The Unity of Canada and the Rights of Minorities
L'Unite du Canada et les droits des minorities
Publisher: Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops/Conference des Eveques Catholiques, Toronto, Canada
Year Published: 1979
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX926
The Ontario bishops address the question of treatment of the francophone minority in Ontario in the brief.
Abstract: The Ontario bishops address the question of treatment of the francophone minority in Ontario in the brief. They point to the possibility of a backlash from the current debate in Quebec over their claim to a right of self-determination. The hope that ignorance and fear will not so dominate relationships between the various linguistic and cultural groups in Ontario that the francophone community would suffer more restriction. While not wishing to offer any "persuasion" in the political forum", the bishops assert that "the history and the spirit of Confederation indicate that French and English were languages of the founding races and must be given a privileged position as our official languages". Drawing on earlier statements by Canadian bishops and Pope John XXIII, they reaffirm the injustice of any attempt to "block the life and growth of minority groups".
They also see the possibility that the relatively small percentage of francophones in Ontario could provide an occasion for just such restrictive measures being taken against them because of political demagogy or religious/linguistic bigotry. Their own concern as bishops is to see that those who are more fragile and less able to defend themselves be protected. In order to assist understanding and harmony in this process, they call for co-operation and restraint on the part of the francophone minority.