that has even more teeth and more strength.

Through all of the activities we have done over the past four years, our objective has always been to have substantive equality when it comes to French and English within this country. I have many Conservatives over the past few months who have told me this is great work, that they support the work that is being done and that they support this bill. This evening, I am a bit surprised that we are seeing amendments and amendments.

Which is it? Are the Conservatives supporting our legislation, to move forward with strengthening our official languages for all Canadians, or are we going to be playing games and seeing this being slowed down?

An Act for the Substantive Equality of Canada's Official LanguagesGovernment Orders

May 12th, 2022 / 8:15 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Brendan Hanley Liberal Yukon, YT

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Berthier—Maskinongé.

As the resident of a rather remote area, I think it is important to talk about the situation in Yukon.

Yukon has a population of 40,000. Fourteen percent speak French and English and about 5%, or 1,600 people, speak French as their first language. Yukon has Canada's third-largest per capita population of francophones. It is a dynamic, spirited, and engaged community that has made a lot of progress in the past decades.

The francophone renaissance in Yukon started in the 1970s after the passage of the Official Languages Act. Strengthened by the federal government's engagement, Yukon's francophone community has grown in every way ever since.

Culturally speaking, Yukon's francophone community is strong. It has an influence on all of Yukon's communities. The progress continues. In fact, Yukon will soon be opening a bilingual health centre. Recently, we learned that a third French-language school will open in Dawson City for the next school year. Dawson City is located in northern Yukon. It is a small city with a big spirit and a great history.

The number of students in French immersion classes in Yukon has skyrocketed. Now, you can hear people speaking French all over Yukon.

As a francophile, I am proud to see the progress made since the implementation of Canada's Official Languages Act.

Personally, I pretty much grew up with the advancement of French as an official language in Canada. In the 1970s, I found the idea of a bilingual Canada inspiring. I was inspired by none other than Pierre Elliott Trudeau to try to bring the two solitudes together through a better mutual understanding and through the use of the other language.

I went into a French immersion program in Alberta. I travelled. I studied in France. Later on, I lived in Montreal for a few months. I lived and worked in a francophone environment abroad. I did my best to improve my French through the years. Obviously, it is far from perfect, but the basics are there. It is enough to allow me to participate, at least to some extent, in the francophone community, a community that is very open to francophiles.

Now, my wife speaks French as a second language. Both of my children, who grew up in Yukon, went to French institutions for the majority of their preschool and school years and are perfectly bilingual.

Yukon has such a strong francophone population that it attracts people from Canada, Acadia, Quebec, France and other francophone countries who are looking for a life of adventure in a northern community while keeping their ability to speak French.

With Bill C‑13, we can go even further by supporting our official language minority communities and contribute to the richness of everyone's life.

When I was campaigning as a first-time candidate, I learned about the former Bill C‑32 and about how important it was to the francophone community that the bill be improved. The need for swifter, stronger action to amend the Official Languages Act was one of the key measures I had in mind when I arrived as a new member of Parliament.

I am therefore pleased to talk about the successful and hard work of the Minister of Official Languages, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Official Languages and their team, as well as the consultations and analyses that went into the development of Bill C‑13.

This bill is important for all Canadians, including those who live far from the centre and those of us who live in the north. A strong Official Languages Act is important for all languages, including indigenous languages. I know that people in Yukon are familiar with this cross-fertilization, with the active preservation and promotion of language rights, whether they be for official languages or indigenous languages. They each help the other.

It is in this context that I speak not only of the significant progress we have made with Bill C‑13, but also of the improvements that give this new bill more teeth. I am talking about positive measures, a central agency and a scope that will benefit us all.

An Act for the Substantive Equality of Canada's Official LanguagesGovernment Orders

May 12th, 2022 / 7:05 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from my hon. colleague, but I have to say that there is something kind of ironic.

Although I agree with what she said about promoting French in official language minority communities, I find it ironic that she accused me of wanting to delay a bill, when it took the Liberals seven years to introduce Bill C‑13. They are the ones who decided to call an election rather than adopt the previous bill they had introduced in the House, Bill C‑32.

I proposed an amendment that would allow us to go further, to take into account all of the advice that was given by the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada and by Quebec, for example, and to give us more time to design a better bill. I am not asking for seven years. I am asking for it to be sent to parliamentary committee so that we can improve it and pass a better bill.

