Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Minister, I thank you and your colleagues for being here with the committee today.
Like you, I am a Nova Scotia MP. I am extremely pleased that you are here and that you occupy a very important position in our government.
Before asking my questions, I would like to say a few things.
First, as opposed to you, I lived in a bilingual environment and was exposed to both official languages. You are in a similar situation today, and I congratulate you. Your two children Claire and Rose can go to French schools in Nova Scotia or here in Ottawa. As you know, students obtain excellent results in French schools, and we are very happy about that. Over the past 10 years in the province, there has been a 22% increase in the student population of the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial, and a 15% decrease in English-language school boards. You are certainly welcome, and we welcome you with open arms.
Secondly, I find it a bit ironic that my colleagues across the way, the Conservatives, are troubled by the fact that there will be fewer positions over the next two years in the translation bureau, when they eliminated 400 over the past three or four years. That is what caused the problem that exists today, in large measure. To be honest with you, that saddens me.
To conclude, may I say that there is no doubt at all that the translation tool is only a comprehension tool. It is not an official tool, as you just mentioned. It is simply a work tool.
My question is very important, Minister. As you know, Senator Maria Chaput introduced Bill S-209, which is now being sponsored by Senator Claudette Tardif. What is your opinion on that? Could some measures in the bill be implemented by Treasury Board, even though the bill will not be studied by both Houses? It would be very important to know whether Treasury Board could implement certain elements of the bill through regulations or other measures.