So They Want Us to Learn French: Promoting and Opposing Bilingualism in English-Speaking Canada

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UBC Press, Sep 15, 2015 - Political Science - 364 pages

Since the 1960s, bilingualism has become a defining aspect of Canadian identity. And yet, today, relatively few English Canadians speak or choose to speak French. Why has personal bilingualism failed to increase as much as attitudes about bilingualism as a Canadian value?

In So They Want Us to Learn French, Matthew Hayday explores the various ways in which bilingualism was promoted to English-speaking Canadians from the 1960s to the late 1990s. He analyzes the strategies and tactics employed by organizations on both sides of the bilingualism debate. Against a dramatic background of constitutional change and controvery, economic turmoil, demographic shifts, and the on-again, off-again possibility of Quebec separatism, English-speaking Canadians had to decide whether they and their children should learn French. Highlighting the personal experiences of proponents and advocates, Hayday provides a vivid narrative of a complex, controversial, and fundamentally Canadian question.

 

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Contents

Introduction
3
1 Bilingualism and Official Languages in Canada
23
2 From Chez Hélène to the First French Immersion Experiments
37
3 Playing Games with the Language Czar
54
4 Social Movement Activism 196976
76
5 Canadian Parents for French and Its Adversaries 197786
99
6 Internationalization and Higher Education
136
7 Canadian Parents for French and Local Activism 197787
148
9 Squaring Off with the Foes of Bilingualism in the Meech Lake Years 198690
173
10 Constitutional Crises and Economic Challenges in the Early 1990s
208
11 A Millennial Reprieve
237
Conclusion
249
Appendices
263
Notes
273
Unpublished Primary Sources
317
Index
319

8 Shifting Priorities in the Commissioners Office
163

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About the author (2015)

Matthew Hayday is an associate professor of history at the University of Guelph.

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