House of Commons Hansard #361 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was language.

Topics

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member made more of a comment than a question. I will take the advantage of developing the theme he expressed as follows.

There are widely spoken indigenous languages in Canada: Cree, Oji-Cree, Inuktitut and several others, the “big six” that have over 10,000 speakers each. There are also many languages of fewer speakers. I do not think there should be, in principle, a distinction between them. One is not more valuable than the other. It is simply a statistical likelihood that we will have certain individuals here.

There are also practical difficulties that get greater and greater with respect to getting a suitable translator for some of the less widely spoken languages. On the other hand, no one just shows up in the middle of a Parliament unless he or she becomes a member through a by-election, which means we have some warning as to who the speakers are.

The second point I want to make in this regard is on the language of use, not whether the speaker is indigenous. It seems reasonable to me that if we were to have, for example, non-indigenous people representing an area with an indigenous population and if they were trying to give a set speech, we ought to try to accommodate it. If they were doing so in a manner that was off the cuff, they would be expected to try to provide some kind of translation. This seems reasonable to me. It is all about equality.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for my friend who I have known for some time. He and I share, I think, a significant amount of respect for each other. I hope that is true from his perspective as well.

I represent a riding in northwestern British Columbia, Skeena—Bulkley Valley, of which 35% to 40% of the people living there are indigenous Canadians from many groups, Tsimshian, Haida, Wet'suwet'en, Gitxsan and so on.

I want to talk about privilege, which is a word that we sometimes thrust upon those who are wealthy or born to high status. He and I enjoy an equal privilege of being non-indigenous English speakers, with English being our native tongue. When we move through the world, we are able to enjoy a world in Canada, certainly in Parliament and around the country in which our language is very often understood. That puts us at ease because we can fully express ourselves with our questions and concerns.

Many do not have that privilege, particularly indigenous Canadians. We must understand that our country cannot be its complete self until there is some effort to reconcile what was imposed upon indigenous peoples, in particular the issue of language. The inability to express ourselves in our native tongue, as the expression is, limits our ability to be effective in the world, diminishes our power in the world.

I would think that getting over these technical challenges to allow the people's House to finally reconcile this imposition of a colonial structure upon indigenous peoples would be something that all of us would welcome rather than find reasons to resist.

Does the hon. member understand this notion and does he understand the importance of this, not just to people here but, more important, to many millions of Canadians across the country?

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Mr. Speaker, I could respond by just saying, yes, but I will make a point. There is not enough time for me to ask him a question about the status of languages, whether they are endangered or robust. I am unfamiliar with the details in his riding with regard to those languages.

All of these languages are as important to those who speak them, those who were born into them and those who can most fully express themselves as the more widely spoken languages. That goes without saying. The member is right that they bring no particular economic advantage, but they are as rich in terms of the literature, the heritage and the history they bring with them. Once people are part of a culture, it is not something where they can say they will rewrite the record to put themselves in a more advantageous position.

Who could not have sympathy with such a situation? Who could not say we should do all that we can? However, all that we can do has to be dictated by what we practically can do. That is the only caveat I would put on this. I agree 100% with the perspective that my hon. colleague, who I respect very much, is expressing.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time.

It gives me particular pride to rise on the 66th report from the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, and the importance of adopting this report on time for its recommendations to be in place for our imminent move to West Block.

Growing up I was taught, as all Canadians have been at least since the Official Languages Act was brought in, that Canada has two official languages, representing the two foundational nations of the country we call Canada.

Canada, of course, we were taught was an Indian word meaning home. I say Indian deliberately and without an accurate translation of "Canada" in this context because that is how we were taught. It was something that never made a lot of sense and as a kid I accepted the facts as they were presented to me, but I always had a twinge of doubt.

Somehow the English and the French, two western European powers, had founded Canada. However, I asked myself questions as a kid. Why was there an Indian reserve called Doncaster number 17 almost walking distance from my house? What was being reserved? What did the Indians call it? What were these Indians we had been taught ever so vaguely about if not foundational to Canada? If there was a word Canada, what was the rest of their language? If I lived in Canada, why did I not speak Canadian?

England speaks English. France speaks French. Korea speaks Korean. Japan speaks Japanese. I did not know anything about African languages. Quite frankly, we still are not really taught about how that continent got its borders and countries or how incredibly vast Africa actually is. We were not taught anything about its numerous languages, and having that knowledge would probably only have further confused my childhood-self in my quest for understanding the missing nations in Canada, because we were never really taught about colonialism either.

