Multiculturalism in Quebec, really?

by emilegaudette on May 5, 2017 - 12:28pm

The article is about the biased idea spread by our medias that the province of Quebec population has a multiculturalist minding. An expression attributed to people in favor of the maintain/ growth of the immigration in our province. The author provides, on a sarcastic tone, that multiculturalism is an insult! He says that it doesn’t exist in Quebec. In fact, everybody (politicians) kind of reject that multiculturalism here. He says that politicians like the fact that the topic is unclear between Quebec and Canada so that they don’t they don’t have to take position. But, he believes that there’s a big difference between these worldviews: the Canadian version says that there’s no common culture for Canadians and the opposite for Quebec, a cultural diversity based on a common culture and one language. Quebecers are plurualist, not multiculturalist.  We only have a diversified society.

 

I completely agree with the author of this article, even thought our worldview is actually changing. I live 45 minutes away from Montreal and the cultural diversity is way different from Montreal. At my High school, there were just a few immigrants. It wasn’t part of our lives to live with other cultures. It’s really not in our worldview to accept their culture. It didn’t have any impact on people but I felt like if it was alright only if they had our culture and that they didn’t “disturb” us with it. I feel like Quebecers (except people in Montreal) don’t want different cultures on their territory. For example, my grandparents are still racist sometimes even if they say that they are joking. It’s probably just ignorance. their generation was fed by tv news like TVA nouvelles and based their opinions on these. But, the future generation has already started to view the world differently. My little brother goes to a school that is full of people with different cultures and he will be raise with a different knowledge of the world than my grandparents did. I strongly believe that different cultures in Quebec is a strength for us and that we can learn from those. It’s by accepting their differences that we will have a united and stronger Quebec. People don’t adopt a multiculturalist culture because they are sacred of loosing our culture and language.  People that immigrate here can adopt our culture and keep theirs easily! That’s the future of province of Quebec.

Cardinal François. "Sale multicultraliste." la presse plus, February 19th 2017, http://www.lapresse.ca/international/amerique-latine/201705/04/01-509488...

 

Comments

Hello emilegaudette,
Simply by looking at the title (Multiculturalism in Quebec, really?) of your post I knew the controversy around the question whether Quebec is multiculturalist or rather pluralist would be discussed. In fact, the topic of multiculturalism is very important for my family and I since, among all Canadian provinces, we chose immigrating to the province of Quebec because we believed it was strongly multiculturalist. Therefore, I disagree with the author’s point of view and yours around the idea that Quebec is pluralist. To support my points, I would like to suggest a definition of multiculturalism in Canada that is also appropriate for the province of Quebec:

"Canadian multiculturalism is fundamental to the belief that all citizens are equal. Multiculturalism ensures that all citizens can keep their identities, can take pride in their ancestry and have a sense of belonging. The Canadian experience has shown that multiculturalism encourages racial and ethnic harmony and cross-cultural understanding. Through multiculturalism, Canada recognizes the potential of all Canadians, encouraging them to integrate into their society and take an active part in its social, cultural, economic and political affairs" (Government of Canada).

As a matter of fact, multiculturalism focuses mainly on integration, but also respects different culture’s beliefs and practices. In Quebec, various cultures are allowed to practice their religion freely in order to keep their identities and take pride in their ancestry. For instance, someone can find quite easily a large number of Orthodox, Islamic, Buddhist, Sikh, Christian and Protestant churches/temples/community centers in the province of Quebec. Also, in the city of Montreal, certain neighbourhoods (communities), such as the Little Italy and Chinatown, are dedicated to different cultures so they have a sense of belonging even if they are not based in their country of origin. If this is not racial and ethnic harmony and cross-cultural understanding through multiculturalism, what is it then? To continue, if the integration part of multiculturalism was neglect in Quebec, I would agree with you that pluralism rather than multiculturalism is present in our province. However, many resources, policies and/or to-be policies are available in Quebec to help immigrants integrate in the dominant culture. For instance, Clef pour l’intégration au travail des immigrants (CITIM) is a non-profit community organization helping immigrants with their socio-professional integration mainly by teaching them how to speak French, how to make a CV, how to use Microsoft Word and Excel, etc. Further, reasonable accommodations are another proof of Quebec trying to integrate immigrants into society. It is important to note that reasonable accommodations are directly related to democracy since it "accomomodate" religious and cultural considerations. In fact, the Bouchard-Taylor Commission discussed numerous situations, such as the kirpan and the Cross on the Parliament, in which reasonable accommodation should be implanted. The Commission’s major conclusions combined new policies or programs pertaining to interculturalism and secularism, recognition of immigrants’ skills and diplomas, francization programs, the need for more sustained efforts to regionalize immigration, the need for enhanced coordination between government departments, etc. Finally, there are many other programs in Quebec to help immigrants integrate in our dominant culture such as Session on First Settlement Steps and Session Objectif Intégration. Everything being said from my worldview, I would like to know more about your point of view on Quebec being pluralist…Do you have this perspective of Quebec as a result of your past experiences or current experiences? Did you personally notice something that confirmed your worldview? Please let me know!

