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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: July 2019

4 - Canadian Language Politics in Global and Theoretical Contexts

from Part I - Theoretical Orientations


This chapter examines the common assumption that Canadian Official Bilingualism of French and English fosters progressive and tolerant multiculturalism, including multilingualism of any non-official variety. The chapter uses the former Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada (2006-16), Graham Fraser, to interrogate the argument that the Canadian English/French language duality, having two Official Languages, is positively connected to general multilingualism and with it an openness towards a multitude of languages and cultures that make up Canadian society. After a shorter discussion of a similar position held by former Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin (2000-17), this chapter turns to the theoretical grounding of such positions in the work of Charles Taylor. Ultimately this chapter questions the extent to which these celebrations of bilingualism really foster a truly multilingual and egalitarian multicultural society, although it appreciates and agrees with their insistence that language and culture are deeply inextricable.

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