French Canadians are by
far Canada’s largest minority, with some 7.2 million (20.6 per cent)
Canadians having French as their mother tongue in the 2016 Canadian
Census. French Canadians are considered to be one of the country’s three
founding nations, along with English Canadians and indigenous peoples.
Most are Catholic and trace their heritage to French colonists who
settled in the Atlantic region and along the St Lawrence River in the
1600s and 1700s. French is one of Canada’s two official languages, along
with English, and it enjoys special protection under the Canadian
Constitution. Many French-speakers consider the homeland of French
culture in North America to be the province of Quebec, where the large
majority (6.2 million in the 2016 Census) of native French–speakers are
based. Not all French-speakers are of French descent, especially in
modern-day Quebec, and not all people of French-Canadian heritage are
exclusively or primarily French-speaking.
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