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Quebec: State and Society, Third Edition

edited by Alain-G. Gagnon
Copyright Date: 2004
Edition: 2
Pages: 500
  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Québec: State and Society, third editionacts as a mirror to a society that continues to transform itself, that adjusts to changes taking place on the international scene, while providing an understanding of Québec's unique experience within the world. This completely revised edition is composed of twenty-two original and comprehensive essays on key issues and themes that constitute present-day Québec politics, written by prominent and widely published specialists in areas as diverse as political science, sociology, economics, demography, and history. As a result, this book provides a full account the historical and contemporary Québec environment and offers premises for developments to come.

    This edition distinguishes itself by proposing five main themes for surveying the Québec condition, each with its own section. The first of these, "Québec Today: Memory, Identity, and Pluralism", contains essays on historical and contemporary identity narratives and counter-narratives in Québec, including aboriginal/state debates. "Governance" explores issues of Québec public administration, business-government relations, and federal and international relations. "Political Parties and Social Movements" discusses a series of fundamental questions on the role exercised by the various elements of civil society in Québec, ranging from the relevance of political parties to the diversity of social movements. "Education, Language, and Immigration" delves into developments in long-standing issues at the heart of the challenge of pluralism in Québec. "Territoriality, Globalization, and International Relations" tackles questions faced by every contemporary society and proposes new arenas for research for Québec.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-0288-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-8)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. 9-10)
    Alain-G. Gagnon
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 11-14)

    It has already been 20 years since I invited over 20 political scientists, sociologists, and specialists in the history of ideas, from diverse schools of thought, to provide their perspective on the question of Québec. The first French language edition, published by Québec Amérique in 1994, went on to receive the Richard-Arés Book Prize in 1995. The book is now available in its second edition in French and its third in English. One particularly interesting development is that, as of 2003,Québec: State and Societywill be available in the four principal languages of the Americas, as Portuguese and Spanish...

  5. Part I Québec Today:: Memory, Identity, and Pluralism

    • 1 What Does It Mean to be a Quebecer? Between Self-Preservation and Openness to the Other
      (pp. 17-32)

      The most important theoretical and political issue concerning what is usually called the Québec question resides in the definition of the political subject, and of the political community in which the subject emerges as a totalizing figure of society.

      This debate, in which many intellectuals in Québec are engaged, revolves around the different forms of these essential definitions. The contrast that characterizes the debate between ethnic and civic nationalism postulates a distinction between a community of shared memory and belonging and one that defines a group of citizens around rights from the standpoint of formal equality.¹ In political sociology, transformation...

    • 2 Narratives and Counter-Narratives of Identity in Québec
      (pp. 33-50)

      The nation cannot be separated from its narration. It does not existin itself,but is rather disclosed in the representation that its members make of it. To be sure, the nation rests on a certain number of “objective” elements, such as,inter alia,a spatio-temporal inscription, one or several languages and one or several religious traditions. But the nation only exists truly once it isnamedby subjects who claim to be of common belonging. Hence it is difficult to invalidate Benedict Anderson’s claim that the nation is an “imagined community.”¹ As I will attempt to show, this common...

    • 3 Interpreting Québec’s Historical Trajectories: Between La Société Globale and the Regional Space
      (pp. 51-68)

      In the last 40 years, Québec has been variously described as a province like all others, as a distinct society, as the principal centre of the French-Canadian culture, as a nation, as a multinational society, or as a country in the making. In many respects, the conceptualization of the Québécois community has become a political issue in itself.² In concert with this investigation into the socio-political model most able to capture contemporary Québec, Québécois themselves have reflected on the origins, evolution, and future of their culture. Is Québec culture unique or an extension of French culture, or even a francophone...

