I'm very pleased to be here today as possibly the one and only around the table who is English-speaking only. French was taught in my school when I was in junior high, but there was nowhere to practise the language. I'm from Saskatchewan, and at the time.... I can tell you that I can still say “je suis dans la salle de classe” and “fermez la bouche”.
However, I am hoping to learn.
Learning when you are very young is very important. I appreciate that this is about protection of official language minority communities, not necessarily in thinking to broaden those who can speak both languages. Believe me, being on the Hill now, I appreciate this as something that is very important.
I would like to say at least that in Saskatchewan we have a very strong immersion program. As well, my daughter's four children, who are taught at home, are learning Latin, Hebrew, and French. Again, it's that young age that makes such a difference.
I have two very brief questions. The first is around the $1.2 billion over three years to the provinces. Is it around $400 million per year? Anyway, I just wonder how this is determined when you see that there are one, two, three, four already in bilateral agreements. Are they already receiving this funding, or is this new funding that's going to be sent out?
Then when you look at $1.2 billion and the number of provinces—of course, Saskatchewan and Quebec are not part of this either—how are you determining how much money is going to be protected to go where?