Roger Demers – Pilot –
THE SAGA OF FRENCH IN THE AIR
The Association des gens de l’air, founded on September 19, 1975 by a group led by Roger Demers, gets its hands on CALPA’s internal note and submits it to the attention of the Federal Minister of Transport and the media.
Le Devoir headline: “In protest against the French, multiply the incidents,” CALPA told the pilots.
A commission of inquiry is established by the Minister and will conclude:
“The evidence on file shows that operational efficiency will not be affected” and that “implementation will not entail any significant cost. ”
It is estimated that the linguistic struggle waged by this association was one of the ingredients that led to the election of the Parti Québécois in November 1976. It was from that year that the government gradually authorised the use of French in aeronautical communications in Quebec (VFR and IFR) and later in the Ottawa Capital Region as well as at some airports in Acadia. One of the last barriers had just fallen for Francophones.
Source: See the July 7, 1977 article on page A7 of the newspaper Le Soleil: Roger Demers, “knight of the sky”, a Quebecer first!
See also: Aviation magazine quoting Journal des gens de l’air, the direct approach, from the AGAQ website, and the book Au temps des premières ailes, by Pierre Thiffault, Éditions Typographe