The conflict in Canada between the people who speak French and those who speak English can trace its roots to Colonial times. Since Canada was originally a French colony, the majority of the people originally spoke French. In 1760, during the French Indian War, England gained control of Canada. This led to a large number of English speaking settlers who eventually became more numerous that the original French speaking settlers. Two distinct cultural groups evolved the French, mostly in Quebec, and the English in the other provinces. Initially, there was very little conflict between the two societies as they lived under the rule of the English crown.
At the time of the Confederation in 1867, most Canadians wanted to establish a distinctive Canadian national identity, a kind of Canadian nationalism. Since the English Canadians were now the majority, they were the dominant forces in creating the political and cultural aspect of the independent Canada. They relied on the democratic government of England and to some extent to those of the United States, which guaranteed equal rights. Their vision of national identity included English as the primary language and the English culture as the standard for all of Canada.
Two different types of nationalisms were then formed. The first was an ethnic nationalism in which French-speaking citizen felt that they owed their loyalty to the French community. The second was a civic nationalism in which the English-speaking citizens felt that they owed their loyalty to the entire nation of Canada (Conlogue, 21). The civic view of Canadian national identity allowed its citizens to choose their own language and their way of life. However the English language was preferred in business, education and politics, and the English culture was considered more sophisticated that the French way of life. This tied wealth and social advancement to the English culture in area outside of Quebec.
In Canada, linguistic intolerance...
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