The assimilation of a minority ethnic group into another is a
reality which has always existed. A people’s language is
considered to be its cultural vehicle, and is the most obvious
part of the culture to disappear when one ethnocultural group is
absorbed by another.
Canada, which is based on the partnership of two founding
peoples, the English and the French, is obliged by its
constitution of 1867 to protect both groups and their languages.
Without laws to protect the language of minority groups, in a
democratic country, the power of the majority can overwhelm a
minority and make it extremely difficult to survive.
It is certain that cultural and economic reality play an
enormous role in the process of assimilation, and without basic
tools, a culture is practically doomed. In Canada, the right to
education in both the French and English languages is considered
fundamental, and the right to health care in French or English
is also being debated. The problem with federal assistance in
those domains is that, according to the constitution, these
are rights which belong to the provinces. Nonetheless, it
remains the responsibility of the federal government to protect
the existence of the country’s two founding peoples.