    • 4 Pluralism and National Identity(ies) in Contemporary Québec: Conceptual Clarifications, Typology, and Discourse Analysis
      (pp. 69-96)

      At the end of the 1970s, John Dunn ironically wrote, “we are all democrats today.”² According to him, democratic discourse had become the moral Esperanto of our times, “the name for the good intentions of states or perhaps the good intentions which their rulers would like us to believe that they possess.”³ Dunn was calling for analytical prudence. It was no longer possible to speak of “democracy” without defining it. Some 20 years later, the problem has many more complexities. Not only is auto-proclaimed democracy more present than at any other period in time, but in the most advanced democracies,...

    • 5 The Québec State and Indigenous Peoples
      (pp. 97-124)

      Despite the good intentions of successive Québec governments towards Indigenous peoples, despite economic and administrative measures aimed at improving their lot² and despite socio-economic indicators that may suggest that the situation of Indigenous peoples seems, comparatively speaking, less desperate in Québec than in most other Canadian provinces,³ the relationship between the Québec state and Indigenous peoples has often been uneasy since the now infamous Oka Crisis of 1990. The last decade has been punctuated by intense moments, often marked by brash stances and hostile or acrimonious declarations on the part of Indigenous leaders. One need only recall the unflinching political...

  6. Part II Governance

    • 6 Québec-Canada’s Constitutional Dossier
      (pp. 127-150)

      To begin with, Québec is not a province like the others. Adequately accounting for such a political reality necessitates an adapted analytical focus. As such, we employ the notion of the Québec state as a political nation inscribed within a multinational whole and as a historic region in order to highlight Québec’s specificity, rather than simply treating Québec as a province, a subordinate government or a political grouping. The latter expressions appear to us as misleading considering the manner in which a large majority of Quebecers perceive and define themselves.¹

      There are many ways to address Québec-Canada dynamics in the...

    • 7 The Clarity Act in Its Context
      (pp. 151-164)

      On 15 March 2000, the Parliament of Canada adopted An Act to give effect to the requirement for clarity as set out in the opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada in theQuébec Secession Reference¹ (hereafter:Clarity Act). The text sets the procedure that should be followed and the criteria that the Parliament of Canada should use to decide if it has an obligation to negotiate, as established by theQuébec Secession Reference² (hereafter:Reference) with a province that has decided to carry out its secession from Canada following a referendum. In particular, this law aims to prescribe the...

    • 8 Can Québec Neo-Corporatist Networks Withstand Canadian Federalism and Internationalization?
      (pp. 165-182)

      In a North American context, Québec clearly distinguishes itself through the type of relationship the state maintains with civil society intermediary groups. These generally well-organized groups often enjoy a legal or implicit recognition that endows them with preferential participatory roles, along with the state, in policy development and implementation. Since the 1970s, European authors have employed the appellation of neo-corporatism¹ in order to distinguish this type of relationship between the state and intermediary groups from that of American pluralism and neo-pluralism.²

      Nevertheless, the understanding of Québec neo-corporatism developed in this chapter rests on the policy network literature³ and thus is...

    • 9 Managerial Innovation and the Québec Central Agencies
      (pp. 183-198)

      The managerial reform to which the Québec public sector has committed itself through its project “Pour de meilleurs services aux citoyens: un nouveau cadre de gestion pour la fonction publique” is not merely a managerial exercise in the reorganization of the state.¹ As in all important planned organizational changes, it, too, implies an inclination towards symbolic orientation and identity construction that goes beyond the quest for efficiency of providing services; that questions the ability of the state of Québec to intervene and regulate through the redefinition of its organizational resources, especially in view of its previous basis for legitimacy. This...

    • 10 State-Owned Enterprises in Québec: From Privatization to Globalization
      (pp. 199-218)

      State-owned enterprises have been part of Canada’s economic landscape for nearly a century. State intervention in the economy, sporadic at the turn of the century, gradually expanded in scope; it also became more direct and sophisticated.¹

      In Québec, the development of state-owned enterprises occurred at the same time and along the same lines as in the other provinces.² What was different in Québec was that it built up the largest network of publicly owned corporations of any Canadian province, and they pursued nationalist ambitions.³ After the oil crisis of the 1970s and the recessions of 1982 and 1992, however, successive...