My father Joseph, who has since become very learned in indigenous issues and the real history, and that is not what we were taught in school but what actually happened, told me as a child that his grandfather, Alphonse Paré, a mining engineer and later Canadian cavalry officer in the First World War, spoke four Canadian languages: French, English, Cree, and Ojibwe.

They were, my father taught me, the trading languages of his day, and acting in his capacity as a mining engineer in Timmins, itself a city named by him for his uncle Noah Timmins, he did quite a bit of trading in Northern Ontario. However, he felt no need, no obligation, to pass these additional languages on to his nine children for reasons I will never know.

Just to confuse matters, Alphonse's wife, my Welsh great-grandmother Lucy Griffith, was born in Australia, and their middle daughter, ski champion Patricia de Burgh, Pat Paré, my grandmother, was born in Ireland while her father fought on the front lines in France, directly resulting in my own middle name of de Burgh.

At the same time, I learned that on my mother Sheila's side, my Istanbul-born grandfather, Expo '67 engineer Beno Eskenazi, spoke Ladino, for which he edited the Sephardic Folk Dictionary in the 1990s precisely in order to preserve that dying language, as well as Turkish, Greek, French, and English.

My grandmother, Goldie Wolofsky, spoke Yiddish, English and French. Her own grandfather, Hirsch Wolofsky, was the publisher of der Keneder Adler, Canada's first daily Yiddish newspaper. Often I could hear my grandparents speaking to each other in Spanish and Ladino, similar enough languages to be able to communicate, but both languages I did not understand. Incidentally, my grandmother and my mother, both born and raised in Montreal, were not permitted to attend French school as they were Jewish.

These languages were not passed on to me, and I wondered why. In high school, I took German classes specifically to be able to understand Yiddish, a language related to German in the way Ladino is related to Spanish. Unfortunately, I never found anyone to practice even German with, let alone someone to convert this knowledge to Yiddish. Therefore, to this day, I speak neither German nor Yiddish, though I can exchange a few basic sentences in the former.

While three generations ago Yiddish was the third-most spoken language in Montreal, after French and English, its speakers today are small in number. Part of my own culture, part of my background, has been largely lost.

My wife Mishiel is from Mindanao, an Island fraught with civil war in the southern Philippines. Her home town of Isulan has faced two fatal bombings this summer alone. She speaks Hiligaynon, Cebuano, Aklanon, Tagalog and English.

The Philippines were occupied by the Spanish starting in the early 16th century. The country is itself named for the reigning Spanish King at that time, King Philippe the Second.

In the nearly seven years since we met for the first time at the flame in front of Parliament Hill, I have wanted to learn about her culture, their culture, prior to the arrival of the Spanish. In my efforts, I have found precious little information. While there are over 40 languages spoken today across the Philippines, most are heavily influenced by both the Spanish occupation and the subsequent American influence following their takeover of the territory at the end of the 19th century, with the 1898 Treaty of Paris.

Knowing the cultures that built who we are, who our ancestors were, who our children are is not something to be taken lightly. We are each the product of where our ancestors have been, who they were and what they have done.

Many in this place have met my daughter, Ozara, as, among her many visits to the Hill, she has been here for Halloween dressed as a parliamentary page, the Speaker of the House and, most recently, a commercial-rated pilot. Not bad for a four-year-old kid, one who I hope will grow up knowing two things: first, that there is nothing in the world that she cannot do if she chooses to; and second, where she comes from through as many generations as we can discover.

When she turned one, we tried to figure out how many languages the grandparents of her grandparents are known to have spoken, and it is very likely that there are at least some languages spoken by them of which we are not aware.

Down the Paré line, Ozara is a 14th generation Quebecker, but she comes from many lines, from many countries. We know for sure that between us, we have ancestors, at minimum, from Australia, Canada, Ireland, France, Scotland, Spain, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, the Philippines and Wales, which is, incidentally, the same size as my riding.

Over just the past three generations, her direct ancestors spoke at minimum Aklanon, Cebuano, Cree, English, French, Greek, Hebrew, Hiligaynon, Kinaray-a, Ladino, Maguindanaon, Maranao, Ojibwe, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Turkish, and Yiddish. Of those 19 languages, her parents, Mishiel and I, speak six, having lost 13 others along the way, and English is the only language we have in common. In my family, we have lost an average of about four languages per generation.

