Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I thank the minister for being with us this afternoon. We appreciate it.
We will be able to discuss your reform plan in detail. Unfortunately, I confess to having had some difficulty following your government's intentions over the past few years, simply because they reveal a lack of consistency. In this regard, may I remind you of the following two facts.
With respect to the right to work in French in federally regulated businesses in Quebec, the Liberal Party of Canada voted against our bill, which was aimed at precisely that objective. You say you now want to impose bilingualism on Supreme Court judges. Yet you voted against our bill, which also required the application of this principle.
After multiple failures, instead of correcting the course by introducing a bill to modernize the Official Languages Act, you are seeking to buy time by releasing a document that provides no funding, no timetable, and no additional consultations. For years, there has been much rhetoric about francophones and the francophonie, but little action to protect French.
Here today, Ontario's francophones are being dealt a new blow. Laurentian University, a flagship institution, has just cut hundreds of positions and dozens of programs in French. Political scientist Stéphanie Chouinard has even called the situation at this francophone university a “bloodbath”.
Francophones in Northern Ontario are therefore very worried. That is why the University of Sudbury, with the support of the Assemblée de la francophonie de l'Ontario, has announced a plan to transform itself into an independent French-language university. This is a proactive and crucial step that we in the NDP are championing.
Since the question is clear, I would like your answer to be fairly short.