Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism


Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism

The Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism was a Canadian royal commission established on July 19, 1963, by the government of Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson to "inquire into and report upon the existing state of bilingualism and biculturalism in Canada and to recommend what steps should be taken to develop the Canadian Confederation on the basis of an equal partnership between the two founding races, taking into account the contribution made by the other ethnic groups to the cultural enrichment of Canada and the measures that should be taken to safeguard that contribution".

Throughout the 1960s, Canada saw the rise of modern Quebec nationalism as the federation-wide French Canadian nationalism became less and less supported by the younger Francophone generations of this province. The perceived failure of Canada to establish the equality of the English and French languages within governmental institutions is one of main reasons for the rise of the Quebec secessionist movement.

The Commission was jointly chaired by André Laurendeau, publisher of "Le Devoir", and Davidson Dunton, president of Carleton University. As a result it was sometimes known as the Laurendeau-Dunton commission.

Ten commissioners representing each of the provinces were also included in the commission as areas such as education were provincial responsibilities.

The Commission recommended sweeping changes when its final report was published in 1969, some 4 years after the publication of its preliminary report in February of 1965. Among other things, it reported that Francophones were underrepresented in the nation's political and business communities. 1961 statistics of the salaries of Quebec men based on ethnic origin revealed that French Canadians were only better paid than Italian Canadians and Native Americans, behind all other ethnic groups.

Recommendations:

Included the following:

- That Ontario and New Brunswick become officially bilingual.

- That Bilingual districts be created in regions of Canada where French speakers made up more than 10% of the population.

- That parents be able to have their children attend schools in the language of their choice in regions where there is sufficient demand.

- That Ottawa become a bilingual city.

- That English and French be declared official languages of Canada.

Incoming Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau made it one of his highest priorities to implement the Commission's recommendations to solve these problems. The most important of these was making Canada an officially bilingual nation. This was introduced in 1969 in the "Official Languages Act". The provinces were also recommended to make reforms, and many did. Canada's education system was overhauled and school children across the country were made to learn both languages.

The Commission and its recommendations were supported by both the Progressive Conservative Party and the New Democratic Party, but the Tories did have concerns with the costly implementation of the reforms. Regional parties like the Social Credit Party, the Confederation of Regions Party and later on, the Reform Party would object strongly to these changes.

In his later years Trudeau, made a major parting from the Commission's findings. While Canada would remain a bilingual nation, it would pursue a policy of multiculturalism rather than biculturalism.

In the "Constitution Act, 1982", Trudeau ensured that many of the Commission's recommendations were permanently included in the Constitution of Canada, as sections 16 through section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms included several language rights.

While in some circles the Commission's legacy is controversial, others view it as a success. The under representation of French-Canadians in positions of power is less of a problem and French-Canadians have access to government services in their own language.

ee also

*Bilingualism in Canada
*Gendron Commission
*Jaroslav Rudnyckyj, commissioner who argued for change from biculturalism to multiculturalism

External links

* [http://www.collectionscanada.ca/indexcommissions/index-e.html Index to Federal Royal Commissions]
* [http://www.mapleleafweb.com/features/cultural/bilingualism/history.html History of Canadian Language Politics from Confederation to a Royal Commission]
* [http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0000741 An article on the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism in The Canadian Encyclopedia]
* [http://archives.radio-canada.ca/IDC-0-17-592-3077/politique_economie/bilinguisme_biculturalisme/clip8 Radio interview of Davidson Dunton by Simon Durivage on Radio-Canada (November 12, 1978)] (in French)


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Commission of Inquiry on the Situation of the French Language and Linguistic Rights in Quebec — The Commission of Inquiry on the Situation of the French Language and Linguistic Rights in Quebec was established under the Union Nationale government of Jean Jacques Bertrand on December 9, 1968. Contents 1 Background 2 Composition 3 Mandate …   Wikipedia

  • Official bilingualism in Canada — Culture of Canada This article is part of a series History Canadians Canadian identity …   Wikipedia

  • Official bilingualism in the public service of Canada — Because Canada has, for over two centuries, contained both English and French speakers, the question of the language used in the administration of public affairs has always been a sensitive issue. Among the aspect of this issue that have excited… …   Wikipedia

  • List of Canadian Royal Commissions — This is an incomplete list of Royal Commissions appointed by the Sovereign in Right of Canada. Royal Commissions have been held in Canada since Confederation; they usually consist of a panel of experts appointed by the Governor in Council to… …   Wikipedia

  • Section Sixteen of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms — is the first of several sections of the Charter dealing with Canada s two official languages, English and French. Section 16 declares that English and French are the official languages of Canada and of the province of New Brunswick.TextUnder the… …   Wikipedia

  • Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada — Departments of the Government of Canada Citizenship and Immigration Minister …   Wikipedia

  • Section Twenty-seven of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms — is a section of the Charter that, as part of a range of provisions within the section 25 to section 31 bloc, helps determine how rights in other sections of the Charter should be interpreted and applied by the courts. It is believed that section… …   Wikipedia

  • Pirates and Pathfinders — is an Canadian elementary school textbook, originally published in in 1947 (revised in 1963) by Clarke, Irwin, Company. Marjorie Hamilton wrote the text; Lloyd Scott illustrated it. A revised French language edition was printed by Clarke, Irwin… …   Wikipedia

  • Timeline of official languages policy in Canada — Because the country contains two major language groups, in Canada Official languages policy has always been an important and high profile area of public policy. In an exhaustive 1971 study of Canadian language law prepared for the Royal… …   Wikipedia

  • Multiculturalism in Canada — Culture of Canada This article is part of a series History Canadians Canadian identity …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.