I think it is worth taking a few weeks to come up with a better bill for the good and the future of French in Canada.

An Act for the Substantive Equality of Canada's Official LanguagesGovernment Orders

May 12th, 2022 / 6:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about your Acadian roots. As the member for the riding of West Nova, you represent two rather impressive francophone minority regions. We have had a chance to talk about this together. Some of my colleagues may get a chuckle out of this, but we talked about “par-en-haute” and “par-en-bas”, two Acadian-sounding names. Since I have known you, you have always supported and stood up for these francophone minority communities. The fact that you stood up this evening to remind us that you are a native Acadian, meaning that you are a native francophone, shows us how important the francophone fact is to you, not only in Nova Scotia, but across Canada. Thank you very much for clarifying that for us following the speech by my colleague from Hull—Aylmer.

This brings me to the topic of this Canadian Confederation, which was created in 1867, 155 years ago, through the union of two founding peoples, one francophone and one anglophone, with help from the first nations, of course.

What I want to talk about is this founding spirit, this spirit of co‑operation that still needs to be at the centre of government action today, 155 years later. In 2022, when we make laws and implement policies here in Canada, we must always keep in mind the fact that two nations, one francophone and one anglophone, decided to found this great country, Canada, together.

From the very beginning, one of the key aspects of this co‑operation has been the French language. French is part of Canada's identity. As I was saying, it is the federal government's responsibility to ensure that francophone communities thrive from coast to coast to coast.

I am thinking about Acadian communities, such as yours, Mr. Speaker, especially minority communities and the francophone communities “par-en-haute” and “par-en-bas”. I think that I will enjoy using these names. To give people some context, these names refer to St. Marys Bay and Argyle, if I am not mistaken.

Mr. Speaker, you see, we chatted a bit and you had the chance to describe that community to me.

There are also Franco-Ontarian communities, Franco-Manitoban communities, Franco-Saskatchewanian communities and Franco-Albertan communities. With one of my colleagues, I had the chance to visit some francophone communities in Alberta, such as the municipality of Falher. It is rather surprising.

When we travel around Alberta and enter a village in the middle of the province, we hardly expect to feel like we are in an entirely francophone community, yet that is reality, that is not just a feeling. We go out, we talk with people in shops and restaurants, and French is the dominant language.

There is still a wonderfully strong francophone presence in many regions of Canada. What we expect is for the federal government to take action, instead of being content to talk about the importance of francophone communities to Canada. It is time for action. Unfortunately, in the past, instead of taking action, this Prime Minister's Liberals have often turned a deaf ear to the demands coming from francophone communities and from Quebec.

They have been bragging for years about wanting to promote the Canadian francophonie, but it has to be said that, for some Liberals, francophones are a minority like any other. We must always stand up against this utterly false assumption. This goes back to the foundation of the Confederation.

The modernization of the Official Languages Act was pushed back year after year, in spite of the Liberals' promises to Canadians during the 2015 election campaign. For years, several francophone organizations, including the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne, and official languages commissioners have called for an overhaul of the Official Languages Act.

Members will recall that the Liberals proposed a modernization in 2018. It was also a campaign promise in 2019. Finally, a first bill to modernize the act, Bill C-32, was tabled in June 2021. What happened to Bill C‑32? It died on the Order Paper because the Prime Minister chose, in the middle of summer and at the height of a pandemic, to call a pointless and costly election that forced us to start from scratch once again.

The last time the Official Languages Act was modernized, it was under Brian Mulroney, a Conservative prime minister who was also proud of his Quebec and francophone roots.

For decades, the Liberals and the Prime Minister have refused to recognize something that is essential to the survival of the French language. It is that, of the two languages that were originally spoken at Confederation, just one is threatened today. Let me be clear. The federal government must make it a priority to protect the French language and to keep protecting it. That is the role of the federal government.

The French language is more than just a simple means of communication. It is more than just the soul of the Quebec nation. It is the soul of Canada and it is a testament to our country's long history. The federal government has a duty to protect the French language and to ensure that it remains valued as part of the government's daily operations and in the enforcement of our laws and regulations. Those of us on this side of the House will not budge on that.

