House of Commons Hansard #77 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was regions.


Government ContractsAdjournment Proceedings

June 2nd, 1994 / 6:30 p.m.


Gaston Péloquin Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Madam Speaker, last week, I asked the government why members of the Cabinet had all refused to attend the annual convention of the Association canadienne-française de l'Ontario. In view of the outcry raised by that refusal, the Minister of Health recently agreed to attend, but not necessarily for the right reasons. This behaviour is typical of the historical approach taken by the federal government towards French reality in Canada. Federalist members of Parliament do not seem to have the time and, most of all, the desire to defend the interests of French people in this country.

No, Liberal members are much too busy condemning the fact that the Association canadienne-française de l'Ontario had the impudence to invite the Leader of the Official Opposition to its annual convention. The Liberal member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell even had the gall to compare Franco-Ontarians to little chickens that were contributing to their own misfortune by inviting Colonel Sanders to their annual convention. The member and his sorry associates were quickly taken down a peg or two by representatives of the French communities outside Quebec.

Indeed, several Canadian newspapers reported the response of these French leaders, on May 27, to the scornful words of the hon. member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, among others. For instance, in the newspaper Le Droit , the president of the ACFO, Mr. Jean Tanguay, was questioning the work done by their Liberal members in the following words: ``When time comes to denounce the injustices promulgated by the provincial government, do they make the front page? Have they denounced the fact that we have lost the management of literacy in Ontario?''

The same day newspaper also reported the comments of the president of the ACFO in Prescott-Russell, Mr. Rolland Saumure, who denounced even more violently the attitude of his own federal member. He declared: "It is not by burying our heads in the sand as Mr. Boudria does that we will make any progress. Is Mr. Boudria afraid of information? Should we just listen to our good Liberal ministers in Ottawa?"

The newspaper La Presse reported the comments of Mrs. Claire Lanteigne, president of the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadiennes du Canada. She was infuriated with the lack of respect demonstrated to them by some Liberal members who tried to screen the information that could get to them.

In conclusion, I want to say that I find very disgraceful that some members of the House of Commons try to limit the freedom of speech of members of another political party for the sake of a federalist doctrine that they are unfortunately ready to defend at any cost, as we could see.

Government ContractsAdjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

Mississauga East Ontario


Albina Guarnieri LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Canadian Heritage

Madam Speaker, I am glad that the members from the Bloc Quebecois, like the government, is concerned about the faith of minority French-language communities. The Bloc is making interesting promises to these communities, but whether they will be carried out remains to be seen.

There is no doubt, however, that the federal government is supporting these communities, and the official languages policy already provides them with a lot more than this political party which is only passing through Ottawa can promise them.

It is in the vital field of education that the federal government contributes most significantly to the development of minority communities.

In Ontario alone we have contributed approximately $334 million in the last five years for the teaching of our official languages, of which $200 million went for minority official language education for nearly 100,000 young francophones of this province, thus contributing to reducing dropout rates in illiteracy as well as increasing participation in post-secondary education.

To these amounts we have added a contribution of $50 million over the next five years to help establish a network of three post-secondary colleges for the French speaking minority of this province. This includes La Cité collégiale in Ottawa.

We also fund francophone community associations throughout this province that are active in community development.

Several members of this government will attend the ACFO convention and I would like to remind my colleague from the Official Opposition that government members meet, on a regular basis, with representatives of minority communities, from all over the country, to discuss concrete measures.

Our commitment to these communities goes much beyond simple rhetoric. We will continue to work in partnership with them to ensure their full development.

Government ContractsAdjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

Pursuant to Standing Order 38(5) the motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. The House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 6.36 p.m.)