Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Gatineau for his comments on the court challenges program.
And I would be remiss if I did not thank Mr. Michaud and Mr. Doucet in New Brunswick for the volunteer work they have done for the Acadians. They fought a battery of government lawyers. I tip my hat to them. Thank you on behalf of the Acadians and all the francophones and minorities in the country.
Bill S-3, which was passed by Parliament, was Senator Jean-Robert Gauthier's cause. He fought for it for years and presented the bill in the House of Commons three times. The bill was rejected the first two times, but the third time it passed. I remember that because, at the time, I had a lot of discussions with Conservative MPs, who were then in opposition, to find out whether they were going to support the bill. In the end, they did support it and they said they were proud to do so.
I would like the hon. member for Gatineau to give me his opinion on the following text:
This enactment amends the Official Languages Act to enhance the enforceability of the Government of Canada's obligations under Part VII of the Act.
Part VII of the Act is now enforceable. What does “enforceable” mean? I would like the hon. member's opinion on that. Part VII of the Official Languages Act clearly states, in section 43(2):
The Minister of Canadian Heritage shall take such measures as that Minister considers appropriate to ensure public consultation in the development of policies and review of programs relating to the advancement and the equality of status and use of English and French in Canadian society.
Bill S-3 was intended to protect and enhance the law.
In its defence, the government clearly said that Bill S-3 did not change anything and that the court should not get involved in the government's decisions. That is outrageous and unacceptable. The government does not even respect the very legislation that was passed in this Parliament. The Conservatives, who were in opposition at the time, voted for a bill, but said that the bill did not mean anything. I would like the opinion of the hon. member for Gatineau on this.