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Tensions between the French and English speaking Canadians Essay

Tensions between the French and English speaking Canadians has been a topic issue for quite some time now. Throughout the years it has been questioned as to wether or not the French and English speaking Canadians have the potential ability to be together as a nation. Various votes have been held in order to try and establish what the people of Canada feel about this situation. However, the history of the English and French speaking Canadians prove that Canada is an impossible nation. Foreign Policies, such as the Naval Services Bill, the Boer War and Conscription all contribute to why Canada is an impossible nation.

Political Issues involving the Constitution Act, 1982, the Referendum Act Two, 1995 and the Clarity Act are three other indicators of why Canada should not remain as one nation. Furthermore, there is the factors of Language and Culture Issues, including Manitoba Schools Question, the Quiet Revolution and Bill 101, 1976. All these issues will be summed up in order to make it apparent that the French and English speaking Canadians do not have what it takes to be one nation.

Foreign Policies Issues had a lot to do with the decision of wether or not Canada should be one nation.

The Naval Services Bill occurred from 1909-1910. English Canadians wanted to send money to England to support

the British navy, whereas the differing French Canadians did not want to send the money. Laurier once again had to come to a compromise. In 1910, he tabled the Naval Services Bill. With this, he hoped to pacify the English Canadians who still insisted that the country help Britain. The Naval Services Bill called for the creation of a navy. However, this newly formed navy found little support in the country. The English Canadians accused him of skimping. The French Canadians saw this newly formed navy to be an example of a weak Canada. Despite the continuing efforts of Prime Minister Laurier, Canada was already starting to show signs of impossibility. The Boer War was the first real battle involving Canadian troops. It was the first loss for the Boers as well. Canadians had a hand in the capture of Pretoria, a battle that marked the beginning of the end of the war. The outbreak of the Boer War was 1899 and it continued on until 1902 and it was between two former Boer

republics. Many people believed that this was a white mans war, but it was not. This war brought tensions between

the French and English Canadians because the English speaking Canadians were British and the British people were in the war. Yet, the French speaking Canadians did not want to participate in the Boer War at all. The English speaking Canadians were for it, and the French speaking Canadians were not. That is why it caused so much anger among the nation. Conscription was another major aspect in Canada that caused many differences to be spread throughout the nation. During the first world war, French Canadians removed from Britain “plight”. French and English tensions were running high due to Ontario’s Banning french as a language of instruction in schools in 1913. Prime Minister Robert Borden promised no obligation military services known as Conscription Bill, the Military Services Act.

By November 11, 1918 the war had ended, but the conscription issue continues on much longer. The conservative party which had brought Canada in conscription found it extremely difficult to get votes in Quebec. Conscription was interpreted by the French Canadians by them thinking that the thought and idea of conscription was wrong and they did not want to partake in it at all. Therefore, in conclusion to the Foreign Policies issues involving the French and English speaking Canadians, it is not hard to understand why so many tensions were brought upon the people of this nation.

There were several Political Issues that contributed to the factor as to if Canada should remain as one nation, considering the many differences that the French and English speaking Canadians had. On April 17, 1982 Canada’s new constitution was signed by Queen Elizabeth the Second. Provinces believing that amendments would affect educational or cultural matters could “opt out”. The unilateral partition of the constitution and the refusal of other provinces to back Quebec further alienated French Canadians. Consequently, this endured the tensions between the nation to rise even higher than they already were because it had been stated that many provinces didn’t agree with the French Canadians and that made them subsequently bitter. Many agree that “it is getting to the point that Quebec should separate from Canada.” One in three Canadians support this statement. That is where the Referendum Act Two, 1995, takes a role in the dispute over French and English speaking Canadians. After voting on it, the English speaking Canadians prepare to keep Quebec in Canada. Yet, 32% said that they’d rather see Quebec leave.

When asked how they’d vote if another referendum took place with the same question, 49% of the people voted yes, and 42% of the people voted no. While another referendum on secession is not the wish of the people of Canada or some of the people in Quebec, the stated intention is to get Quebec independence. The Clarity Act was the PQ’s plans to hold another referendum. They want to create a “winning conditions” and that is what they intend to do. The government of Canada has the right and obligation to indicate what, in a referendum on secession, it would consider to be a clear majority on a clear question. In conclusion it is proved that due to the Constitution Act, 1982, the Referendum Act Two, 1995, and the Clarity Act that Canada would have great difficulty in succeeding as a nation. Language and Culture Issues were an important aspect to the battle between French and English speaking Canadians and if they should continue to stay together as a nation, or if the French should separate.

The Manitoba Schools Question is one of the most diverse issues in Canadian History. The reason for that is because it was pitting English speaking Canadians against French speaking Canadians. Since these groups overlapped each other the shifting loyalties all involved in the Manitoba Schools Question created a “quagmire” in which PM Mackenzie Bowell floundered. The Quiet Revolution signalled the beginning of a new era in the cultural expression for Quebec’s French- speaking population. The Quiet Revolution proved to be the most important period of development for the province since its beginning as New France approximately three hundred years ago. This caused tensions between French and English speaking Canadians because since the first days of New France, the Catholic Church had assumed the task of educating the young. In the early 1960s, the system and the curriculum were “archaic”, “obsolete” and produced one of the highest dropout rates in the country; half of all Quebec students were leaving school by the age of fifteen.

Bill 101 was elected first in 1976, new Parti Quebecois government regarded language policy as of central importance to the achievement of it’s goal to separate from Canada. Vowing to improve Bill 22, the PQ created a new language law. This permitted that instruction could be taught in English only, to those who had been instructed in English in the province of Quebec. In March of 1977 it became known as Bill 101. Bill 101 was required to rewrite public signage bilingual since 1974. It was to be enforced through the Office da la Langue Francais. Bill 101 sparked a large scale migration of English speaking Quebecers and businesses away from the province. Therefore, it is recognized through the Manitoba Schools Question, the Quiet Revolution and Bill 101, in 1976 that the English and French speaking Canadians have a various amount of reasons on why they cannot be one nation.

The history of English and French speaking Canadians proves that Canada is an impossible nation. The Foreign Policies which included Naval Services Bill, Boer War and Conscription brought major tensions upon Canada’s nation. Political Issues such as the Constitution Act, 1982, the Referendum in 1995 and the Clarity Act also imply factors of why it would be difficult for Canada to stay together as a nation. Lastly, the Language and Culture Issues that consisted of the Manitoba Schools Question, the Quiet Revolution in 1976 and Bill 101 demonstrated a high level of controversy in Canada’s recent past when it comes to French and English speaking Canadians. After considering the Foreign Policies and how they were a predominant significance on the tensions that were among the nation, it is obvious to realize why there has been such a big struggle between the people of Canada.

French and English speaking Canadians were forced to deal with Political Issues that made them chose the way they had to live their lives, as one nation, or as a separate nation. These political issues caused pressures and stress to many people of the French and English background. Not only were the people who wanted to deal with these issues involved, but even those who didn’t still had to partake in any situations involving the French and English speaking people, if they lived in Canada,especially those who resided in Quebec. That is another reason why so many tensions were brought up at this time.

In conclusion, it has been pronounced that the English and French speaking people in Canada do not have what it takes to be a nation and therefore Canada can be considered an “impossible nation”.


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