CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Preventing Separation Through Bilingualism

History, Social Studies, Political Science
1 to 2 lessons
To explore the impact of the Quebec separatist movement on Canadian politics in the 1960s
Students will explore the early Quebec separatist movement and how it influenced government policy.

Lesson Plan


Before Exploring

Lead a class discussion on Quebec separatism. Ask: Why is there a movement to separate from Canada? What would separation mean to Canada? Do you think two cultures and languages can live together and both grow and flourish?

Outline the Opportunity


On the topic The Road to Bilingualism on the CBC Digital Archives website, have students study the clips "Laurendeau and Dunton", "Quebecers split on bilingualism", "Anglophone Quebecers keep their culture", "Laurendeau discusses separatism, 1961," "B & B a good idea: Tommy Douglas, Jean Lesage," and "Laurendeau memoirs released". 

Students will use their research to write an opinion paper about the probable effectiveness of the B & B Commission in forestalling a separatist movement in Quebec. Students should include a short summary to present to the class.

Revisit and Reflect


Prepare a T-chart on the board or chart paper. Title the chart "Bilingualism and Biculturalism Commission: Preventing Separation," and title the columns "Effective" and "Ineffective." Have students share their summaries with the class, and identify their positions on the T-chart. As a class, analyze the results of the chart.


Students can discuss with a partner their willingness to learn the other official language. What advantages might they gain with that skill? How might their bilingualism work toward a more united Canada? Together, pairs can prepare a poster, an advertisement, or an outline for a media campaign supporting bilingualism.

Download PDF

Related Content

Separation Anxiety: The 1995 Quebec Referendu...

"À la prochaine fois!" (Until next time!) promised René Lévesque after the 1980 Quebec referen...

René Lévesque's Separatist Fight

In the 1960s, René Lévesque made the prospect of a separate Quebec a reality. A shrewd politic...

The 1980 Quebec Referendum: extra clips

Do you want "a new agreement with the rest of Canada, based on the equality of nations"? That ...

1976: Lévesque is Canada's first separatist p...

A majority win for Parti Québécois stuns the nation in 1976.

À la prochaine fois: The 1980 Quebec Referend...

Do you want "a new agreement with the rest of Canada, based on the equality of nations"? That ...

Antonine Maillet: The bilingual mice, a fable

Maillet tells a tale about the bonuses of bilingualism.