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Since its colonisation by Europeans the history of Canada has always been affected by the rivalry between two ethnic groups - the British and the French. This rivalry has slowly faded into a dualism which is still prominent in Canada. This dualism can be found in both Canada's population and culture as well as in the fact that Canada has two official languages, French and English. This bilingualism of Canada will be the subject of this paper. I will not focus on the development of English in Canada in terms of a linguistic analysis though but will analyze the causes for this bilingualism instead. Furthermore I am going to analyze how both the federal government of Canada and the provincial government of Quebec - the only province that has a French speaking majority in the Canadian federation - have dealt with the existence of two major language groups. In a first step I am going to give a general overview over Canada, including its geography, a brief look onto the composition of the Canadian population and the political system of Canada (2.1). The analysis of the political system is important to fully grasp the different levels of competency in Canada which will play a significant role in regard to legislation and jurisdiction of language laws in the Canadian federation and its provinces. Section 2.2 will deal with the history of Canada in relation to language contact. Starting with the early European colonisation (2.2.1) I am then going to analyze the period of British rule in Canada (2.2.2) before I am going to focus onto the time period starting with the foundation of the Dominion of Canada and Canada's independence until today (2.2.3). Section 3 concentrates on the Canadian population in detail. While section 3.1 focuses on the Canadian population by ethnic origin, section 3.2 pays attention to the Canadian population by language. In section 4 I will analyze the official bilingualism in Canada, i.e. I will outline policies, constitutional provisions, and laws concerning bilingualism in Canada. Section 5 addresses the exceptional position of Quebec within the Canadian federation, especially with regard to its population and language legislation. In section 6 I will summarize my findings and will give an outlook on future language contact and language conflict in Canada.

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