Subject Material

Canada’s Ethnic Cauldron

Published: 20.01.2010, Updated: 03.03.2017
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Roughly 34 % of Canada´s population is of British origin. People of French origin make up a total of 23 %, and the vast majority reside in Quebec, where they make up 78 % of the population there. Large numbers also live in Ontario and New Brunswick. Canada has two official languages – English and French. In Nunavut, Eskimo and English are used.

Lady dressed in red riding on the top of a car with an umbrella. Photo.Canadian Lady in Red 

 

Boyscout holding Canadian flags. Photo.Canadian Boy Scout celebrating Canada Day 

 

Entrance to the Asian Quarter in Montreal. Photo.Asian Quarter - Montreal   

There have been many conflicts between the French- and the English-speaking Canadians. In spite of occupying the largest province (in area), the French have concerns about eventually becoming assimilated into the large English-speaking majority thus losing their culture and language.

Preserving a United Country

Since World War II, there have been discussions on how to preserve the French language and the French-Canadian culture. In the late 1960s, Pierre Trudeau became the first French-speaking Prime Minister of Canada. He was in favour of a united Canada. Nevertheless, many Quebecois have  fought for independence – Quebec Libre! The last referendum took place in 1995. The result was a small majority in favour of remaining part of Canada.

Close Race for French Independence

In 1995, 49.6 % voted for full independence. Since 20 % of the citizens of Quebec speak English, this actually means that a large majority of the French-speakers voted in favour of independence. Steps have been taken to give Quebec as much autonomy as possible, and to keep up the “Frenchness” of the province. The French language is encouraged all over Canada, all public services are offered in both languages and every product sold in the country has to have both a label and a user’s manual in both languages.

In addition to the two official languages, there are Italian, German and Russian-speaking Canadians. 2 % of the population are African-Americans, and due to a massive immigration from Vietnam and Hong Kong, ethnic groups make up as much as 17 % of all Canadians.

 

Research

  1. Find statistics on Canada's population on the Internet, and present your findings in writing and/or graphics. Suggested search words:
    Canada, population, demographic change
  2. Many have said that the only real difference between Canada and the United States, is Quebec. Use the Internet to take a closer look at this province and present its "uniqueness" in a power point presentation.