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Official languages ​​| A problem of interpretation delays the work of the committee



(Ottawa) Points of order erupted from all sides on Tuesday at the parliamentary committee responsible for studying the bill to reform the Official Languages ​​Act. The meeting was delayed for almost an hour and a half due to an audio issue related to interpretation. The interpreters’ union has been complaining for months about acoustic shock caused by non-compliant microphones.

This is the second time in as many days that a parliamentary committee has been disrupted in this way. Google officials were unable to testify on Monday. They had to explain the removal of news content from their search engine for about one million users in Canada to protest Bill C-18. The meeting was eventually canceled and is to take place at a later date.

NDP MP Niki Ashton, who was attending the meeting virtually, lamented issues that prevented her from addressing the committee even though she was hooked up properly. A performer complained about the inadequate sound.

“The technicians behind us and the IT team tell us that everything was working well on M’s Ashton,” committee chair René Arseneault summed up after the meeting. “On that side, we were told that no, it was not the case in one of the boxes,” he added, pointing to the booths where the interpreters are installed to translate the words of the deputies.

The Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE), which represents interpreters, filed an official complaint on February 3 against the Translation Bureau on behalf of its members. He accuses the government of failing to take adequate steps to protect performers from injury caused by poor sound quality when elected officials and witnesses tune in remotely.

The problems that led to the postponement of the testimony of Google representatives would have been of the same nature. “I heard there was a similar problem yesterday, but I wasn’t there so I can’t repeat,” Arseneault said.

C-13 continues to divide

Bloc Québécois MP Mario Beaulieu and Conservative MPs were trying to extend clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-13 so that the amendment on the application of Quebec’s Charter of the French language to businesses with jurisdiction federal can be debated instead of going directly to the vote. This is one of the demands of the Quebec government, which wants to ensure that the language of work is French in businesses such as banks and airlines or railway companies.

“It’s historic, we question the principle of Official Languages ​​Act “said Mr. Beaulieu in a press scrum.


Mario Beaulieu

In its current version, Bill C-13, which promotes bilingualism, gives these federally regulated businesses the choice of applying this provision of the Charter of the French language or Official Languages ​​Act.

Liberal MP Marc Serré accused the Bloc MP and his Conservative colleagues of multiplying maneuvers to delay the work. “It was just a plan to delay things again,” he said.

Points of order, proposed amendments and sub-amendments rocketed from all sides during the rest of the meeting, which lasted less than an hour. It was adjourned without the deputies being able to agree. Niki Ashton MP had proposed a passageway for the study to be extended by six and a half hours.

The bill to reform the Official Languages ​​Act divides the Liberals even though it is one of their election promises. MP Anthony Housefather had tried in February to evacuate any allusion to the Charter of the French language without success, according to The Canadian Press. He believes that this could harm the linguistic rights of the English-speaking minority in Quebec.

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