Extension requested for the study of the reform of the Official Languages ​​Act

Extension requested for the study of the reform of the Official Languages ​​Act

Extension requested for the study of the reform of the Official Languages ​​Act

Adrian Wyld The Canadian Press Bloc Québécois Mario Beaulieu, in discussion with the curator Joël Godin, during a meeting of the Standing Committee on Official Languages, on February 17.

The Bloc Québécois will force, with the support of members of the Conservative Party, the holding of an emergency meeting of the Standing Committee on Official Languages ​​with the aim of extending the study of the bill to reform the official languages, learned from The Canadian Press.

“As of today, the Committee has adopted only 20 of the 71 clauses that make up Bill C-13 and only one and a half meetings, or 3 hours, remain to study and adopt the remaining 51 clauses” , write the Bloc Québécois Mario Beaulieu as well as the Conservatives Joël Godin, Bernard Généreux and Marc Dalton in their letter sent Thursday to the chairman of the committee.

Their request invokes Rule 106 (4) of the Standing Orders of the House of Commons which obliges the chairman of a committee to convene a meeting within five days when he receives a request signed by at least four members of a committee and that they represent at least two different political parties.


According to the signatories, it is “obvious” that the committee will be unable in the current situation to “pay all the necessary attention and the necessary reflection to carry out its mandate judiciously”, especially since the Languages ​​Act has not been revised since its adoption 50 years ago.

In an interview, the Bloc Québécois spokesperson for Official Languages, Mario Beaulieu, acknowledged that “we will have to get things done at some point”, but said he had trouble explaining why other committee members wanted to “rush things”.

Beaulieu declined to speculate on any additional meetings, but said he minimally wants MPs to have a debate on the “nerve” section 54 that affects private businesses under federal jurisdiction. The Bloc intends to present an amendment aimed at subjecting them to the Charter of the French language, which should pass thanks to the support of the Conservative Party and the New Democratic Party (NDP), and despite the opposition of the Liberals.


M. Beaulieu said he understood that the emergency meeting could take place as early as Tuesday, immediately before the eighth and currently last meeting scheduled for the clause-by-clause study.

Called to respond to the letter of the Bloc and the Conservative Party, the New Democrat critic for Official Languages, Niki Ashton, indicated that she agreed that “one or two meetings” should be added to “make up for lost time”.

“But we remain committed to getting the bill passed quickly,” she added. Communities have waited long enough.

In the office of the Minister of Official Languages, Ginette Petitpas Taylor, they refuse to comment on the addition of meetings, contenting themselves with noting that “it will be up to the committee to decide”.

“We remain committed to adopting C-13 as soon as possible,” spokeswoman Marianne Blondin said. It has now been a year since we tabled the bill, and stakeholders as well as the Canadian Francophonie as a whole are impatiently awaiting its adoption. “

Two weeks ago, the Minister's Parliamentary Secretary, Marc Serré, gave an even colder reception to the idea of ​​adding meetings.

“This is not necessary,” he said in a scrum. Mr. Serré also insisted that the motion that allowed clause-by-clause consideration “was clear” and called for “eight meetings”.

The famous December 1st motion is the agreement reached by members of the committee after a tussle that dragged on for weeks last fall.

They had agreed that consideration of the bill would last eight meetings after which all remaining amendments and clauses “shall be deemed moved, the President shall put to the vote, forthwith and successively, without further debate.” However, the agreement also provides that the study can be extended if it is the wish of a majority of its members.

The Canadian Press had not received a response to a request for comment from Conservative Official Languages ​​critic Joël Godin at the time of this writing.

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