Official languages 25 years after the Charter – what youth are saying

(NC) – The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms turned 25 this year. It provides for the equality of our official languages – English and French – in federal institutions, and sets out the right to learn, which ensures that official language minority communities have access to education in their mother tongue and can manage their own schools. Young Canadians from across the country who grew up under the Charter were recently asked what all this means to them. Here’s what some of them had to say:

  • “Speaking English opens doors for me. It allows me to see things differently.” [Myriam Castonguay, 19, Gatineau, Quebec]

  • “If Canada didn’t have the two languages it has, then I wouldn’t have the privileges I have. I couldn’t live in French.” [Brigitte Noël, 22, Sturgeon Falls, Ontario]

  • “I’ve learned the French language but I’ve always kept my English culture.” [Marcie Maclean-McKay, 19, Magdalen Islands, Quebec]

  • “I’m so proud to be Acadian. When I just spoke English and did everything in English, I felt like a part of me was missing.” [Amy Morris, 27, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia]

  • “I would like my kids to learn all the languages that I learned because I believe having another language is a huge asset and it’s something that should not be lost.” [Ramy Sonbl, 19, Ottawa, Ontario]

You can hear more from these young Canadians on official languages by watching the video, One Charter, Two Languages, A Thousand and One Voices. It’s available at the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages Web site at under “Publications.”

- News Canada
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