The roots of French in Canada are hundreds of years old. From the Breton fishermen present in Newfoundland as early as 1504 to the foundation of Acadia and Quebec City a century later, to French settlements in Ontario and Western Canada in the 19th and 20th centuries, Francophones have contributed to building the country and continue to do so.
Nowadays, over 10 million
Canadians speak French,
from Halifax in Nova Scotia
to Whitehorse in the Yukon.
Poll after poll shows that most Canadians are proud to live in a country with two official languages. This is a factor of unity for our country.
Over the years, our official languages have contributed to the perception of diversity as a strength and not a weakness. This has fostered a greater openness to other cultures. Canada’s French-speaking and English-speaking populations are both diversified and national in scope.
Nevertheless, the legitimacy of French as one of Canada’s official languages has been challenged in various regions in recent months. It is crucial that the federal government send a strong message by giving Canada’s official languages new momentum and reiterating that they are a fundamental part of the country’s present and future identity. Furthermore, challenging the status of our official languages and language rights opens the door to challenges to other core Canadian values.