Statement made on 26 April 2012 by Senator Pierre De Bané (retired)
Hon. Pierre De Bané:
Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. The report by the Commissioner of Official Languages gets right to the point. The closure of the marine search and rescue centre in Quebec City will have a major impact on the availability of rescue services for French-speaking people in distress.
It is difficult to see how the Coast Guard will be able to resolve the problems set out in the commissioner's report. The language of work of the staff in Trenton and Halifax will still be English. Bilingual employees will have to translate from French to English for their unilingual anglophone colleagues.
What is more, in a rescue situation when every second counts, it is not enough for staff to be bilingual; they must be able to speak French well enough to understand people when they are in a state of panic. Why is the government prepared to jeopardize people's safety by failing to guarantee appropriate services in French for francophones in distress?
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