The Conservatives have been asking the Liberals for years to modernize the Official Languages Act. We proposed many measures to protect French in Quebec and the rest of Canada, meaning in minority communities. I want to commend my colleagues from Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier and Richmond—Arthabaska for their outstanding work on the Official Languages Act file. They met with groups from all parts of Canada. They held discussions and sought out people's thoughts and opinions so that we would truly understand the reality of people living in French across Canada, mainly in Quebec, but also in other regions.

How do they live in French? Are they able to get services in French? Do they have enough support in French? Are they able to raise their families in French in other parts of Canada?

That is particularly important in rural areas and in francophone minority communities. I think that is something that the government overlooked in the current version of Bill C‑13.

In addition to wanting to modernize the act, we made other proposals, such as increasing the powers of the Commissioner of Official Languages. We want the Treasury Board to have the authority to ensure that the act is applied in all federal departments. We have also suggested that an official languages administrative tribunal be created to settle disputes involving the act, to impose stricter penalties on those who do not comply, and to add more stringent formal obligations to part VII of the act.

Then, we worked to provide federal funding to francophone post-secondary institutions in minority settings, such as the Université de Moncton, the University of Alberta's Campus Saint‑Jean, and the Université de l'Ontario français. We have also proposed a new budget envelope of $30 million per year, notwithstanding any future funding, and collaborating with the provinces to achieve these objectives.

With the official languages in education program, we increased support for French-language education at the elementary and high school levels to better reflect the demographic growth of francophone students. Yes, demographic growth is happening in several regions with minority francophone communities.

In addition, to ensure that the demographic weight of francophone minorities outside Quebec remains stable, we are setting out to increase the number of French-speaking immigrants, not only in Quebec, but across Canada.

These are some of the measures we put forward to protect minority francophones and their rights.

As the member for Hull—Aylmer said, the government did take its time, unfortunately. It took seven years to introduce its bill. It said it needed to do it right. Unfortunately, despite seven years of consultations, pressure and advice, it seems the government did not really listen to what people directly affected by the Official Languages Act reform want.

Several key points were left out by the Liberal government, but I will talk about those a little later.

This took seven years of work. However, it seems that a few months were wasted on things other than the Official Languages Act.

In our view, Bill C‑13 is a rather weak legislative response to the decline of French in this country. As we have already pointed out, what is needed are real reforms, not just minor tweaks.

As it took seven years of work, we were expecting the Liberal bill to deal with the whole picture, the entire issue, all the problems and all the situations. However, it seems that the key reforms promised by the Liberals are unfortunately nowhere to be found in this bill.

As I said, the Liberals could have acted much earlier, not to introduce a bill, but to protect French in Canada. Our concern is not amending the bill or changing the regulations or rules and so on. Our role, and our aim, is to protect French in this country.

As currently drafted, Bill C‑13 will unfortunately not stop the decline of French, either in Canada or in Quebec.

As always, the Liberals are good at talking, but not so good at listening. They did not act on the advice that they received from francophone organizations, such as the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada. One of the things that the FCFA called for was the elimination of the division of powers between the Treasury Board and Canadian Heritage. This was a clear, concrete and specific request that would have given the reform of the Official Languages Act some teeth. I will come back to this a little later.

The bill has no teeth. The bottom line is that there is no obligation to deliver results. Bill C‑13 is full of good intentions, but it contains little that will really stop the decline of French. When certain situations arise, the government is not going to know who can do what. No one will be able to do anything to fix the situation.

Liane Roy, the president of the FCFA, said, “There are some significant gains, but some things still need to be worked on before we can say 'mission accomplished'.”

As my colleagues can see, I am not just saying negative things. Some people have had positive things to say, but others have been more scathing, saying that the bill should have gone much further.

The president of the Assemblée de la francophonie de l'Ontario said that, compared with the previous bill, Bill C‑32, there are some improvements. It took a bit of time to make it better, but it is not good enough yet. More improvements are needed.

We identified six major problems with Bill C‑13.

The first is the government-wide coordination or the centralization of power in a single department. New subsection 2.1(1) makes the Department of Canadian Heritage responsible for “exercising leadership within the Government of Canada in relation to the implementation of this Act.” Everyone agrees that Canadian Heritage does not have the expertise to manage the other departments, unlike the Treasury Board. The Minister of Canadian Heritage can tell his colleagues to do this or that, but there is nothing he can do if they do not comply, except maybe refuse to give them flags for Canada Day. That is the only thing the Minister of Canadian Heritage can threaten his colleagues with.