All of this is to say that my clarity on the whole issue of our true original languages was lacking well into my adult life. To say I fully understand it now would be a bit of a stretch.

On June 8, 2017, my friend and colleague from Winnipeg Centre rose on a question of privilege, because he had intended to speak his own cultural language, Cree, in this place and wished to be understood. The Speaker's ruling two weeks later on the topic said that this was not a question of privilege under current procedures and practices, but three months later, he wrote a letter to PROC suggesting that we take a closer look at the matter.

As a member of PROC since my arrival in this place, I said to myself, “Damn right I want to look at this topic. Who am I to tell people from this land that they cannot speak the languages of this land in Parliament, of all places?”

We often mention that we are on unceded Anishinabek lands, but we do not talk about ignoring unceded languages or disregarding unceded cultures. They are unceded in the same way. They were not given; they were taken away.

Now, to be clear, MPs can speak any language they want any time they want in this place. There is plenty of precedent, and House of Commons Procedure and Practice even addresses the issue directly. The real practical issue is to be understood. In the record, Hansard will simply say, “The member spoke in language X” and, if provided, include a translation after the fact.

Recently, the member for Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs rose in the House and gave an entire statement in the Mohawk language, one of several indigenous languages used as unbroken code throughout the Second World War.

He said:

On this day, the eighth day of November, we will all bring our minds together and pay our respects to the indigenous peoples who enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Let us think of them and let us remember those who fought and died in the great wars.

Let us pay our respects and let us honour those who died for us so that we could live in peace.

Let our minds be that way.

Let us remember them.

I can think of no greater irony or demonstration of our failure in this regard than that a statement by a Caucasian, delivered in this place in Mohawk, thanking indigenous soldiers for their service to defend our democracy, may only be understood a day later through a written submission, as even with a text provided, our interpreters could not tell us what was being said in a very Canadian language. These languages deserve to be understood in this House, and report 66 lays out a path to start getting us there.

I probably have some small amount of indigenous blood myself. My family being documented in Quebec since 1647, it is quite likely. The fact that I do not know for sure speaks volumes about the importance we have placed on documenting such information. It is not this possibility that motivates me. It is the fact that so many Canadians and so many people in colonized countries all over the world do not know where they are from, and as a result, who they truly are.

I know that I am the product of an enormous number of languages and cultures from all over the world that I know little to nothing about, and I personally regret that. It is not right for us to not do everything we can to preserve cultures important to the people who come from them and languages important to the people who use them.

It is doubly not right to not include languages foundational to our country in the one place that is supposed to represent everyone and everything about us. We have the option here, today, to adopt PROC report 66, which gives us a road map, a plan, a beginning to start to think about solving these issues here in the House to offer indigenous-language speaking members the opportunity to both speak and be understood in this place.

We are generations late in doing so, but with the move to West Block and the technological changes already in place in that building, it is time to act, to not delay any further. For members who do not agree, I encourage them to take it up with their caucus, itself not a Latin word but rather an unceded word from the Algonquin languages.

It is not my intention to allow my daughter to grow up not knowing this history, not recognizing that this country we call Canada, as we know it, was built on top of unceded indigenous lands, unceded indigenous cultures and unceded indigenous languages.

It is said that in North American indigenous cultures, one's value is measured not by what we have but by what we give. On that basis, these cultures and the people who represent them have infinite value, for they have given everything.

We must adopt report 66, and we must do it today. Some things can wait no longer. In case some are wondering, the Mohawk call Doncaster reserve number 17 Tioweró:ton, meaning, roughly, where the wind begins.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her remarks in the context of this important debate.

From what I have heard today, I get the sense that members who want to speak their mother tongue will soon have access to simultaneous translation.

I would like to know if the member thinks this step in the right direction might encourage more members from indigenous communities to run for office and become MPs. They would know they can express themselves in their mother tongue in the House and be understood by all members when they speak their first language.

Does the member think this kind of progress will encourage more members whose mother tongue is an indigenous language to run for office?

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I hope so, but it is hard to say for sure.

That being said, giving people the opportunity to speak in their mother tongue or the language of their ancestors that they put the time and effort into learning can only advance the representation of indigenous people in the House. We know that indigenous people are massively under-represented here.

