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LETTER: History shows the English won the language battle, not the French

"Surely any rational observer, if awake and alert, would conclude that the English have won the language battle."
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Is Ken Allred’s column “The West wants out” (StAlbertTODAY.ca, Aug. 12) anything more than a malicious hoax? Does any sentient being who lives in present-day St. Albert – originally founded as a French-speaking Metis community – actually believe the hypocritical cant that the French “have won the battle for the francization of Canada”?

At the time of its annexation by Canada in 1870, the West was officially bilingual, and French-speakers vastly outnumbered English-speakers. The Council of Assiniboia passed its laws in both French and English, and the General Court heard cases in both French and English. As part of the annexation agreement, Canada solemnly guaranteed these language rights in both the Manitoba Act (1870) and the North-West Territories Act (1877).

In 1892, Mr. Allred’s hero, Frederick Haultain, cynically broke the latter law when his government banished French from the Legislative Assembly and began publishing its laws and documents in English only. That same year, his government also imposed English-only education and made French schooling illegal.

Was Mr. Allred comatose, in 1987, when Alberta’s legislators expelled MLA Leo Piquette from their hallowed halls for speaking nine words in French? (Incidentally, Mr. Piquette’s illustrious grandfather, Alcide Piquette, was elected Secretary of the Village of St. Albert, in 1912.) Was Mr. Allred still unconscious, in 1988, when Alberta’s Legislators formally abolished the French language rights that Mr. Haultain had already eviscerated almost a century earlier?

Surely any rational observer, if awake and alert, would conclude that the English have won the language battle; they have successfully anglicised Western Canada.

Edmund Aunger, Edmonton