I support this motion, and the reason I support it is that our country has two official languages, English and French, and when one looks back into history, right up until today I cannot find, and no one I've asked has ever been in a position to give me, an example where a unilingual francophone has been appointed federally to a national body, whether it be the judiciary, a quasi-judicial body, a consultative body—not once in the history of Confederation, and I've asked the question repeatedly.
However, historically, unilingual anglophones have been appointed over and over again to the judiciary, to quasi-judicial bodies, to national consultative bodies. It is the practice and has been the practice of every previous government, regardless of their political taint, and I think that in the third millennium, if our legislation and our charter say that the official languages of this country are English and French, then that practice has to stop. It means that effectively, regardless of what our legislation states, the practice is one of discrimination. It means that a unilingual francophone does not have access to all of these appointed positions at the federal level—and not just appointed positions, because when one looks at the public service, we see the same phenomenon historically, and it is happening today.
It is unacceptable, and I would hope that this committee would be prepared to make the least effort, which is to authorize our chair to write a letter to the minister asking him not to proceed to further nominations if the individual does not have at least a functional knowledge of the second language. We're not asking for complete bilingualism.
I think it's a perfectly reasonable request.