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Thursday, April 11th 2019 - Question Period - Official Languages: Post-secondary Education - Question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate

Official Languages

Post-secondary Education

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Hon. Rose-May Poirier: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Senator Harder, on Tuesday morning, I had the pleasure of meeting with stakeholders from the francophone post-secondary teaching community, who shared their concerns about the negotiations on the new Official Languages in Education Program, or OLEP, which continue to drag on. Under this program, the federal government provides financial support for minority language education and second-language instruction.

The agreements are renewed every five years. The last agreement expired on March 31, 2018, and it is difficult to know whether negotiations are progressing or whether they have even started.

Senator Harder, funding for the OLEP is essential to the vitality and development of linguistic minority communities. Can you give us an update on the OLEP negotiations?

[English]

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for her question. I will undertake inquiries and report back.

[Translation]

Senator Poirier: In addition, Senator Harder, given that the negotiations for the new agreement were not concluded, Minister Joly announced that the block funding would be extended by two years.

The government knew the agreement was expiring on March 31, 2018. The agreement has been expired for a year now, and the government needs another two years to negotiate with the provinces.

Why is the government dragging its feet on this file? Why doesn’t it take the negotiation of these agreements seriously?

[English]

Senator Harder: Again, I will add that to my inquiries.

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