Statement made on 06 October 2011 by Senator Pierre De Bané (retired)
Hon. Pierre De Bané:
Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Pursuant to my questions yesterday, where I brought to the attention of the leader that the Minister of Foreign Affairs had printed, at taxpayers' expense, different sets of official business cards, some in French, some in English and some bilingual, the leader answered that the business cards of Minister Baird, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, are printed in both of Canada's official languages.
What I was bringing to her attention was that besides his bilingual business cards, he also had printed additional unilingual cards, in English and in French. I emphasize that no official of this government and no member of either house of Parliament has ever done such a thing since 1970 because it is against the rules and policies of this place. We do not have two official languages that are equal but separate. We want both of them and he has contravened the regulations.
The leader said yesterday, and I concur with her, that linguistic duality is reflected in everything the Prime Minister does and every word he utters.
In view of that, I am asking her if she would convey to the minister that he take the example of the Prime Minister and reimburse the treasury for those unilingual business cards, either in French or in English.
Truth is proven by concrete action. He has done something that none of his predecessors has ever done, irrespective of party. Those have been the rules for almost 50 years. I think he should recognize his mistake and reimburse the treasury for the expense of the unilingual business cards. Would the leader provide that assurance to this house?
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