What my colleague from Sherbrooke said is absolutely right. It is important to give indigenous peoples, one of the founding nations of our country, the opportunity to speak their language here in order to encourage them to participate in our country's governance.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Marc Miller Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, during the member's speech, he alluded to code talking. It is important to remind this House that when the U.S. needed indigenous languages, we spared no resources in ensuring that they were used. Indeed, they were used as unbreakable code, unbreakable to the Japanese and the Germans, when Canada and the U.S. needed them most. Therefore, I find it a bitter irony when I try to grasp the objections of the Conservatives. They say that their argument does not turn so much on rights or reconciliation but more on resources and money. I still question their motives, but I believe them at face value.

It is a bitter irony that these languages, which are fragile 73 years later, are threatened with extinction, in some cases, because of omission and the direct action of governments and government-related institutions. It would be a bitter irony that, in part, their being wiped out would be contributed to simply because resources were an issue.

These are fragile languages. If we take the example of the number of friends I have who speak Mohawk or Kanyen'kehà:ka, there are about 100 of them. That is the equivalent of 10 million English speakers. In 2019, we mark the International Year of Indigenous Languages at the UN. If the Conservatives do not believe in rights and reconciliation, surely they believe in respect, surely they believe in effort and surely they believe in lifting languages to the state where they need to be in this era.

On that note, I would like to ask the member opposite if he could talk about the minimal effort this report is requiring to lift these languages to the state we need to lift them, as the member opposite said, to recognize ourselves as the country we portray abroad.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am quite privileged that the member for Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs is not, in fact, on the opposite side of me politically.

When we hear about code-talking languages being used as unbroken codes during the war, I would like to finally be able to break those codes and understand them here in this House. I think it is really important that we get there.

There is one party in the House that is opposing this change on, frankly, technical grounds. I heard two speeches that did not make any sense at all. This offers us a road map for the four speakers in this House who speak one of these languages. There are four. That is all there are. We are not talking about 60 people speaking 60 different languages every single day in this place. This would offer them the opportunity to bring their language, their culture, and the history of this country into the place that is supposed to represent each and every one of us. I think we cannot wait any longer to do this.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for sharing his time. I am somewhat reluctant to take this space today, because this was a spot intended for my very good friend, the member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, who is delayed. He and my friend from Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River have been championing this process for, in some cases, many years. We are going to be robbed of the wisdom of my friend from Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou. I will make a poor replacement, but I will do my best to talk about this incredibly important opportunity, perhaps a historic opportunity, for us in the House of Commons to be on the right side of history for once.

This place we occupy has been the symbol of the country, the good and the bad. Decisions made in this Parliament have deeply affected indigenous peoples for many generations, too often to their great cultural, spiritual and economic detriment. We have an opportunity to do something good. It is not going to solve everything. It is going to be an answer to some important things.

I will read from article 13 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It states:

Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons.

Section 2 of article 13 is important to this debate, because the House adopted this UN declaration. It says:

States shall take effective measures to ensure that this right is protected and also to ensure that indigenous peoples can understand and be understood in political, legal and administrative proceedings, where necessary through the provision of interpretation or by other appropriate means.

This is that place. If we are going to honour the House of Commons passing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was also pushed forward by my friend from Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, then we have to act.

Many of us have heard the Prime Minister and many politicians talk about reconciliation. In the place I come from and represent in northwestern British Columbia, the first question people often ask is what that means. “Don't tell me, show me.” Reconciliation can be defined in many ways and is often ill-defined or not defined at all. I believe in demonstrating what it might be.

I spoke to my Conservative colleague earlier about what one small aspect of privilege is. As a non-indigenous, English-speaking person, I can move about the world and perform my duties to the best of my ability in my mother tongue, without hesitation or pause, to express my thoughts and feelings to the best of my ability. There is no barrier between me and that expression, whereas so many people do not have that privilege. Indigenous people, in particular, have had that ability supplanted, oppressed and taken away categorically and systemically by the state. That is one of the facets of colonialism.

People can brace at that word and say it is ancient history. The fact is that this country, Canada, which we so love, will remain incomplete in its aspirations until we are able to address some of the fundamental errors we made.

These are long struggles. These are struggles that bridge generations. In our lifetime, we witness languages move from threatened to endangered to extinct, and we somehow believe that we bear no responsibility for this.

