Bilingualism: Laurendeau and Dunton
"Canada is now in the greatest crisis of its history," reported the Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism. In 1963, the commission known as B&B began touring the country, asking Canadians if it was important to speak both French and English. Many francophones who felt they were losing their language saw separatism as their only recourse. The co-chairs of the commission would have a big duty: to figure out how to give Canada bilingualism and to prevent its two solitudes from splitting apart.
André Laurendeau and A. Davidson Dunton have one of Canada's most important tasks: to investigate whether increased French-English duality can keep Canada together.
In this TV clip, Dunton assures the CBC's Norman DePoe that they will "proceed as quickly we can with dispatch."
. The commission began in response to growing dissatisfaction among Quebecers over the lack of bilingualism in Canada. Its goal was to study and report on the state of bilingualism and biculturalism. Commission members travelled across the country holding meetings with ordinary citizens to determine whether they wanted bilingualism.
. The commission's report would include recommendations on how to protect the French language and avoid separatism.
. The three main areas of inquiry were:
-To investigate bilingualism in government.
-To determine whether Canadian organizations promoted biculturalism.
-To find out if opportunities for learning French and English were good.
Another Commission goal was to determine whether the languages and cultures of other ethnic groups should be protected.
. The idea for the Commission first came from André Laurendeau himself. In a 1962 Le Devoir editorial, he proposed that Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson call a royal commission on bilingualism.
. Laurendeau worked as an editorial editor for Le Devoir. He once said: "I didn't especially enjoy participating in politics. But I like to follow it and comment upon it." Laurendeau had a brief political career when he was elected as the provincial leader of the Bloc populaire canadien in 1944.
. Laurendeau studied history and politics, and was a student of philosophy at Paris's Sorbonne University.
. Pierre Elliott Trudeau said Laurendeau had "the most exact and refined mind of anyone."
. During his time as commissioner, Laurendeau was also a successful author and playwright. His works included the play Deux femmes terribles (1962) and a novel Une vie d'enfer (1965).
. In 1945, at the age of 33, A. Davidson Dunton became the first full-time chair of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Dunton was also a newspaper editor for the Montreal Star and Standard and studied abroad, including in France.
. He resigned his post at the CBC to become Carleton University's president - a position he held until 1972. Dunton was also a companion of the Order of Canada and received seven honorary degrees.
Program: CBC Television News
Broadcast Date: Aug. 20, 1963
Guest(s): A. Davidson Dunton, André Laurendeau
Host: Norman DePoe
Last updated: October 24, 2012
Page consulted on December 6, 2013
All Clips from this Topic
Future B&B commission head says French Canada is in state of cultural ...
Leaders favour the commission.
The francophone and anglophone chairmen behind the commission on bilin...
Native Canadians have no intention of "being a forgotten people" in th...
Public forum is unique way of collecting opinions.
The West doesn't see the need for bilingualism.
Francophones in St. Boniface fear assimilation.
Two francophones disagree on whether bilingualism in Canada will work.
English speakers in Quebec have little trouble maintaining their mothe...
Royal Commission says country may be in danger of breaking up.
Max Ferguson impersonates Diefenbaker and Pearson attempting to speak ...
Four years and $7 million later, the commission investigating bilingua...
A reporter asks Torontonians to comment on the Laurendeau-Dunton Commi...
Residents switch easily between French and English.
Prime minister details B & B recommendations.
An anonymous government worker claims he was demoted for not being abl...
Canada gets decent marks for bilingualism.
Father of bilingualism never believed it would work in Canada.
"Canada is now in the greatest crisis of its history," reported the Co...