If the Treasury Board had been made responsible for enforcing the act, it would be a whole different story. The Treasury Board is the one that holds the purse strings and authorizes all of the departments' spending. It is the one that oversees the other departments. The Treasury Board could have made the other departments implement the new version of the Official Languages Act. However, the government chose to go with the Department of Canadian Heritage. That is ineffective, and we think that only the Treasury Board should have been given the responsibility of implementing this act for many reasons that I will come back to at a later time.

Second, we are talking about promoting French and English. The act is being amended to set out federal commitments, specifically enhancing the vitality of minorities, promoting French and English, protecting French and expanding minority language learning. As I said, we believe that the term “commitment” and definitions of these commitments should be clarified. The Treasury Board should also be responsible for this aspect and for the entire act, as opposed to what is proposed in Bill C‑13. Furthermore, part VII of the act is not covered by the new power given to the Commissioner of Official Languages to issue orders, which is also problematic.

Third, we have immigration. The new clause 44.1 proposes that “the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration shall adopt a policy on francophone immigration to enhance the vitality of French linguistic minority communities in Canada”. However, there is no obligation to ensure that targets, objectives and indicators are met and respected. These are once again merely good intentions.

Fourth, the Commissioner of Official Languages is given three powers: to enter into a compliance agreement with federal institutions that contravene the act; to make an order directing any federal institution to rectify the contravention of part IV; and to impose administrative monetary penalties on a limited number of transportation companies offering passenger services that contravene part IV. We believe that these powers should extend to other parts of the act, specifically part VII. What is more, the maximum amount of these administrative monetary penalties is $25,000. We have to wonder what the deterrent effect of a $25,000 penalty would be for an organization like Air Canada, which had over $2 billion in revenue in 2021.

Fifth, the bill does not contain any obligation for the federal government to include language clauses in agreements made with other levels of government to ensure compliance with the Official Languages Act, especially where federal transfers are involved, despite the fact that the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that agreements lacking language clauses were invalid. Maybe the government should have listened just a tiny bit.

Sixth, the bill includes an important part about federally regulated private businesses. It creates a new act called “An Act to enact the Use of French in Federally Regulated Private Businesses Act and to make related amendments to other Acts”. In Quebec, businesses would have the right to choose between the Quebec regime and the federal one. In other words, businesses would have a choice between getting punished and not getting punished.

In our view, this bill needs improvement. For these reasons, I move the following amendment:

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:

“Bill C-13, An Act to amend the Official Languages Act, to enact the Use of French in Federally Regulated Private Businesses Act and to make related amendments to other Acts, be not now read a second time but that the order be discharged, the bill withdrawn, and the subject-matter thereof referred to the Standing Committee on Official Languages.”.

In conclusion, Bill C‑13 does not constitute the reform the Liberals have been promising for years and does not fulfill those promises.

An Act respecting the French languagePrivate Members' Business

May 9th, 2022 / 11:20 a.m.
See context

Sherbrooke Québec

Liberal

Élisabeth Brière LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to discuss Bill C-238 on the French language, sponsored by the hon. member for Salaberry—Suroît.

This bill is similar to bills tabled in previous sittings of Parliament. In the 43rd Parliament, we had Bill C-223, which would have required that immigrants living in Quebec have an adequate knowledge of Quebec, as well as Bill C-254, which sought to apply Quebec's Charter of the French Language to federally regulated companies by amending the Official Languages Act, the Canada Labour Code and the Canada Business Corporations Act.

Bill C‑238 essentially combines those two bills into one. We understand the Bloc's concern about the future of the French language, and we share that concern. As we acknowledged in the throne speech, the use of French is in decline throughout Quebec and across Canada. We have a responsibility to protect and promote French across Canada, including in Quebec.

Where we differ from the Bloc is in our response to this problem. In the last Parliament, the former minister of official languages tabled a document entitled “English and French: Towards a substantive equality of official languages in Canada”, which laid out our government's vision for official languages reform, and Bill C-32, our modernization of the Official Languages Act.

Together, these two documents represented the most ambitious reform of the Official Languages Act since its passage more than 50 years ago. They acknowledged the challenges faced by the French language from coast to coast to coast, including in Quebec, and they recognized for the first time that our government has a duty to protect and promote the French language. However, during our consultations with stakeholders across Canada over the summer, during the election campaign and after the election, we kept hearing that we needed to do more.

