Friday, June 26th 2020 - Question Period - Official Languages; Modernization of Act
Modernization of Act
Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): To the government leader in the Senate, this is a question from our colleague, the Honourable Rose-May Poirier of New Brunswick, our caucus chair:
The government recently confirmed that the modernization of the Official Languages Act will not happen this year as promised. That is disappointing and worrisome to all francophones. This act needs to be modernized as soon as possible. I realize that the bill can’t be tabled, but surely the administrative work hasn’t stopped. Could the government make a commitment and promise that the act will be modernized during this Parliament?
Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question. Protecting official languages is a priority for this government and for all of Canada’s governments. It’s part of our national identity.
The crisis is causing delays with this long-awaited bill. It’s not because the bill isn’t important. On the contrary, it’s extremely important. I can assure honourable senators that the government will continue to work on this bill, and as soon as it’s ready, it will be tabled so that it can be studied by the Senate.
Senator Martin: Senator Poirier continues:
Everyone is ready for this modernization. Consultations have been held. The report of the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages has been submitted. Now, all we need is for the federal government to move forward. Would it be possible, leader, for you to give an update to this chamber? How far has the government gotten with its plan to modernize the Official Languages Act?
Senator Gold: I thank the honourable senator for the question. Unfortunately, I’m unable to give you a date today as I must do some research. I will do my utmost to ensure that all interested parties, including representatives of official language minority communities across Canada, are informed of the government’s plans as soon as they can be released. Thank you.