Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to stand in the House to continue debate and to promote official languages across the country.
On March 28, I had the honour of asking the Prime Minister a question after the tabling of the Liberal government's action plan on official languages. From an investment point of view, this action plan does not meet the aspirations of the communities. The FCFA and QCGN had asked for a lot more money. Unfortunately the action plan does not make up, as the Liberals had promised, for the 10-year backlog created by the Conservative government.
However, the government promises more action for francophone immigration outside Quebec and for early childhood, two areas considered essential by our official language minority communities. We still have a long way to go in these areas, however, though they are critical for the survival of our communities. We expect many more initiatives on the part of the government. I would like to know what the government intends to do in these two areas.
I introduced another bill today, one that improves the Official Languages Act. The Liberals voted against Bill C-203 on bilingualism for Supreme Court justices, so I introduced a bill to amend the Official Languages Act. If it is passed, the government will have to commit to appointing bilingual justices to the Supreme Court. That would be a major step forward. Unfortunately, all we have is a policy that is not enshrined in law. That policy has no teeth and can be ignored at will. We need to do something about that fast.
I am vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Official Languages. The committee submitted a unanimous report on community media serving official language minority communities. There again, the committee asked the Liberal government to act quickly.
In the past decade, advertising revenues for media serving OLMCs, official language minority communities, have dropped by 70%. That has made it hard for them to survive. Unfortunately, the Liberal government is investing more and more in Facebook, Google, and other such media, leaving our community media high and dry.
That is why we tabled the report entitled “Media in the Digital Age”. This report recommends that the government take funds previously allocated for national media advertising in the current budget and use them to immediately establish a special $2-million emergency fund, which will be disbursed promptly through national advertising contracts to media serving official language minority communities across the country. This is extremely important to community broadcasters that serve official language communities. For the sake of our radio stations and newspapers, it is vital to act now. I hope the government will respond to this request from the committee.
I would like to know what the government plans to do. Will it respond favourably to the very important request contained in this unanimous report?
The Liberals, the Conservatives, and the New Democrats all agree. Will the Liberals agree to award a contract post-haste—