Arguments are put forward as we discuss this small but important change in how the people's House, this House of Commons, conducts its business. We hear resistance. We hear reasons bordering on excuses: there are technical challenges in accommodating the three or four speakers who might use those interpretation services; there are cost concerns for a federal government that spends north of $330 billion a year; or we would not want to deprive some community of its interpreter, as if providing interpretation work for indigenous speakers would somehow hurt indigenous interpreters. It is ridiculous.

We need to not be looking for excuses to say no but understand and compel ourselves to say yes to this report and yes to the change in the House of Commons.

I have an incomplete list here, but in northwestern British Columbia I have had the privilege of hearing Haida, Tsimshian, Gitksan, Nisga'a, Wet’suwet’en, Tahltan, Tlingit, Carrier, Heiltsuk and Nuxalk spoken at what we would call parliaments, when the people gather, when the people feast, when the people celebrate and honour those they seek to hold up, and when people are doing business in the northwest of British Columbia. At those feast halls, parliament is held for the Haida, the Tsimshian, the Nisga'a and on down the list.

I should have started my speech with something I have never said in this House.

[Member spoke in Wet’suwet’en]

[English]

I should have said that for people to listen to me here today. My family and I occupy Wet’suwet’en territory. Our house is in Wet’suwet’en territory, and I am a nedo, or a white guy, who happens to live alongside many friends of the Wet’suwet’en nation. They have welcomed me and my family in ways I cannot properly express without getting even more emotional than this debate feels to me already here today.

However, the generosity I have witnessed in trying to bridge the gap between non-Wet’suwet’en and Wet’suwet’en has been breathtaking in its scope and in people's determination to treat me as a resident of the territory and accept me as a representative of the Crown, this place, in Wet’suwet’en and other territories. This generosity, considering all the terrible things people who stood in my place in generations past did to indigenous peoples, is humbling and remarkable.

Certainly on the west coast, but also in other places, we hear politicians begin their speeches by saying that they are pleased to be here on unceded territory. Sometimes I am in the audience and wondering what that actually means. Is it just a phrase that gets put into a speech for politicians to say and then move on to say the things they were going to say anyway? Is it that when we recognize unceded territory we recognize something more? We say that these territories were not ceded, that the imposition of a colonial legal language and morality system has never been recognized or accepted, and that we require indigenous people to move through these systems in order to achieve basic rights, meaning and title, and to fight year after year against various iterations of the government, of the Crown, at the Supreme Court?

Recently, I heard a story that is important, from a former colleague who was here during the repatriation of our Constitution here in Canada, done by former prime minister Trudeau. There were negotiations with the NDP, of which Ed Broadbent was the leader at the time. We had, in principle, accepted the Constitution as it was written. Unfortunately for Mr. Broadbent, but fortunately for us, his caucus resisted. This is the plight of being the NDP leader sometimes, I suppose.

There were certain sections that the caucus at that time, in the early eighties, insisted be included. One was for the rights of women to be declared in the Constitution, and the other was section 35. Mr. Broadbent had to go back to Mr. Trudeau and say those rights needed to be included.

There was clear resistance from this institution to including section 35, regarding indigenous rights and title, in our Constitution, which includes things like language in the rights that people bear.

What are we talking about here today? We are talking about the rights of indigenous people to stand in this place and express themselves without the barrier of having to move through somebody else's language. We are talking about their right to move and express themselves through their language. We have the ability to do this.

For those who say it is too technical or there might be costs we cannot even imagine, I say this should have been done generations ago. Let us be on the right side of history. Let us not allow these things to stand in our way, because we can do this.

This Parliament in 2018 can make this small but important expression to people, not just to indigenous people but to non-indigenous Canadians, to say that this is what the people's House looks like and this is what the people's House sounds like. If it does not move in this direction, Canada cannot be the country it hopes and professes to be.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

November 29th, 2018 / 4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is extremely important for people to see themselves in the institutions of the nation-state. I have heard many elders say they are not Canadian citizens. As indigenous peoples, we were only allowed to vote in the 1960s.

It is still very difficult. As politicians, when we go out into the rest of Canada to speak with our fellow citizens, many of whom are indigenous, we hear that they do not feel part and parcel of this nation, and that they feel ignored. The action we are taking in this Parliament today is going to go a long way to ensuring that everyone feels included and that we create the nation that we truly deserve for each and every one of us.

