ARCHIVED - Ottawa, June 6, 2006

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Linguistic minorities left out in the cold in the last readjustment of federal electoral boundaries

Today, the Commissioner of Official Languages, Dr. Dyane Adam, released a study entitled Drawing the line: The Impact of Readjusting the Electoral Boundaries on Official Language Minority Communities. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether the commissions had fulfilled their commitment to enhancing the vitality of official language minority communities in Canada.

The Commissioner undertook this study after receiving several complaints following the 2002-2003 readjustment of federal electoral boundaries. The analysis of these complaints showed that certain commissions had not taken into account the impact of their decisions on official language communities.

Although some commissions have shown more leadership than others, the Commissioner noted that "in several cases, linguistic duality and the vitality of official language minority communities were not given due consideration during the 2002-2003 readjustment." This contributes to the weakening of official language minority communities and to their social and economic marginalization.

In Dr. Adamís view, changes should be made to the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act and to the mechanisms used by the commissions, so as to ensure that official language minority communities are better protected and that their development is supported. "The results of this study should help to make the government aware of the measures that need to be taken to solidify this commitment," said the Commissioner.

The Commissioner set out 10 recommendations to ensure that during the next federal electoral boundaries readjustment, official language communities will receive the protection to which they are entitled. "The commissions must respect their obligations with regard to official languages and take the rights of the communities into consideration," concluded Dr. Adam.

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For more information, please contact:

Robin Cantin
Manager, Public Affairs           
Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
Telephone: 613-995-0374
Toll-free: 1-877-996-6368