Skip to main content

Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

So They Want Us to Learn French

Promoting and Opposing Bilingualism in English-Speaking Canada

Bilingualism has become a defining aspect of Canadian identity. But why don’t more English Canadians actually speak French? So They Want Us to Learn French explores the various ways in which bilingualism was promoted to English-speaking Canadians from the 1960s to the late 1990s. It analyzes the strategies and tactics employed by organizations on both sides of the bilingualism debate. Attentive to the dramatic background of constitutional change, economic turmoil, demographic shifts, and Quebec separatism, Matthew Hayday’s vivid account places the personal experience of Canadians faced with the issue and reality of Canadian bilingualism within a historical, political, and social context.

364 pages


Table of Contents

Foreword / Graham Fraser

Preface and Acknowledgments

Introduction: Canada’s Bilingualism Conundrum

1 Bilingualism and Official Languages in Canada

2 From Chez Hélène to the First French Immersion Experiments

3 Playing Games with the Language Czar: The First Commissioner of Official Languages

4 Social Movement Activism, 1969-76

5 Canadian Parents for French and its Adversaries, 1977-86

6 Internationalization and Higher Education: The Second Commissioner of Official Languages

7 Canadian Parents for French and Local Activism, 1977-87

8 Shifting Priorities in the Commissioner’s Office

9 Squaring off the Foes of Bilingualism in the Meech Lake Years, 1986-90

10 Constitutional Crises and Economic Challenges in the Early 1990s

11 A Millennial Reprieve

Conclusion: We Learned French! Well, Many Canadians Did

Appendices

Notes

List of Unpublished Primary Sources

Index

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press