Official Languages service capacity not matching bilingual population

Ottawa –Despite spin from the government, official language services are in retreat across the country, according to Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing, MP Carol Hughes.

Hughes questioned the Minister of Official Languages on the findings and recommendations in the annual report of the Commissioner for Official Languages, Graham Fraser that was released on Thursday.

The report indicated that a combination of neglect and budget cuts have cut into the bilingual capacity of the public service. 

“The reality is funding for Official Languages is going down under the Conservatives,” said Hughes. “These service cuts have a dramatic impact on our minority communities.”

The irony of the gap in bilingual services is that it doesn’t reflect the growth in bilingualism among the general population which has risen by a half a million individuals over the last ten years.

Mr. Fraser’s report gave specific recommendations including a federal-provincial collaborative approach to ensure that the bilingual capacity of Canada's superior court judiciary is appropriate at all times, and a directive on language training with a report to Parliament in 2013-2014.

“Our official languages are a critical part of who we are, as a country,” said Hughes.  "This minister must do better. So will she implement the Commissioner’s recommendations, yes or no?”