March 2, 1927 (16th Parliament, 1st Session)


Horatio Clarence Hocken

Conservative (1867-1942)


Did I not teill my hon.
friend -that all our children learn French, but have not the facilities to keep it up? We cannot get the correct pronunciation without attending school for a very long .period. Another reason is this: whether we like it or not, one of the weaknesses of the English people is that they are not facile linguists. The French learn another language much more easily than the English; and it being difficult for the ordinary English person to acquire another language, he does not attempt it. The average English-speaking Canadian would have to study much longer to master French than the average French-speaking Canadian would have to devote to master English. That is one of the differences of the two races. This racial difference crops out in many other characteristics, Mr. Speaker, but it is not necessary for me to enter into them ait the present moment.
I am not going to indulge in a prolonged controversy, Mr. Speaker, but my hon. friend from Sherbrooke said that this is a bilingual country. It is not so by any interpretation of the constitution. I would suppose that every member had read the British North America Act and knew exactly what rights the French language has in this Dominion. It is enjoying rights to-day which are much more extensive than those accorded it by the British North America Act. To remind hon. members, let me read section 133, which is the only .provision in our constitution for the official use of the French language in the Dominion:
Either the English or the French lagnuage may be used by any person in the debates of
the Houses of the parliament of Canada and of the Houses of the legislature of Quebec; and both those languages shall be used in the respective records and journals of those Houses; and either of those languages may be used by any person or in any pleading or process in or issuing from any court of Canada established under this act, and in or from all or any of the courts of Quebec.
The acts of the parliament of Canada and of the legislature of Quebec shall be printed and published in both those languages.

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