Evidence of meeting #122 for Official Languages in the 42nd 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

Michel Doucet  As an Individual
Mona Fortier  Ottawa—Vanier, Lib.
Emmanuella Lambropoulos  Saint-Laurent, Lib.
Geoffrey Chambers  President, Quebec Community Groups Network
Stephen Thompson  Director, Government Relations, Policy and Research, Quebec Community Groups Network
Jean Rioux  Saint-Jean, Lib.

10:35 a.m.

President, Quebec Community Groups Network

Geoffrey Chambers

Yes, that was the Court Challenges Program. There were many examples in between. It's been very important to us in securing our own rights, but it's important to characterize it as a national tool to create a set of principles that all official language minorities profit from.

We were very happy to see it reinstated, and it's been very important to us throughout its history.

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

René Arseneault Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

I don't know if you're aware, but I think we saw that person here as a witness for QCGN, James Shea. He's one of the experts on the panel for—

10:35 a.m.

President, Quebec Community Groups Network

Geoffrey Chambers

Yes, we're very pleased there's going to be such high-quality judgment applied to who gets the support that the program offers. James Shea is a wise and a very good appointment, I think.

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

René Arseneault Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

To come back to the modernization of the act, I'd like to have your thoughts. I know Mr. Thompson says we're not lawyers and it's not a problem, being a lawyer, but I'd like to have your thoughts concerning the power and the authority an independent tribunal would have if we modernized the law toward that option.

10:35 a.m.

Director, Government Relations, Policy and Research, Quebec Community Groups Network

Stephen Thompson

I don't remember the section, but a section of the Official Languages Act outlines the powers of the commissioner to investigate. I'm trying to remember a conversation I had with our lawyers around that. They were from Power Law. They came to see you last week.

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

René Arseneault Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Yes, but, for example, independent from the commissioner, I understand you would like to have an independent administrative tribunal to deal with all those cases.

10:35 a.m.

President, Quebec Community Groups Network

Geoffrey Chambers

The Human Rights Tribunal, I think, is the model we have been looking at. It's possible that, if we had a deeper discussion with them as to whether or not there are powers they don't have now but would like to have, we could come up with a model that has more muscle, but it would certainly be a place to start.

10:35 a.m.

Director, Government Relations, Policy and Research, Quebec Community Groups Network

Stephen Thompson

One thing you might consider is accountability under the tribunal. Would it be institutional or individual? If there were individual accountability under a tribunal, people might pay significantly more attention to it.

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

René Arseneault Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

If I have time, can I share a minute with my colleague from Nova Scotia?

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Denis Paradis

You can share one minute.

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Where is the accountability in sharing?

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Denis Paradis

You have one minute.

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

One minute, and I have four questions, and I don't know where to start.

10:40 a.m.

An hon. member

Start with one.

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

The simplest one is—

10:40 a.m.

An hon. member

What's the preamble?

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

There is no preamble.

Last year or the year before, there was a minister given responsibility to support the English community in Quebec. I understood that was very good and well received. Where are we today with that?

10:40 a.m.

President, Quebec Community Groups Network

Geoffrey Chambers

Well, there is no minister appointed in the current cabinet. The cabinet is quite small, and the explanation given to us was that, as a result of that, the premier was going to take responsibility for this. With the help of a parliamentary secretary, we've applied to meet the premier. If he is going to be responsible for our file, we'd like to have a chance to talk to him. We have already met the parliamentary secretary.

It's a model that is not without merit. We'll give it a good-faith attempt. It's not as obviously a compliment to the community as is having a ministry, as Ontario has.

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Will you let us know how it's going?

10:40 a.m.

President, Quebec Community Groups Network

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

You received, I understand, $5.3 million more in the action plan. How was that received?

November 27th, 2018 / 10:40 a.m.

President, Quebec Community Groups Network

Geoffrey Chambers

As you can imagine, it was received positively. We are very pleased that the process of defining how it's going to be deployed has been undertaken by the department together with the community, and we're going through a very productive consultation, so that's gone very well.

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Excellent.

On regulations, how did you receive the changes to the regulations? Do those apply to you, to what extent, and how were they received?

10:40 a.m.

Director, Government Relations, Policy and Research, Quebec Community Groups Network

Stephen Thompson

On the regulations, we were extremely well consulted by Treasury Board and by all the players in the regulatory review. The concerns we had were reflected in the proposals, so we're very happy with them.

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Bravo for the work you're doing, because it's being articulated well, received well and performed well. Thank you.