An appraisal of official bilingualism four decades after the establishment of the Royal Commission that created it.
Forty years after the creation of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, Bilingual Today, United Tomorrow examines the responses of Canada's federal and provincial governments to the Commission's recommendations on education. In contrast to the many critics of official bilingualism, Matthew Hayday argues that the educational programs funded by the government's Official Languages in Education Program, launched in 1970, had a significant impact on how Canadians view their national identity, encouraging increasing acceptance of official bilingualism and linguistic duality.
Hayday shows how the language programs and policies initiated by the Trudeau government supported French-Canadian and Acadian minority communities, enabling them to develop minority language education systems and laying the groundwork for the minority language education rights contained in section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He examines how the dynamics of Canadian federalism shaped the implementation and development of language policy in six Canadian provinces and shows how advocates of these programs - politicians, bureaucrats, parents, lobbyists, and teachers - worked to ensure their success. These dynamic programs not only guaranteed minority language education rights but dramatically increased access to French second language instruction, particularly through the innovative new sector of French immersion.