July 1, 1867

Confederation: A Bold Vision for Canada

In the new country of the Dominion of Canada, English and French are both officially permitted in Parliament.

In the negotiations preceding Confederation in 1867, one of the proposed approaches was optional bilingualism in the activities of the future Parliament of Canada.

French-Canadian members at the time vigorously opposed this option, and their protests culminated in the passage of a resolution providing for the mandatory use of English and French in certain specific areas of parliamentary activity.

That resolution became section 133 of the Constitution Act, 1867. The purpose of this section is to grant “equal access for Anglophones and Francophones to the law in their language” and to guarantee “equal participation in the debates and proceedings of Parliament [translation].”Footnote 1


Footnote 1

André Braën, “La rédaction bilingue des comptes rendus des comités de la Chambre des communes,Revue générale de droit, Vol. 26, No. 4, December 1995, p. 537.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Source: James Ashfield (Royal Studio), Library and Archives Canada, accession number 1993-363X NPC, C-002149