Actually, I did answer it earlier, but in two different emails.  Ontario is
not bilingual.

Thank God.

The only two provinces which are bilingual are french/english New Brunswick
(in the Constitution/Charter) and inuitian??/english Nunavut (in that
territory's new Charter).

BTW, for those that might be interested for future ski trips to Quebec,
Quebec's language situation and laws are truly unique in the world.  It has
designated French as its only official language.  That in and of itself is
constitutional.  However, its language laws which enshrine such nitpicking
pecadillios as "no English allowed on business signs" and other such drivel
clearly offend our constituional rights to freedom of expression (it's like
offending your First Amendment) , and in fact the Supreme Court of Canada
ruled long ago that all those such laws in Quebec do in fact offend our
Charter of Rights and therefore are struck down.

However, the Canadian Charter of Rights (which is equivalent to your Bill of
Rights) has a special provision in Section 1 called "the notwithstanding
clause".  Simply put, it allows the passage of laws "notwithstanding that
they offend the Constitution".  The only caveat is that those laws much be
revisited by the relevant legislature and re-passed every five years, or
they become of no force and effect after that time.  It is political suicide
for an anglo government to propose a section 1 overwrite in Canada today,
especially if you are a conservative or are opposed to some of the sacred
cows up here like affirmative action and expansion of bilingualism by the
Feds - and I don't mean to be overtly political about that statement.  It's
just the way it is, and probably should be.

Therefore this means that the Quebec government has been forced to tinker
with and re-pass its ridiculous language legislation every five years since
it was put into place in the late 70s. That's why you see new laws like
"english characters in restaurant window signs can now be no larger than 5
cm in height... etc etc and etc.

The notwithstanding clause was originally inserted by Trudeau when the
Constitution was patriated in 1982 in the hopes that Quebec, who were
holding out, would eventually sign it. They never did (to this day they are
theoretically not bound by it).  It took a trip to the Supreme Court to
determine whether we could actually request it from Britian without Quebec
agreeing to sign it. (we could)

Presently, recently elected federalist sympathizer premier Jean Charest
mentioned that he might consider signing the Constitution.  This would be
political suicide for his liberal party, as it set off the expected "pur
lain" ("pure line") francophone firestorm.  It's been shelved again.

BTW, many French Canadians that can trace themselves back to New France
actually enjoy publicly referring to themselves as "pur lain" and "the only
worthy Quebecers".  Kinda KKK-like if you ask me.  After they narrrowly lost
the separation referendum in 1994, Premier Parizeau's concession speech
contained this gem (and I quote):  "Look at why we lost.  Money (code for
the Montreal Jewish establishment) and the ethnic vote (code for non pur
lains)."   It may have been true, but like racial issues in the US, you just
don't say it in public.

There's a message somewhere in here for Americans contemplating the
expansion of Spanish cultural and language programs in the US which allow
citizens to operate without learning the language and culture of the


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
SkiVt-L is brought to you by the University of Vermont.

To unsubscribe, visit