A Bilingual Nation
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Once he became Prime Minister of Canada, Trudeau stated his aim to create a “just society” in Canada. For a Montreal native and firm believer in federalism, the first item on the agenda was promoting bilingualism. In 1969, Trudeau told Canadians he believed in “two official languages and a pluralist society.” To illustrate his point, he created the Official Languages Act, which served the dual purpose of giving civil servants the choice to speak in English or French at work and protecting Francophones rights to speak French anywhere in Canada.
The Official Languages Act was established to give equal rights to both English and French speaking Canadians. The purpose of the Act is to:
(a) ensure respect for English and French as the official languages of Canada and ensure equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all federal institutions, in particular with respect to their use in parliamentary proceedings, in legislative and other instruments, in the administration of justice, in communicating with or providing services to the public and in carrying out the work of federal institutions;
(b) support the development of English and French linguistic minority communities and generally advance the equality of status and use of the English and French languages within Canadian society; and
(c) set out the powers, duties and functions of federal institutions with respect to the official languages of Canada. (
Trudeau wanted to make all citizens of Canada feel comfortable with their way of life. This meant making them feel secure that they would have an equal opportunity with their original speaking language of either English or French.