Language Matters
256 pages, 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
Release Date:01 Jan 2010
Release Date:30 Mar 2009
Release Date:01 Jan 2010

Language Matters

How Canadian Voluntary Associations Manage French and English

UBC Press

Canada is an officially bilingual country. But how do the voluntaryassociations that make up civil society manage linguistic diversity? Inthe 1960s, a study by Vincent Lemieux and John Meisel for the RoyalCommission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism Commission revealed thatCanadian associations were often paralyzed by internal conflicts overlanguage. Language Matters examines whether this remains thecase.

The contributors present case studies or life histories of diverseassociations, ranging from business organizations and municipalassociations to groups concerned with equality and social justice.Several replicate Lemieux and Meisel’s pioneering enquiry; otherslook at newer groups. Each contribution examines key turning points inthe given association’s history and explores how its mandate,leadership, relationship to the federal and provincial governments, andshifting options in the political arena – independence,sovereignty association, or symmetrical and asymmetrical federalism– shaped its response to linguistic diversity.

Voluntary associations have found diverse ways to accommodatelinguistic differences in a manner acceptable to Canada’s twogreat linguistic communities. Language Matters provides adeeper understanding of the language dynamic in Canada and offerssolutions to groups and governments trying to manage difference.

David Cameron and Richard Simeon, two of Canada’s foremost scholars of federalism, have produced a fascinating glimpse into how Canadian civil society has adapted to linguistic duality. The result is as varied and complex -- and ultimately as successful -- as Canada itself ... [They make] an important contribution, not only to the understanding of language policy, but also to comprehension of how the country manages to negotiate the often spiky contours of the language divide. Graham Fraser, Commissioner of Official Languages, address to the European Union ambassadors, 16 September 2008
David R. Cameron is the chair of and professor inpolitical science at the University of Toronto and a Fellow of theRoyal Society of Canada. Richard Simeon is a professorof political science and law at the University of Toronto and a Fellowof the Royal Society of Canada.


1 Language and the Institutions of Civil Society / David Cameronand Richard Simeon

2 French-English Relations in Comprehensive BusinessAssociations / William Coleman and Tim Mau

3 Canada’s English and French Farm Communities / GraceSkogstad

4 Municipal Associations / Don Stevenson and RichardGilbert

5 Associations in the Voluntary Health Sector: The Heart and StrokeFoundations of Canada and the Huntington Societies of Canada and Quebec/ Richard Simeon

6 From Biculturalism to Bilingualism: Patterns of LinguisticAssociation in the Canadian Council on Social Development / JaneJenson and Rachel Laforest

7 Managing Linguistic Practices in International Development NGOs:The World University Service of Canada / Cathy Blacklock

8 Two Voices for Human Rights: Amnesty International / MichelDuquette and Sylvie Dugas

9 Accommodation at the Pinnacle: The Special Role of CivilSociety’s Leaders / Richard Simeon and David Cameron




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