Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

Contextualizing the Quebec Charter of Values: Belonging without Citizenship in Quebec

Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

Contextualizing the Quebec Charter of Values: Belonging without Citizenship in Quebec

Article excerpt

Abstract

Did the introduction of the Charter of Quebec Values in September 2013 signal a repudiation of Quebec's longstanding consensus on liberal-pluralism in its dominant integration model? While the Charter died as a result of the election defeat of the minority Parti Quebecols government In May, 2014, its salience and impact continues to be felt, in that it has moved the normative benchmarks around ethnocultural and ethno-religious diversity and represents a qualitatively new framework for regulating the terms of belonging in Quebec. This paper, however, contends that such a reading of the legacy of the Charter misses a significant part of the story. A broader contextual overview reveals that recent events in Quebec are conditioned by variables associated with the unfinished nature of a constitutive project for national integration. Regardless of whether or not the proposed Charter signaled a permanent normative turn in Quebec, or merely an intensification and greater polarization of an interminable argument, this paper will attempt to provide some context with which to interpret this 'trial balloon' of the minority Parti Quebecois government in power from 2012-2014. I argue that this short-lived incursion into more exclusionary politics are the direct result of a variety of factors that go beyond standard normative principles usually attributed to citizenship and actually reflect structural difficulties associated with Quebec's status as an unrecognized minority nation. The article will proceed to highlight the primary Identity-forging Initiatives undertaken by Quebec in lieu of citizenship, and conclude with some reflections on some distortions that may be attributable to a protracted, frustrated and unfinished constitutive journey.

Resume

L'introduction de la Charte des Valeurs du Quebec en Septembre 2013 aurait-elle signifie le renoncement d'un consensus de longue date du Quebec au pluralisme liberal dans son modele d'integration dominante? Bien que l'arret de la Charte alt eu pour resultat la defaite du Parti quebecois devenu minoritaire au gouvernement pendant les electlons de mai 2014, son importance et son impact continuent de se faire sentir, dans le sens ou elle a deplace les reperes normatifs autour de la diversite ethnoculturelle et ethno--religieuse; et represente une structure qui reglementer qualitativement les conditions d'appartenance au Quebec. Toutefois, cet article tente de s'opposer a une telle lecture de l'heritage de la Charte qui semble avoir omis une importante partie de l'histoire. Une approche contextuelle plus large revele que les evenements recents au Quebec ont ete conditionnes par les variables associees a la nature inachevee du projet constitute de l'integration nationale. Peu importe si oui ou non le projet de Charte a marque un tournant normatif permanent au Quebec, ou simplement une intensification et une plus grande polarisation d'un argument interminable, cet article va tenter de fournir un contexte avec lequel interpreter ce << ballon d'essai >> de la minorite du Parti quebecois au pouvoir dans le gouvernement de 2012-2014. Je postule que cette incursion de courte duree dans la politique d'exclusion sont plus le resultat direct d'une variete de facteurs qui vont au-dela des principes normatifs standards generalement attribues a la citoyennete et fait reflechir a des difficultes structurelles liees au statut du Quebec comme une nation minoritaire non reconnue. L'article va proceder a mettre l'accent sur les initiatives de renforcement d'identites primaires forgees, entrepris par le Quebec en lieu et place de la citoyennete, et de conclure avec quelques reflexions sur certaines distorsions qul pourraient etre attribuables a un periple constitutif prolonge, frustrant et inacheve.

INTRODUCTION

From French-Canadian survivance to Quebecois national integration, the road to citizenship in Quebec has been a fascinating study in collective introspection. …

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