It was mentioned in the debate earlier that there could be a shortage of interpreters. In fact, if this institution of Parliament required more interpreters, it would create an industry where more people would have the potential for employment. They would be looking for employment and would see the opportunity and the value of learning their language to such an extremely high level that they can do interpretation at the same time as someone else is speaking. That is an extremely wonderful development.

With that, I would like to throw out a challenge. Next week, the Assembly of First Nations will be meeting in Gatineau for their annual general assembly. I would like to hear translators at those gatherings as well, not only here in Parliament. I would like to hear all indigenous leaders trying to use our language as much as we can. We have to demonstrate leadership, not only here but everywhere, each and every day, so our children know it is important.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, let us put to the side this so-called barrier of saying there simply are not interpreters to fulfill the role we would require as Parliament, because that is not what the committee heard. That is not the testimony. It would be paternalistic to suggest to indigenous Canadians, “This is better for you. We don't want to hurt you by asking for more interpreters to be made available.” That would be ridiculous.

Let me go to this place, because this is my family's experience. I come from Irish heritage. My mother knows just a smattering of Gaelic, because her mother and her grandmother were unable to speak Gaelic at school or in their communities without being punished and beaten by the British governments who occupied their land at that time. My mother is able to pass to me a few Gaelic expressions, and that is it. That is the world view that I am able to express in such a small way. I feel so impoverished by that, because could it not have been better?

These are excuses. To say interpreters are unavailable or that this would cause harm to indigenous people somehow is not only wrong, but also, I would argue, paternalistic.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have had the honour of visiting Skeena—Bulkley Valley, and I know what strong indigenous communities there are there.

I want to share two powerful experiences I have had with indigenous communities. This past summer, I had the honour of travelling with my colleague, who represents northern Saskatchewan, to a very indigenous community, both Métis and Cree I believe. In that gathering and in between, it was not English that was being spoken. I could hear my colleague speaking her language, Dene. It was a beautiful moment, because we are most powerful when we speak our language.

I also want to share that when I went to a gathering of the Dene people in Fort Providence, a small community in Northwest Territories, I lost count of how many interpreters were there. Indigenous communities are used to having interpretation, even among themselves.

I wonder if my colleague can speak further to the absurdity of the suggestion that there would be difficulty in finding interpreters of these beautiful indigenous languages that Canada is grateful to have.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is something to see. I have had the privilege of living in other countries and seeing people who attempted to express themselves to me in their version of English. Then, as they switched into their native tongue, I saw the flourishing, the stature and the opening up.

In the communities I represent in northwestern British Columbia, my great privilege is to watch that happen virtually every time I go home. I get to attend ceremonies, be with people and witness the expression and the openness of being able to be there.

I so look forward to the speeches that will come if we pass this resolution. I look forward to the day I will see colleagues speak indigenous languages in their full manner and full expression, and with the beauty and richness of those languages. We should not have to wait any longer for that.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Is the House ready for the question?

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:40 p.m.

An hon. member

On division.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I declare the motion carried.

(Motion agreed to)

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, Indigenous Affairs; the hon. member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue, Telecommunications; and the hon. member for Regina—Lewvan, Steel Industry.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-86, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures, be read the third time and passed, and of the amendment.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke. I look forward to her speech.

Bill C-86, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures, is 854 pages long. Today we are being asked to examine it despite the fact that, several years prior to the Liberals sitting on that side of the House, they repeatedly denounced omnibus bills and budget bills that were so long. It is not easy for parliamentarians to study a bill such as this.

I am the official opposition critic for agriculture and agri-food, so I want to look at what is in Bill C-86 for agriculture and agri-food.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I am reluctant to interrupt the best Conservative speech I have heard this year, but can we use the budget document itself as a prop?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

On that point of order, I can give the hon. member my interpretation.

Hon. members, when giving a speech, have the right to consult the budget bill. As the Speaker, I cannot really determine their ability to find what they are looking for. I would have to leave it to the individual.

The hon. member does have, from what I can gather, about six minutes and 37 seconds left. I am hoping he will find what he is looking for quickly and be able to give us the information he is trying to find.

I will let the hon. member continue with his speech.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my hon. colleague that what I am trying to find in this 854-page bill are any sections that mention agriculture or agri-food.

Since this omnibus bill will affect farmers, it seems to me that the government should have mentioned agriculture somewhere in these 854 pages. I hope you will allow me to continue looking with my colleagues.

I just skimmed through one-eighth of the bill and I still have not found anything on agriculture or agri-food. I will therefore continue looking.