Dunton, who was regarded as a visionary and humanitarian, was the first full-time Chairman of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and President of Carleton University. Ten commissioners representing Canada's cultural-linguistic composition were chosen.
All spoke English and French and commission business was conducted in both languages. Since education is a provincial responsibility, the cochairmen called on all provincial premiers for their co-operation. The commission was charged with three main areas of inquiry: the extent of bilingualism in the federal government, the role of public and private organizations in promoting better cultural relations, and the opportunities for Canadians to become bilingual in English and French.
The commissioners used the concept of "equal partnership" as their guiding principle, i. The commissioners were also asked to report on the cultural contribution of other ethnic groups and the means of preserving this contribution and enhancing multiculturalism in Canada. For many anglophones, especially in Western Canada, it was an attempt to force the French language on an unwilling population.
The Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism:
Recommendations to correct these and other weaknesses were implemented with unusual speed. Educational authorities in all nine anglophone provinces reformed regulations concerning French minority education, and moved to improve the teaching of French as a second language with financial assistance from the federal government.
New Brunswick declared itself officially bilingual; Ontario did not, but greatly extended its services in French. French-language rights in the legislature and courts of Manitoba — disallowed by statutes passed in Manitoba in — were restored by a decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in A federal department of multiculturalism was established. Institutional bilingualism at the federal level became a fact with the passing of the Official Languages Act and with the appointment of a Commissioner of Official Languages. The commission did, however, lay the foundation for functional bilingualism throughout the country, and for increased acceptance of cultural diversity see also Official Languages Act Search The Canadian Encyclopedia.
Julian Schxfcrholz (Author of Language Policy, Biculturalism and Bilingualism)
Remember me. Throughout the Quiet Revolution , 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. 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 five parts, , after a report of preliminary findings, February Among other things, it reported that Francophones were underrepresented in the nation's political and business communities. Incoming Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau included the Commission's recommendations among his priorities.
Prime Minister Pearson's policy statement on bilingualism was strengthened by the Official Languages Act , , making Canada an officially bilingual nation.
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; however Quebec later legislated to make French its official language, and limited English schooling to qualified families. French education in western provinces remained limited by provincial regulation as well. 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.
Pearson's dream of bilingualism, 50 years later
In , the federal government led by Trudeau departed 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, , 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.