Dalhousie Law Journal


Canada, language law, identity, legislation, policy, federal law, provincial law


Many of Canada's language laws represent an attempt by governments to articulate national or provincial linguistic identities. How fitting, therefore, that Annotated Language Laws of Canada is a work which is itself in search of an identity. There is, in fact, some dissonance between what this book claims to be and what it actually is. Although its cover suggests that it is part of a series of "New Canadian Perspectives," there is little that is new (in the sense of original) in the work, other than the actual compilation. As for perspectives-one of the most striking absences in this work is any kind of perspective. The authorial voice is singularly lacking. Annotated Language Laws of Canada is a bare compilation of language legislation which contains no overarching definitions of language or language legislation. The organizational structure, choice of materials and even annotations are, for the most part, unexplained, and the silence on these points may serve as a metaphor for the ambiguity and inconsistency that is reflected in much of Canadian federal and provincial language policy.