Evidence of meeting #30 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 languages.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Hubert Lussier  Assistant Deputy Minister, Citizenship, Heritage and Regions, Department of Canadian Heritage
Jean-Pierre Gauthier  Director General, Official Languages Branch, Department of Canadian Heritage

9:15 a.m.

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

I have 30 seconds left, Minister.

Have you started to work on the report of the Commissioner of Official Languages about superior court judges? In your last visit, you had said you were very interested. Have you started to respond to the recommendations?

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

Mélanie Joly Liberal Ahuntsic-Cartierville, QC

Not only have I worked on these questions, but I have also decided to make it a priority at the next meeting of all the ministers of the Canadian Francophonie. We have decided to address the issue of access to justice. That is a subject I will discuss with my counterparts at the summit next year.

In the meantime, we have requested an inventory of all judges who are in fact bilingual, in all our superior courts.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Denis Paradis

Thank you very much.

We will move on to Ms. Lapointe.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

Linda Lapointe Liberal Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Good morning, and welcome. We are very happy to have you here this morning.

In my riding, Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, there are anglophone minority language communities and they are very engaged. What is the situation as regards the needs of anglophones in minority communities, in the next roadmap?

In addition, in your consultations, did you consult anglophones in Quebec, when you travelled across Canada?

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

Mélanie Joly Liberal Ahuntsic-Cartierville, QC

Yes, I have had the chance to do that. I will answer that question in English.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

Linda Lapointe Liberal Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

That's okay with me.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

Mélanie Joly Liberal Ahuntsic-Cartierville, QC

I think it's worth it.

I had the chance to have one round table myself in Montreal with the various representatives of the anglophone community. Minister Bibeau was with our parliamentary secretary, Randy Boissonnault, on an official languages public consultation in Sherbrooke. We had one also in Quebec City. We had three of them in Quebec.

Of course we understand that the needs vary, depending on the region, depending on the different groups who are at the table, but for us it's extremely important to bear in mind that when it comes to official languages, it's about French and English—and English in Quebec, of course, in particular.

We also decided to invest money. We gave money to Bishop's University to renovate and improve their library. This is an important investment in the community in the Eastern Townships.

Also, it's important to know that we are in discussions with different groups, including QCGN, and we want to make sure that we can cater to all the needs they have.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Linda Lapointe Liberal Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Thank you very much. I appreciate it for all the anglophones in my riding. Thank you.

You may know that Deux-Montagnes is the only place in the Laurentians where Canada Day is celebrated, on July 1.

On December 31, we will be kicking off the celebrations of Canada's 150th anniversary. How are you going to make sure that linguistic duality is reflected in those celebrations? Could you give us a few examples of projects that will reflect our linguistic heritage,

French and English?

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Mélanie Joly Liberal Ahuntsic-Cartierville, QC

Thank you.

The 150th anniversary is going to be celebrated in various ways. There will be 41 Canada-wide projects, the Signature projects, that will travel from one end of the country to the other. La grande traversée, which Les Productions Rivard and others have worked on, will describe French colonization. Travelling Through History, a project that the Paul Gérin-Lajoie Foundation, the Ligue nationale d'improvisation and others have worked on, will travel throughout Canada.

In addition, there are community projects that involve only one province. We have already made a few announcements, including one about the Cercle des Canadiens français de Prince George. The Centre communautaire d'Edmonton will be putting on races in a project entitled Flying Canoë Volant. Those are just a few examples.

Yesterday, when I was with the premier of New Brunswick, I pointed out that there would be some very fine celebrations around August 15, National Acadian Day. An Acadian project for Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia is being developed.

Of course, we have made sure that all of the Signature projects will be monitored, to ensure that services are offered in French and English. A good practices guide has been prepared by our team. We want it to be possible to celebrate Canada's linguistic duality and also be in compliance with the Official Languages Act.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Linda Lapointe Liberal Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

It will be interesting to see these celebrations. I hope that we will be able to celebrate our two official languages in Deux-Montagnes in high spirits. You are invited to join us.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Mélanie Joly Liberal Ahuntsic-Cartierville, QC

Thank you.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Linda Lapointe Liberal Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

My constituents would certainly be very happy to meet you. That would also be the case in Saint-Eustache.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Mélanie Joly Liberal Ahuntsic-Cartierville, QC

Yes.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Linda Lapointe Liberal Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Their celebrations are different, but they are still very worth seeing.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Mélanie Joly Liberal Ahuntsic-Cartierville, QC

Yes, absolutely.

