86% of Commons witnesses spoke English in hybrid Parliament: Bloc

Commons forgets French

The committee in charge of administering the House of Commons is set to look into whether the hybrid Parliament is forcing French-speaking MPs and committee witnesses to speak English.

The Bloc Québécois says the issue is "very concerning" and has persuaded the board of internal economy to look into whether poor audio quality is leading to less interpretation into French, and from French into English.

The hybrid Parliament, which allows MPs and witnesses to committees to participate via videolink, puts a strain on interpreters, often because of poor audio quality.

Some interpreters in the last hybrid Parliament suffered injuries to their ears and had to take time off.

The Bloc's whip, Claude DeBellefeuille, told the board that 86 per of witnesses who gave evidence to Commons committees in the last hybrid Parliament spoke in English.

The party's deputy House leader, Christine Normandin, says she is concerned that English-speaking MPs and ministers have not always been interpreted into French in debates.

Earlier this week, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault addressed the House of Commons remotely but no French interpretation was available.

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