It certainly is. It is exactly what they are doing.
Back to the appointment of judges. The Conservative Party regularly says that it is pro-bilingualism. To be pro-bilingualism, the government needs to do more than simply say so. It needs to take concrete action so that Canadians will trust politicians. Then Canadians will find that these are good laws and that our parliamentarians are being fair so that each and every Canadian can benefit.
As for bilingualism, it is a matter of access to justice. Access to justice is a concept that is very easy to explain and understand. It means that each citizen can be served in the language of their choice and be treated fairly. That is access to justice. But when it comes to bilingualism, access to justice is another worry that Canadians have about the Conservatives.
It is crucial that francophones outside Quebec and anglophones in Quebec have access to justice. The government cannot just say it is going to appoint judges and allow them to sit and do their work, regardless of their ability to express themselves in one of the official languages. People who need a service and who defend their rights in the language of their choice may not receive the same service. It is scary to see what the Conservatives are doing. Yet they tell us, through the media, that they are in favour of bilingualism and want to give francophone minorities outside Quebec every possible opportunity.
I live in New Brunswick, a province that is in this situation. Where I live, francophones are in the minority. That is the reality. We need services in our language. But when we look at realities such as the abolition of the court challenges program, it is too bad, but it is a prime example of what I am talking about. The government cuts a program that costs peanuts and helps people defend their rights in court and gain access to services.
In my books, the government is not sincere when it says one thing and then turns around and cuts a program like that. When we say something, we have to be able to walk the talk. Our actions have to be consistent with what we say. At present, the Conservatives are saying one thing, but they are doing another by eliminating access to services for francophones outside Quebec and anglophones in Quebec. They are doing this to all minorities.
The court challenges program was not just in place to defend language rights. Everyone knows that it also helped people with special needs, persons with disabilities and women. It is slightly illogical to consider women a minority since they account for a large proportion of Canada's population, but this reflects a reality we can see.
When it comes to access to justice, it is very hard to really have confidence in the government. The Conservatives have said they want to have additional positions. The government and the Conservative members should stand up and walk the talk.
First, we, the members in this House, would be in a position to trust the Conservatives a little more, because, after all, we must not exaggerate. Thus, we could trust the Conservatives a little more and Canadians could also trust them a little more, because at this time, they do not trust them, specifically because any time the members of the Conservative government speak in this House or speak to the media, they say the exact opposite of what they actually do.
However, if, as parliamentarians, we can prove to Canadians that members of this House are doing the job for which they are paid, defending the interests of their constituents, only then will citizens no longer feel like they come last and will they be inclined to show greater support for their politicians and representatives in the polls. In addition, our actions will be fair and consistent with our words when it is time to set policy and make decisions. The Conservatives, however, do just the opposite.
I spoke earlier about bilingualism and the court challenges program. Consider for example the New Brunswick woman who could not be served in French by the RCMP and who was able to defend her rights thanks to a court decision and the court challenges program. Let us imagine this woman's situation if, in addition to not being able to access services in her language in New Brunswick, she also had to deal with a judicial system that did not allow her access to justice in her language. That would be ridiculous. That really is the direction being taken by the Conservatives and this is reflected in their actions. Canadian are afraid of their actions. This is one reason why Canadians have many fears about the Conservatives.
Let us now imagine if this woman, in addition to not being served in her language—and the court ruled that she should have been served in her language—did not even have access to judicial services in her language.
It really would be incredible. It would make no sense. I am convinced that my colleagues on this side of the House agree with me. It would also be interesting if the Conservative government were to acknowledge this. Citizens would have a little more trust in the government. At the very least, one thing is certain. We, the Liberals, rise to keep the Conservatives in check because Canadians have faith in the Liberals. We have established many programs over the years and over the decades. We established the criteria and the rules to ensure that Canadians are treated fairly.
I will go back to the example given a little earlier: the court challenges program. The results of this program speak for themselves. There was the case of Montfort Hospital in the national capital region. This program also made it possible for French-language schools to be opened in some provinces where there are few francophones. And there are other examples.
As I was saying earlier, what they say and do are two different things. As we know, the court challenges program was eliminated twice. By what kind of government? Not by the Liberals, but by the Conservatives. For this reason, Canadians trust the Liberals. That is also why Canadians want change. The Conservatives say one thing to the people, the media and the House of Commons and then do another.
At some point, we will take over from the Conservatives. I can guarantee you that the time will come for the Conservatives to face the music. Then the Liberals will ensure that Canadians are treated equitably and that they have equal access to justice. Canadians will not fear their government as is the case today.
Bill C-31 is necessary for increasing the number of judges in the country. However, as one can guess by all the examples I have given, there are many things that can make us fear the worst, that can change the entire face of the judiciary and, in fact, the entire face of the country within a few yeas. The Conservatives do not want to go in a direction of greater fairness. They do not want to ensure that the machinery of government or the judicial system is fairer. They are trying to stack the deck to gain control, to allow their Conservative ideology to prevail instead of allowing fairness and equity to prevail. We talk about equity on many levels: pay equity, equity among peoples. These are magic words all hon. members should keep in mind. When we are fair, everyone wins.
They want to favour certain people. As I was saying earlier, who does the Conservative government just happen to be favouring? As luck would have it, they are favouring senior Conservative Party members within the different provinces. That is quite the coincidence.
Sometimes a person is appointed. One might think that person is possibly the best candidate to be appointed, with the best skills and qualifications. At the second appointment, there begin to be some serious doubts. We start to wonder whether the Conservative way of doing things is just to ensure that the Conservative ideology is spread far and wide. At the third appointment, we have more than just doubts. We wonder what is happening and whether they are in the process of so completely changing the face of Canada that Canadians will no longer recognize themselves.
Bill C-31 is certainly important for increasing the number of judges. Nonetheless, access to justice must prevail above all.