That is why, on March 1, in Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia, which is an important historical site for our Acadian community, the current Minister of Official Languages, a proud Acadian herself, tabled Bill C-13, an act to amend the Official Languages Act, to enact the Use of French in Federally Regulated Private Businesses Act and to make related amendments to other acts. This bill is noteworthy because it shares similar objectives with Bill C‑238, namely protecting and promoting the French language. However, it goes much further.

Bill C‑13 broadens the historical scope of the former Bill C‑32 by introducing even more protections for the French language. It ensures that francophones can work and receive services in their language, not only in Quebec, but in other regions of Canada with a strong Francophone presence.

That is why our government will not support Bill C‑238, because it does not protect and, by its very nature, cannot protect the French language and francophones from coast to coast to coast.

Let us compare the immigration provisions of Bill C‑238 with those in our bill. In the preamble to Bill C‑13, our government recognizes the importance of the contribution of francophone immigration to enhancing the vitality of French linguistic minority communities and that immigration is one of the factors that contributes to maintaining or increasing the demographic weight of those communities.

Moreover, our bill requires that the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship adopt a policy on francophone immigration in order to enhance the vitality of French linguistic minority communities in Canada. This policy is to include objectives, targets and indicators, as well as a statement that the federal government recognizes that immigration is one of the factors that contributes to maintaining or increasing the demographic weight of French linguistic minority communities in Canada.

This is in addition to the administrative measures set out in the reform paper, which instruct the Minister of Immigration to set up a new francophone immigration corridor, recognize the importance of recruiting and retaining French-speaking and French-language teachers and increase opportunities for newcomers to learn French. There is a shortage of French-language teachers in Canada, particularly outside Quebec, and we need these measures in order to meet our francophone immigration objectives and to nurture the next generation of French-speaking Canadians.

As for the other part of Bill C-238, the section dealing with federally regulated businesses such as banks and airlines, here again, Bill C‑13 offers a more comprehensive solution.

Bill C-13 recognizes that Quebec has adopted the Charter of the French Language. In fact, it even creates a new law, the Use of French in Federally Regulated Private Businesses Act, which states that, in relation to communications with or services provided to consumers in Quebec or in relation to workplaces in Quebec, Quebec's Charter of the French Language applies instead of this bill if a federally regulated private business must be subject to the charter.

However, the Charter of the French Language does not protect francophones outside Quebec. As our government recognized in last year's reform paper, we have a duty to encourage federally regulated private businesses to promote the equal status of our two official languages in order to increase the use of French as a language of service and a language of work across the country.

That is what Bill C-13 does. We are making sure that Canadians have the right to work and be served in French in federally regulated private businesses in Quebec and other regions of Canada with a strong francophone presence. We require employers to communicate with their employees in French and prohibit discrimination against an employee solely because they speak only French or do not have adequate knowledge of a language other than French. We are also enacting legislation to ensure that consumers of goods and services have the right to be served in French.

These tools are necessary to support francophones across the country. That is what we are doing with Bill C-13, and Bill C-238 simply cannot do the same.

Once again, I would like to thank the member for Salaberry—Suroît for raising this extremely important issue. Like her, our government recognizes that the use of French is in decline across the country and that urgent action is needed not only to stop this decline, but also to reverse it and move toward a future where French grows stronger.

However, Bill C-238 does not and cannot do that. I hope that all members of the House will join us in passing Bill C-13 as quickly as possible so that we can meet the objective of protecting and promoting French from coast to coast to coast, including Quebec, for francophones across the country.

An Act for the Substantive Equality of Canada’s Official LanguagesGovernment Orders

April 6th, 2022 / 5:30 p.m.
See context

Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook Nova Scotia

Liberal

Darrell Samson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

Madam Speaker, I certainly want to thank my colleague for her speech and her French. She even named francophone schools, communities and regions. That is very impressive. I thank her for sharing all that information.

If we take a close look at Bill C‑13, I do think we can see that it is a big improvement over Bill C‑32 in many ways, especially when it comes to the positive measures we need to see. These are concrete actions on the ground.

I also think that Treasury Board, despite being very busy, is the machine responsible for enforcing laws. That will really strengthen this act.