Madam Speaker, it is a great honour for me to rise in support of this great piece of legislation, which is essential. I also want to congratulate the hon. member for Trois-Rivières for proposing it. As previous speakers have mentioned, this bill addresses a deficiency. The fact that no member from the government or from the other parties has risen to support this bill makes me wonder. Why do they not support it? I would appreciate an explanation.
I am going to talk about the purpose of this legislation. I represent the riding of Terrebonne—Blainville in the beautiful province of Quebec. When I travel to other parts of the country and tell people I come from Quebec, the first thing they think about is French.
People who do not live in Quebec or elsewhere in Canada would be surprised to learn that there are places where the working environment is English-speaking. Why? It is because our laws are flawed, and this is what the bill seeks to correct. In short, this legislation is useful because it would apply the province's language requirements to federally regulated businesses. As my colleagues who have spoken before me have pointed out, French may be the primary language of work in a small telecommunications company. However, there could be a business next door like Rogers, which is federally regulated, where employees are forced to speak English.
I totally object to this situation and to the fact that an employee may be told by his employer that he must learn English to work there. This is completely ridiculous. We must stop thinking in those terms and correct the flaws in the legislation.
I have some facts for those who criticize this bill on the ground that it is unnecessary. There are 200,000 workers who are not covered by the Charter of the French Language. We are talking about 200,000 people who go to work and may be forced to speak English, that is, to work in a language that is not their first language. This can create a working environment in which workers are less happy. It is important to point this out.
The Quebec Labour Code does not apply to federally regulated businesses, and this flaw must be corrected. Someone mentioned that the hon. Minister of Industry has set up an advisory committee. Perhaps this will correct the situation, but who will appoint the members of that committee, how much will the consultation process cost, and how long is it going to take? Will a report be produced? Will something come out of that exercise? A committee is just a half-measure to correct the situation. We must move forward and support Bill C-315.
I remind hon. members that Quebec was recognized as a nation in the House by all hon. members and by this government. If we believe in the concept of nationhood, it is essential to respect the language rights of Quebec's francophone majority. I want to tell members from Ontario, New Brunswick—actually not New Brunswick, because it is not a good example—and British Columbia, where the anglophone population forms a majority, that this bill will not apply to their provinces. It will only apply to Quebec, where the rights of the linguistic majority are not respected the way they should be. The bill directly addresses this issue.
I have a quote for those who think that this bill is unnecessary. It is taken from an article on the issue of English at National Bank in Quebec: “According to several sources, English has become the primary language of work for a large number of National Bank employees, particularly in the information technology or IT sector.” This is a major problem. When we think “Quebec”, we think “French”, but with such flaws in the legislation, we cannot move forward and correct the situation.
This is all I have to say on the bill. However, I want to congratulate my colleague again for proposing a great piece of legislation. I urge all hon. members to help our members and the workers in Quebec who must learn a language other than their mother tongue in order to work and keep their jobs. I urge all hon. members to rise in support of French.