Mr. Speaker, I would like to add a few comments to this debate being someone who comes from southern Ontario, very much an anglophone region.
Ultimately, my question is: Is it a matter of language or is it a matter of other things that we might have in common? I would like to very briefly tell an anecdote for the benefit of the hon. members of the Bloc.
Some 15 years ago I was a journalist at a newspaper in southern Ontario when an event occurred in Quebec that some of the Bloc Quebecois members will remember. It was called the Saint-Jean-Vianney landslide that occurred in the region of Lac-Saint-Jean.
I, as the only reporter at my newspaper with only my school French, and very poor French I have to say, was sent to that area on the anniversary of the landslide to do a story on a year's aftermath. I had a great deal of difficulty, with my poor school French, to communicate with the people in the area because the accent was very different than the accent I had been taught in school.
However, I have to say that the people were very nice. They took me to their local club, an Odd Fellows hall, in which I must say I felt very much at home. I was able to communicate with the people through a person I had met in the club from northern Ontario. He was able to translate my bad French into the Quebeçois French-and possibly my very bad English as well-which was very useful for me.
What was so striking about this event was that even with the language problem I felt very much at home when I sat in this little Odd Fellows hall. We then went across to the beverage room, as we would say in English Canada in those days. I suppose Le bar is what they say in the Lac-Saint-Jean region.
As a journalist in those days, I very much favoured drinking Scotch. Journalists in those days drank scotch in order to show that they really were newspapermen. At the bar I asked if I could have a scotch. I was told that they did not have scotch, only rye, but I still felt very much at home. We really share a Canadian thing in that.
What I finally found out during my investigation of the landslide was that when the catastrophe occurred the majority of the people in Saint-Jean-Vianney were watching hockey. I felt very much at home.