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Regulation 17

From Academic Kids

Regulation 17 was a regulation of the Ontario Ministry of Education, issued in July, 1912 by the Conservative government of premier Sir James P. Whitney. It forbade the use of French as a language of instruction after the first year of school, unless the pupil was unable to speak English because of "defective training", and banned the teaching of French after the fourth year of school.

French Canada reacted with outrage. Quebec journalist Henri Bourassa denounced the "Prussians of Ontario". It was strongly opposed by Franco-Ontarians, particularly in the national capital of Ottawa where the École Guigues was at the centre of the controversy. In 1915, the provincial government of Sir William Hearst replaced Ottawa's elected separate school board with a government-appointed commission. After years of litigation, the directive was never fully implemented.

The regulation was eventually repealed in 1927 by the government of George Howard Ferguson who, coming from Kemptville in Eastern Ontario, was an opponent of bilingualism. The Conservative government reluctantly recognized bilingual schools, but the directive worsened relations between Ontario and Quebec for many years and is still keenly remembered by the French-speaking minority of Ontario. A historical plaque in Ottawa commemorates the role of the École Guigues.

See also: Manitoba Schools Question.

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