Mr. Speaker, it is not easy to pick up where one left off, but I will try.
I said earlier that I would concentrate on the impact on defence spending. In this connection, for the benefit of the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands who said that Kingston is a bilingual city, I have here an article dated March 3, which says that the military base's French school is not allowed to post its name in French on the outside of the school. I think that is rather revealing. "We wanted to emphasize the French character of the only place in Kingston where our children can speak French. In town, everything is in English". It is easy to say Kingston is completely bilingual, but this is not borne out by the facts.
My next point is that when the Department of National Defence and the Department of Finance made cuts in the defence budget, there were plenty of things we did not bother to mention and accepted without a murmur, because in Quebec we have always been somewhat deprived in this respect. In fact, the Minister of National Defence admitted that Quebec was at a disadvantage as far as defence spending was concerned.
I remember what was said in this House by the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence, when the former painted an idealistic picture of Canadian bilingualism and the latter, the Minister of National Defence, was upset that Bloc members refused to believe in the bilingual character of Kingston. How could we when we consider that at the time, Prime Minister Trudeau ordered the Royal Military College in Kingston to become a bilingual institution? And what is the situation now, 20 years later?
Kingston graduates are "officially" bilingual. In fact, francophones who attend the institution are perfectly bilingual. Anglophones have a very limited knowledge of French, so limited that they do not feel comfortable speaking French and lose that limited knowledge as soon as they graduate. This is from a report by the departmental committee on Canadian military colleges released in May 1993. These statements were not drafted by Bloc members, sovereigntists or separatists. This was in a report on military colleges by the Department of National Defence.
The Prime Minister said that Canada's linguistic duality was not exclusive to francophones in Quebec and included all francophones outside Quebec as well. When making these decisions, he probably overlooked the following: If bilingualism is the rule, why do the vast majority of officers from the Maritimes go to the Saint-Jean military college to become truly bilingual?
We should also remember-and I want to include the Royal Roads College in Victoria as well-that if we consolidate military training at a single college, there are many people in Western Canada who will not opt for a military career because they would have to leave the West and come to Ontario. The same applies to the Maritimes, because most officers who studied at the Saint-Jean Royal Military College were from the Maritimes and the province of Quebec.