Hi emilegaudette,
By looking at your title your article interested me because I do not think that what you claim is totally true. Therefore, I would like to show you my position and thoughts about your topic.
The fact is that I would consider Canada as a multicultural country but I would not consider Quebec as a multicultural province. Multiculturalism is based on the acceptance and integration of people from other cultures. It is a cultural mosaic and an evolving culture. However, even is Quebec accepts immigrants and tries to help them to integrate themselves I would rather refer to the province as pluralist. The fact is that Quebecers are fighting hard in order to maintain their French-Canadian culture in anglophone environment and when people from other cultures try to “impose” theirs, it becomes difficult to deal with all these other cultures that try to “oppress” or “dominate” the French-Canadian culture. Indeed, “in the last three decades, driven by a powerful and dynamic ethnonationality pride, they have managed to tackle the stigma of colonial conquest and overturn more than two centuries of exclusion from Canada's major networks of social and economic development; they have come out of almost total political and institutional marginalization and succeeded in tending off near cultural asphyxiation” (IDENTITY POLITICS AND MULTICULTURALISM IN QUEBEC).Thus, in my opinion, and from my worldview and expectances, Quebec agrees that there are multicultural and different cultures but it also agrees that, at least in the province, there should be a dominant culture. However, it does not mean that the other cultures should not have rights and that the people should not freely practise their religion. I think that, everyone is accepted and everyone can practise any kind of religion or beliefs, but there are social norms that the Quebecers are expecting from the immigrants to apply. For example, even if we live in an anglophone country, in Quebec, people are expecting that you can speak French when someone is addressing to you in French. Of course, this problem is not as likely to happen the anglophone provinces because the language barrier is not as dramatic. In other words, in my opinion, Quebec is based on a concept of tolerance rather than integration and acceptance because the province tries to protect her French-Canadian culture.
Do you think that Quebec is a multicultural province, a pluralist one or a mix of both?

https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterl...

Hi emilegaudette,
By looking at your title your article interested me because I do not think that what you claim is totally true. Therefore, I would like to show you my position and thoughts about your topic.
The fact is that I would consider Canada as a multicultural country but I would not consider Quebec as a multicultural province. Multiculturalism is based on the acceptance and integration of people from other cultures. It is a cultural mosaic and an evolving culture. However, even is Quebec accepts immigrants and tries to help them to integrate themselves I would rather refer to the province as pluralist. The fact is that Quebecers are fighting hard in order to maintain their French-Canadian culture in anglophone environment and when people from other cultures try to “impose” theirs, it becomes difficult to deal with all these other cultures that try to “oppress” or “dominate” the French-Canadian culture. Indeed, “in the last three decades, driven by a powerful and dynamic ethnonationality pride, they have managed to tackle the stigma of colonial conquest and overturn more than two centuries of exclusion from Canada's major networks of social and economic development; they have come out of almost total political and institutional marginalization and succeeded in tending off near cultural asphyxiation” (IDENTITY POLITICS AND MULTICULTURALISM IN QUEBEC).Thus, in my opinion, and from my worldview and expectances, Quebec agrees that there are multicultural and different cultures but it also agrees that, at least in the province, there should be a dominant culture. However, it does not mean that the other cultures should not have rights and that the people should not freely practise their religion. I think that, everyone is accepted and everyone can practise any kind of religion or beliefs, but there are social norms that the Quebecers are expecting from the immigrants to apply. For example, even if we live in an anglophone country, in Quebec, people are expecting that you can speak French when someone is addressing to you in French. Of course, this problem is not as likely to happen the anglophone provinces because the language barrier is not as dramatic. In other words, in my opinion, Quebec is based on a concept of tolerance rather than integration and acceptance because the province tries to protect her French-Canadian culture.
Do you think that Quebec is a multicultural province, a pluralist one or a mix of both?

https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterl...

Hi,

I opened your article because as soon as I read the title and started reading the text, I knew many opinions would be brought up.

Even though you had some great points, I would say I disagree with you. In my opinion, our community is not pluralist, but more multiculturalist. We tend to protect our beliefs by wanted immigrants to support our values. With immigration, we are exposed to all different cultures and it is fine, but I do not think that we, as Quebecers, are valuing much the immigrant’s beliefs. Of course we respect them, but we will never believe in anything else than our own values. I think we are a community that is welcoming and safe, that is why many people chose to immigrate here.

Hi there emilegaudette, I find the topic of your article to be quite interesting and it reaches a rather personal spot in my heart as I come from mixed ethnicities and live every day through the lens of two quite different cultures. Just like you and the author of the article you chose, I also believe Quebec to stand more on the pluralist approach to immigration than the multiculturalist, like most of Canada. A single exception to Quebec's pluralism may be the city of Montreal, as it acts as a big cultural hub. The reason for the province's different approach to immigration and cultural integration most likely has to do with Quebec's strong feeling of nationalism and the need to defend the French culture amidst a sea of English. Yes, Quebec is very open to other cultures, that must not be denied, but this acceptance of diversity is encouraged as long as it respects the notion that French language and culture is in the lead, thus the dominant culture. We can see this expression of the dominant culture through the obligation to attend French school for immigrant children and the ban of English signage. I wonder if there will ever be a day where Quebec will display itself as a mutliculturalist society?