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1967: Commission on bilingualism releases final report

The Story

French and English should be the two languages of government from airports to federal courts, recommends the commission studying bilingualism. The inquiry known as the B&B Commission releases its final report today -- four years after it began. It's been so long that in this CBC Television clip, reporter Ron Collister can't remember what B&B stands for. Commission members say that protecting French culture at the federal level is not enough. They found that 95 per cent of francophones live in three provinces: Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick. For this reason, they're generally in favour of regional protection and suggest that the three provinces should declare themselves bilingual.

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Newsmagazine
Broadcast Date: Dec. 5, 1967
Host: Ron Collister, Norman DePoe
Duration: 5:42

Did You know?

• The B&B Commission's formal name was the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism. It was also referred to as the Bi&Bi Commission or the Laurendeau-Dunton Commission, after the co-chairs (André Laurendeau and A. Davidson Dunton).
• The final report was published in six staggered books: The Official Languages (1967), Education (1968), The Work World (1969), The Cultural Contribution (1969), The Federal Capital (1970) and Voluntary Associations (1970).

• One commission report said education for French minorities didn't measure up to schooling provided for anglophones in Quebec.
• The Commission also reported that French Canadians held far fewer top federal government positions than English Canadians.
• Provincial governments followed commission recommendations when they began offering more financial assistance for French language classes.

• Soon after the commission reported, New Brunswick officially became bilingual (1969) and Heritage Canada was established (1973).
• Laurendeau never saw the commission's final completion. On June 1, 1968, he died at the age of 56 from a ruptured aneurysm. Two weeks earlier, he had collapsed at his desk in the commission office after suffering an intracranial brain hemorrhage. He had been giving a tour to a group of journalists.
• Dunton was giving a speech in Nepal when his co-chair died.

• Quebec journalist Jean-Louis Gagnon filled Laurendeau's position as co-chair. Gagnon had already been a commission member.
• Dunton, who had been Carleton University's president until 1972, died on Feb. 7, 1987.


The Road to Bilingualism more