Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Welcome, Mr. Théberge. I am pleased to see you here today. I know that you are not officially our Commissioner of Official Languages and that you are not in that position yet. My questions are not intended to trick you before you become familiar with the files or before you have experienced the reality of the new duties, if they are entrusted to you.
I looked at your career and your curriculum vitae. You have certainly accumulated tremendous experience and you have a lot of arrows in your quiver, having lived and worked with minorities, be it in Manitoba or Ontario. You have a lot of experience in education and you studied in Quebec at an anglophone university. So you are familiar with the dual reality of minorities, anglophones in Quebec and francophones outside Quebec. Clearly, I dare say that you have reached the pinnacle of your wonderful experiences in the last five years at the Université de Moncton, in New Brunswick. I will refrain from saying too much about it so that I'm not called pretentious, which I am not.
In all seriousness, Mr. Théberge, you said a few words that touched me right off the bat. You said that the position of Commissioner of Official Languages is key in promoting minority rights in majority communities. I will not give you a law test, but let me take you back to subsection 16(3) of the Constitution Act, 1982, which says:
Nothing in this Charter limits the authority of Parliament or a legislature to advance the equality of status or use of English and French.
If you officially became Commissioner of Official Languages, how would you see your role, in light of subsection 16(3), which says that the charter does not limit the authority to advance the equality of status or use of English or French?