Diary of André Laurendeau: Written During the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, 1964-1967

Description

171 pages
ISBN 1-55028-333-2
DDC 306.4'46'09

Year

1991

Contributor

Translated by Patricia Smart and Dorothy Howard
Reviewed by J.L. Granatstein

J.L. Granatstein is a history professor at York University and author of
War and Peacekeeping and For Better or For Worse.

Review

Laurendeau is little known in English Canada today but in Quebec his
reputation still stands high. A young nationalist leader in the 1930s, a
virulent anticonscriptionist during the war, and a founder of the Bloc
Populaire Canadien, Laurendeau was also a journalist of uncommon
perception and power. He was the first to suggest an investigation of
the relations between French and English Canadians. In 1963, Prime
Minister Pearson appointed him co-chair of the Royal Commission on
Bilingualism and Biculturalism, a post he held until his death in 1968.

This translated and abbreviated version of his Commission diary is
useful for what it says about the politics behind the Commission and,
even more, about the total incomprehension provincial premiers,
especially, had of Quebec in the mid-1960s. It is also valuable for what
it shows of how little Laurendeau, able and perceptive though he was,
understood of English Canada. The historical references grafted into the
notes by the translator/editor are less than satisfactory; nonetheless
this volume starkly reveals the two solitudes of the 1960s.

Citation

Laurendeau, André., “Diary of André Laurendeau: Written During the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, 1964-1967,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 28, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/31297.