Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo arrives for his flight to Edmonton, at the airport in Montreal, November 23, 2010. The Alouettes will play the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the CFL's 98th Grey Cup football game on Sunday in Edmonton.
Credits: REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
OTTAWA - A Liberal senator who tried last year to make sure Mounties could give you a speeding ticket in English and French anywhere along the Trans-Canada highway has given up her quest.
Maria Chaput admits that its unrealistic to expect every RCMP officer to speak in our official languages.
"We have to be practical here," said Chaput, a Chretien-era appointee to the red chamber.
Chaput introduced a Senate bill in 2010 to boost bilingual services across Canada, but it died when the last federal election was called.
Now she's introduced a stripped down version, called Bill S-211, which also calls for "equal quality" of French and English services in federal institutions, but drops controversial requirements for the Mounties.
"I believe that services offered by federal institutions do not answer to the specific need of either English-speaking communities of Quebec or French-speaking communities outside Quebec," said Chaput.
Right now, the federal government can provide English-only or French-only service in airports, railway stations, ferry terminals, and public ports for which it is responsible, if there isn't enough demand for both official languages.
Chaput wants transport hubs in provincial capitals or in larger centres to be officially bilingual regardless of demand.
Based on Treasury Board data, it looks like S-211 would only force change outside Quebec.
Airports in Charlottetown and Regina would have to add French service, while airports in Saint John, N.B.; Thunder Bay, Ont.; and London, Ont. would also have to do so.
Via would be expected to add French services to its train stations in Kingston, Ont., Brantford, Ont., and Saskatoon, Sask.
The Conservatives rejected Chaput's old bill, but she's optimistic they'll welcome S-211.