The Liberal Senate Forum


facebook Ideas Forum youtube flickr

Meet Senator

Joan Fraser

The Hon. Joan  Fraser, B.A. Senator Joan Fraser is well-known to Canadians as a journalist and commentator. Appointed to the Senate on September 17, 1998, by the Rt. Honourable Jean Chrétien, Senator Joan Fraser represents the province of Quebec and the Senatorial Division of De Lorimier.

Language Plurality in Canada

More on...



Read the comments left on this page or add yours.
Published by Senator Mobina Jaffer on 27 November 2009

Imagine a map of Canada without topographical features, cities, counties, provinces, highways or national parks: the only feature displayed on this map, are the symbols of Canada’s linguistic landscape. 

In Canada today, there are over 200 languages spoken.  From the speakers of Chinese languages in Vancouver, to Russian in the Prairies, and Gaelic speakers of Cape Breton, Canada is home to a diverse number of languages.  In the same way that our Official Languages – French and English – and the Aboriginal languages have defined Canada as its founding mother tongues, languages from across the globe have found a place in Canada, continuing to cast new moulds of our multicultural footprints.

There is a growing importance and need to embrace a linguistic plurality, through the teaching and promotion of all languages spoken in Canada: including those once foreign to our shores.

Language education has a quintessential role to play in strengthening Canada’s identity as a multicultural nation, by providing an intercultural perspective on our country through language learning and appreciation.

However, the efforts of many language instructors are being hampered by inadequate teaching resources and outdated reference materials.  We must work towards a viable, permanent solution in order to properly address these shortcomings.

In order to properly address the issues facing second-language teachers and learners alike, Canada must adopt a National Language Strategy that will call for the promotion and education of the four groups of Canadian languages: English, French, Aboriginal and International/Heritage languages. 

As the Canadian Languages Association has suggested, the National Language Strategy will call for the promotion and education of the four groups of Canadian languages: English, French, Aboriginal and International/Heritage languages.  The major objectives of this Strategy include: (a) to improve the teaching and learning of languages by making up-to-date reference and teaching materials available to teachers and students; (b) to increase the number of people studying languages; (c) to work with the provinces to provide effective and equitable funding for language programming at the school board and community levels; and (d) to raise awareness of the importance of multilingualism to all Canadians.    

By embracing a National Language Strategy, we are making a serious commitment to maintain those languages now a part of Canada’s language economy.  Through the promotion of language education, we are extending the limits of our understanding to include a global community, and we are increasing our capacity to play an important role in shaping the future at home and abroad.   

At home, our concept of multiculturalism would be incomplete without French, English, Aboriginal and Heritage/International languages.  Teaching these languages not only reinforces Canada’s multicultural identity, but serves the greater virtues of a tolerant society, of a society that regards peace-building, civic participation and cross-cultural understanding not only as watchwords of a new world order, but as a call to action.

Recent Posts

Canada's Aboriginal people: What's in a name?

24 Mar, 2014 | By Senator Charlie Watt | Some people are confused by the different terms used for Canada’s Aboriginal people.

Arctic Sovereignty: Part Four

7 Mar, 2014 | By Senator Charlie Watt | Dr. Dalee Sambo Dorough, an Expert Member and Vice Chairperson on the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), shares my opinion that “no state should be able to use the UNCLOS regime and treaty provisions to claim portions or territory of the Arctic Ocean and Seabed that Inuit occupy and have rights to unless Inuit are engaged and ultimately consent.”

30th Anniversary

3 Mar, 2014 | By Senator Charlie Watt | I have just celebrated an anniversary here in the Senate and would like to thank my colleagues for their kind words.

Arctic Sovereignty: Part Three

28 Feb, 2014 | By Senator Charlie Watt | Over the past year, Dr. Claudio Aporta of Dalhousie University has prepared a report titled, Inuit Trails and Arctic Occupancy. His work is unique, as it’s the first to clearly compile and analyze historical maps of Inuit occupancy of the Arctic. Dr. Aporta used written histories, often based on other historical documents and oral history.

Arctic Sovereignty: Part Two

21 Feb, 2014 | By Senator Charlie Watt | In the Fall of 2012, the Senate Liberal Caucus commissioned a report by Peter Hutchins Legal Inc, titled Inuit: Canada’s Treaty Partners or Free Agents? An Argument for an Inuit-Canada Joint Approach to Addressing Sovereignty Disputes in the Arctic.
« 1 2 3 4 5  ... » 

You can retrieve this page at:
Please recycle this document.