Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Source Publication

Ethical Issues: Perspectives for Canadians, 2nd Edition. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 1997.


Freedom of expression; Linguistic rights; Quebec (Province)


This paper argues that sound principles of freedom of expression protect an individual's choice of which language to speak. They do so, not to guarantee against mistranslation, but rather to ensure that speakers are able to reach their intended audiences and, more importantly, to allow for the expressive value of speaking a particular language as a symbol of ethnic or political identification. The example of Quebec's Charter of the French Language and the resulting litigation is considered in some detail.


This article was first published in Law and Policy. 13.3 (July 1991): 215–229.