Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism

From Academic Kids

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, in addition to "B & B".

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.

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 strongly supported by both the Progressive Conservatives and the NDP, but the Tories did have concerns with the costly implementation of the reforms. Regional parties like the Social Credit movement, the Confederation of Regions Party and later on, the Reform Party would object strongly to these changes.

In the Constitution Act of 1982, Trudeau ensured that many of the Commission's recommendations were permanently included in the Canadian constitution.

In his later years Trudeau introduced a major change to the Commission's findings. While Canada would remain a bilingual nation it would pursue a policy of multiculturalism rather than biculturalism.

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.

See also

External links


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools