Bilingualism is well entrenched in the CMHR's conception
While Statistics Canada reports that Canadians speak more than 200 languages, English and French account for 58% and 22% of the mother tongues represented. Enacted in 1969, the Official Languages Act recognized the equal status of these two languages. This Act was also ratified by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. One of the objectives of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) is to ensure that people speaking either official language have the same experience when they visit.
On April 16, the Museum welcomed Graham Fraser, the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada, whose visit coincided with the launch of the Museum’s official languages policy. It was also the occasion to mark the 50th anniversary of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism.
Official Languages Commissioner Graham Fraser and CMHR President and CEO Stuart Murray
(Photo Credit: Christelle Mekoh/CMHR)
“Our organization’s mandates are closely linked. Looking back through our history gives us an opportunity to take stock of how we got here, to look towards the future and to think about all that we can still achieve together” said Graham Fraser.
“35 years ago, with a common objective to promote equal opportunity and enable all people in Canada to fully take part in society, free from discrimination, our Parliamentarians created the Canadian Human Rights Act. Our new national museum’s purpose is to commemorate this noble objective by promoting respect for others and the public’s understanding of human rights,” he added.
The Official Languages Commissioner went on to say that “Canada’s policies on linguistic duality help not only to strengthen our social fabric, but also to define us as Canadians. This is why to uphold linguistic duality as a fundamental value, the conduct of your organization’s leaders must promote respect for linguistic duality.”
Language rights will feature prominently in the Museum’s largest gallery along with content related to francophone rights. Another gallery will showcase the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as a major milestone and key component of the Canadian Constitution.
The visit from Canada’s Official Languages Commissioner, Graham Fraser, wrapped up with a guided tour of the Museum construction site.
The CMHR’s Angela Cassie tours the Museum with Commissioner Graham Fraser (Photo Credit: Christelle Mekoh/CMHR)
For more information:
- On the role of the Commissioner of Official Languages
- On the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism