Bilingual Constitution of Canada

Did you know that the majority of Canadian constitutional documents are not officially bilingual? Even though the Constitution guarantees the equality of status of French and English, many of Canada’s constitutional documents are unilingual, including the Constitution Act. The federal and provincial governments committed to adopting a French version in the Constitution Act, 1982. A French version of all constitutional documents was completed in 1990, but more than 30 years later, an official version has yet to be adopted.

Learn more by watching the video below.

A transcript follows.

Concerned about this? Write to your MP.


We’re Canadian, right?

In Canada, there are two official languages, English and French, right? But what if we told you that the Canadian Constitution, the same one that protects our rights, exists only in English.

Hold on, are you telling me that the Constitutionis unconstitutional?!

71% of the texts that make up the Constitution were adopted in English only.

For all you stats-lovers out there, that’s 22 out of the 31 texts or the number of times the Leafs get eliminated in the first round.

Maybe it’s just me…but shouldn’t we have gotten over that thing where we treat Francophones like second class citizens by now?

I mean, even the important texts in the Constitution are not written in both languages! Like the British North America Act!

Bah… It’s just, like, the very first text, the one that mentions how Canada works: provincial jurisdiction, Parliament…details, really.

Even the section that says that Parliamentary business is to be conducted in both official languages is only in English.

Maybe they just haven’t had time to translate it yet.

A century and a half after the country was founded? Yeah, but how many business days is that? In 1982, Canada repatriated its constitution! 

That means that we’ve been able to change our own constitution for 40 years now and we still haven’t adopted a French translation? I mean, why haven’t they done that yet? What are they waiting for? A working LRT in Ottawa!?

It's because…you remember Québec-Canada relations in the nineties? Oh right, I have the VHS at home. The referendum. The Meech Lake Accord.

The mullet…Now, you might be thinking: “Translating a Constitution is probably a pretty complicated thing to do.”

Quite the opposite! The missing translation has been around since 1990! And that was before Google Translate! Why didn’t they adopt it then?!?!?!?!

It's because…you remember Québec-Canada relations in the nineties? Ah yes! The mullet.

The French version of the Constitution has been sitting on a shelf like those old VHS tapes in your basement.

The only thing that’s left to do, is to insert it into the existing Constitution and press play.

Right, like putting frozen lasagna in the oven. Or in a VCR! Ok... But it’s ‘cause… Ok, so adopting the French version of the Constitution is easy-peasy!

We’re not changing what it says, we’re just adding the other official language. For most of the texts, all you need is a bilateral agreement between Ottawa and the province in question.

We have no idea what that means, but how hard can it be? So send a little note to your MP. Provincial or federal? Exactly! And while you're at it, why don’t you CC a few Senators too. And if you yourself are a parliamentarian, well…check your emails!

The Constitution has got to be the most symbolic symbol of all Canadian symbols. Like Air Canada and Tim Horton’s! That’s not bilingual either!

Solidarity between the different francophone communities across the country has never been greater!

Now’s the time! Canada prides itself on being a bilingual and inclusive country.