House of Commons rallies around NDP’s vision of bilingualism

MPs of all stripes vote in favour of Bill C-419

On this 50th anniversary of the Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, the House of Commons took a major step forward today in reinforcing bilingualism in our federal institutions—by adopting the NDP’s Bill C-419 concerning officers of Parliament.

“In the eyes of New
Democrats, it is essential that Francophones and Anglophones everywhere in
Canada can be served in their mother tongue by the senior officials in our
greatest democratic institutions,” said the NDP’s deputy critic for Democratic
Reform, Alexandrine Latendresse (Louis-Saint-Laurent). “That is why we
introduced this bill: to make sure official languages are respected in Ottawa.”

Historically, bilingualism has always been considered a necessary skill for any of the 10 positions targeted by Bill C-419—such as the Auditor General, Chief Electoral Officer and Commissioner of Official Languages.

“Totally ignoring this tradition, the Conservatives appointed a unilingual Auditor General,” said the NDP’s Official Languages critic, Yvon Godin (Acadie–Bathurst). “It was about time we entrenched this principle in law to prevent any similar situation from occurring.”

"With C-419, all federal parties have shown that they can work together for the good of all Canadians. We can be proud," concluded Latendresse.