Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The minister explained in her speech that the Official Languages Act enables families to receive services in French. Now the children of those families are starting their own families. I can identify with what she said.
I come from Kapuskasing, a town in northern Ontario. My parents did not have access to a high school education in French. Since the federal government provided assistance to the provinces so they could offer secondary education in French, I went to high school in French at that time, in the late 1960s. I even studied law in French at university. It is because the federal government supported the provinces in this way that I was able to do it.
One of the current problems is early childhood, and the minister discussed it. Consider the example of my godson. My sister-in-law was looking for a French-language day care centre in the Sudbury region but could not find one on time. My nephew therefore went to an English-language day care in an exogamous home. As a result, when he started school, his French was at 20% of the level it might have reached.
Several witnesses have spoken about early childhood in recent weeks. Early childhood is a provincial jurisdiction, but the Commissioner of Official Languages recommended in his report that the federal government work with the provinces on this issue.
The new action plan states that early childhood must now be a priority. How could Canadian Heritage and the Official Languages Branch support this new program?