Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have introduced Bill C-482. I would also like to thank my colleague from Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert for her remarks, in which she really explained the bill. I am a little disappointed to see that my colleagues on the opposition side and my colleague who has just spoken have not sufficiently understood Bill C-482. In fact, it does not take away anything. It only amends the Official Languages Act so that businesses respect the spirit of the charter dealing with the language of signage and the language of work in related legislation on businesses. I would like to thank my colleague from Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, my colleague from Joliette and my colleague from Gatineau, who travelled all across Quebec to explain Bill C-482, what it would change and what it would modify. I can say that it takes away absolutely nothing from the privileges of minorities within Quebec.
It is essential to specify in the Official Languages Act that French is the official language of Quebec. I would like the members who spoke on this bill could really recognize that French is the official language of Quebec. That is why it seems significant to us to amend the preamble to the act to state that the federal government recognizes French as the official language of Quebec and the common language of Quebec.
This bill would amend two parts of the Official Languages Act: Part VII, which deals with the advancement of English and French in Canadian society, and Part IX, which deals primarily with the mandate of the Commissioner of Official Languages.
Recognition of the Charter of the French Language in no way diminishes the rights and privileges of the Quebec anglophone minority that are set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and I emphasize that point. These amendments strictly limit the power of the federal government to intervene in Quebec's language policy.
Let us talk about a concept. The concept of nationhood is to recognize a nation. It also means recognizing its identity, its language, its culture, its history and its institutions. For the Conservatives, the concept of the Quebec nation is an empty shell. The Conservative game is nothing but a manoeuvre intended to trivialize the Quebec nation.
Logic requires that the identity of Quebec be recognized; in the North American context, that the predominance of French in Quebec be recognized; that Bill 101 adopted by the National Assembly be recognized and respected since a statutory reference is possible. We have used an example on many occasions, the example of minimum wage legislation. The reality is that the Conservatives do not have the courage to move from words to action. The Quebec nation in a united Canada is just window dressing.
The leader of the Liberal Party of Canada has already publicly committed himself to the need to defend and protect the French fact in Quebec. Speaking of Bill 101, he said in 1997 it was, and I quote, “The opposite of a racist law.” He even told the Canadian Press that Bill 101 was a great Canadian law. In that context, I invite honourable members and, in particular, all members from Quebec, to support this bill.