The Higgs government wants to amend the Official Languages Act to create an official languages secretariat. It also excludes its obligation to revise the law every decade.
According to Blaine Higgs, this periodic review is no longer necessary since the Secretariat of Public Languages, a government agency, will be able to make continuous amendments when there is a “problem”, without controversy every decade.
“For something that creates a lot of anxiety, it’s a big deal.” […]permanent ability to address any deficiencies. So let’s have a dialogue that allows us to do that in a meaningful way.
The bill of less than three pages does not include any article that obligates the government or the secretariat to modify the law for a certain period of time. It simply excludes the Prime Minister’s commitment to improve it every decade.
Opposition parties immediately denounced this change, describing it as a disadvantage for the French-speaking minority.
The Liberal Party and the Green Party have said they will not support this bill unless it is amended.
Blaine Higgs believes that the French-speaking minority should not see this change as a disadvantage.
“I don’t think they see it as a disadvantage, I think they see why we have to wait ten years?”
Note here that there is nothing in the law that prevents the government from changing the law more often than once a decade.
We asked the Prime Minister what obliges the government to change if there is no time provided in the law. He replied that the government is missing a lot of deadlines, whether in public languages or in other areas.
“If you look at how many notes are missing in the usual part, if you look at the many reports that are written, whether this is one report or another, whether it’s in public languages or something else with multiple recommendations… It takes a long, long time, and it’s never necessarily completed.
He says the secretariat will be more effective in pushing the government to meet its obligations.
under the carpet
Kevin Arseneau of the Green Party believes that the premier is simply trying to sweep the issue under the rug.
“What we are trying to do is to exclude any responsibility that the Prime Minister has in the Official Languages Act.”
The ambassador claims that the review could have a “social debate about the true equality” of the official language communities.
The Green MP asserts that true equality has not yet been achieved between the official language communities, and therefore “some status quo is a disadvantage”.
“But we’re also adding a wash to remove this review, so when we remove review, it usually means no review.”
Liberal MP Benoît Bourque is also unhappy.
“I absolutely swear, I think it’s ridiculous, I think it undermines the rights of minority speakers. He is a wolf who tells people: “I can take care of myself without oil, believe me.” I find it completely inappropriate. “
He says the Liberal Party will not vote for this bill unless the government agrees to maintain a review every decade.
“We will do everything to ensure that this bill does not pass in time. […] All options are on the table, including filing.