Many issues in the news these days directly relate to Canada’s fundamental structure – the way legislative powers are allocated by our Constitution. Three examples come immediately to mind: how the federal and provincial governments are co-managing the COVID-19 pandemic; the way some provinces are contesting the Government of Canada’s carbon tax; and the application of language rights.
In our last blog, we explained the different variables Statistics Canada uses to classify linguistic minority groups. We discussed Mother Tongue; Language Spoken Most Often at Home; and First Official Language Spoken (FOLS). We also described how these variables are employed to use language as a marker of cultural identity (group identity), or to track the use of a language.
Like many community organizations serving English-speaking Quebec, the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) uses FOLS to determine the size of our linguistic minority community. Our diverse community is more accurately reflected with this approach, because FOLS includes non-English mother-tongue speakers who use English as their main language. It also most precisely reflects the population requiring services in English.
Statistics are used to paint a picture – to tell a story. What statistics are presented, and how they are
utilized and to what ends, is another matter. They are instruments used at the discretion of the
Canadians have a special interest in statistics that tell our linguistic story. We pay special attention to
statistics related to our two official languages, and to the languages of Indigenous people.
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1819, René-Lévesque Blvd W
Montreal, Quebec H3H 2P5