9:20 a.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

You could come to Charlevoix.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Mélanie Joly Liberal Ahuntsic-Cartierville, QC

It would be a pleasure to visit your ridings, particularly since I am very fond of Charlevoix. Also, my grandmother lives in Saint-Eustache. You know her well, Ms. Lapointe.

That being said, I spoke to you earlier about our famous social contract. I want to make sure that when it comes to the 150th anniversary, people understand that our two official languages are a legacy, that they are part of what Canada is. That is central to the values that unite us as Canadians. That is why we are offering significant funding for the projects. I hope that you will all be ambassadors, during these celebrations, for the 150th anniversary of linguistic duality.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Linda Lapointe Liberal Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

You can count on me.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Denis Paradis

Mr. Arseneault and Mr. Vandal, you will be splitting the next block of time.

Mr. Arseneault, you have the floor first.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

René Arseneault Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

So I have only three minutes.

If you are coming to visit our regions, I would say that it is beautiful everywhere, but the beautiful Ristigouche River, that joins up with the Baie des Chaleurs, is hard to beat.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Linda Lapointe Liberal Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Rivière-des-Mille-Îles is also a lovely spot.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

René Arseneault Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

That being said, my comments may be a little scattered.

I would first like to come back to what Mrs. Boucher said about the money that does not seem to be going to the place where it really counts, to encourage immigration. I recognize that you are not the Minister of Immigration, but some witnesses have told us that the majority community was better organized for responding to invitations to bid for providing services. Organizations that represent the majority, in terms of community organizations, say they are bilingual and able to offer services in both languages. They say they are capable of offering services to minorities because they can provide these bilingual services.

Witnesses have told us that this does not work, because those organizations are not on the same wavelength as the minority community. They seemed to be saying—at least, that is what I understood—that the services should be provided by and for the minority community. In the case of a francophone minority community living in an anglophone majority environment, the service should therefore be offered by and for that community. From what I have understood, what often happens with tenders is that the highest bidders who are the best organized win the prize.

How can we make sure that this money is directed to the organizations that genuinely respond to the community and are on the same page as it?

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Mélanie Joly Liberal Ahuntsic-Cartierville, QC

That is a very good question.

I am eager to read your report on immigration, which we will study, of course.

This is what we want to do, to implement the action plan.

I talked to you about the vitality of the linguistic communities. When it comes to the vitality of minority language communities, there must necessarily be services in people's mother tongue in all areas, be it health, education, early childhood, immigration or economic development. We also have to offer the jobs for the minority group in their mother tongue. That is a form of economic development, but also support for employment.

I am eager to hear about integrating immigrants. That is a lot of what you are talking to me about. The federal government has introduced the Francophone Significant Benefit program, which promotes francophone immigration. I am very interested in studying your recommendations about integration and the types of services that will be offered, and to discuss this with my colleague Mr. McCallum, the Minister.

We have established new thresholds for francophone immigration. We want to achieve the target of 4.4% of immigrants being francophones and ensure that they are able to integrate in their mother tongue, in linguistic minority communities. That is very important.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Denis Paradis

Mr. Vandal, you have the floor.

October 27th, 2016 / 9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Dan Vandal Liberal Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, MB

Thank you for being with us, Minister.

I represent Saint Boniface–Saint Vital, which is in a francophone area in a minority environment. I agree with you about the importance of francophone immigration. In Manitoba, we are more effective at welcoming and integrating immigrants than at recruiting.

I absolutely agree that if we are to achieve the 4.4% target, the province certainly has to do its bit, but so does the community. In Manitoba, community groups simply do not have access to funds for recruiting francophone immigrants.

Do you anticipate providing additional support to community groups, not only in Manitoba, but throughout Canada, to help them recruit francophone immigrants?