  7. Part III Political Parties and Social Movements

    • 11 Sclerosis or A Clean Bill of Health? Diagnosing Québec’s Party System in the Twenty-First Century
      (pp. 221-244)

      A great deal appears to have changed in Québec’s party system since the collapse of the Meech Lake Accord in 1990. For one thing, all of the major players in the political game have been reshuffled: both the Québec Liberal Party (QLP) and the Parti Québécois (PQ) have had three leaders in the last decade. Jean Charest, Lucien Bouchard’s former cabinet colleague in Brian Mulroney’s federal Progressive Conservative government during the late 1980s, is now the leader of the Québec Liberals. He replaced Daniel Johnson, who had succeeded an ailing Robert Bourassa in 1994. Lucien Bouchard left the federal Conservative...

    • 12 Anti-Market Globalization Social Movements
      (pp. 245-270)

      In Québec, the rest of Canada, as well as in many other countries, the end of the twentieth century brought about a critical and open rise in awareness of the phenomenon of globalization. An opposition has developed on a world-wide scale, and is challenging what most people had, until recently, considered to be an inevitable, and essentially positive transformation. Rooted in many different local movements, this international opposition testifies to the concerns that groups and individuals of diverse origins and affiliations share, faced with the unfulfilled ambitions of the big actors in the economy, ambitions that are revealed through recently...

    • 13 Labour Market Transformations and Labour Law: The Québec Labour Movement in Search of Renewed Growth
      (pp. 271-286)

      The twentieth century was a critical period for the labour movement, both in Québec and in most industrialized nations. Trade unions began essentially clandestine and went on to achieve social recognition in political and legal terms; they rose from marginality to being widely representative in many industries; they moved from a focus on the narrow representation of their members to a wider engagement with a range of social and economic issues. In short, the labour movement developed and adapted in response to the opportunities created by the economic and social transformations that occurred over the last century. However, the closing...

    • 14 The Québec Women’s Movement: Past and Present
      (pp. 287-304)

      To write about the history and current realities of the women’s movement can seem to imply that the movement is unified, perfectly integrated, and operates on a single analysis with common positions. The reality of the women’s movement is different. There are groups and individuals from all political tendencies, as well as non-organized elements and this is what makes it a subject of analysis that is capable of revealing the complexity of the social fabric of Québec society, as well as its pluralistic character.

      When trying to identify characteristics that reveal the specificity of Québec, we must include the existence...

  8. Part IV Education, Language, and Immigration

    • 15 Immigration, Pluralism, and Education
      (pp. 307-328)

      Throughout the last 30 years, the Québec school system—in particular, the traditionally homogeneous French-language sector—has been radically transformed by the impact of the ethnocultural diversification of its clientele. This evolution results from three major societal changes: the redefinition of linguistic relations due to the adoption of Bill 101 in 1977, the constant involvement of the Québec government in the selection and integration of immigrants and finally the opening of institutions and civil society to pluralism, reflected in the evolution of discourses, policies, and programs in this regard. Schools, therefore, were given a double mandate: on the one hand,...

    • 16 English-Speaking Québec: A Political History
      (pp. 329-344)

      Québec has always been a predominantly francophone society, and in recent years there has been a growing tendency to define its identity in terms of the French language, the predominance of which is the most obvious difference between Québec and the rest of North America. Nonetheless, Québec has for more than two centuries included a substantial minority of anglophones, and the situation of this minority within Québec has been a political issue for most of that time: witness Lord Durham’s celebrated comment in 1839: “I found two nations warring in the bosom of a single state.”¹

      Unlike some other minorities,...

    • 17 Language and Cultural Insecurity
      (pp. 345-368)

      Raymond Breton has described the continuing evolution of Québec nationalism from an ethnic to a civic form of nationalism, likening it to a similar (and similarly incomplete) evolution in English-speaking Canada that began half a century earlier.¹ The task has been doubly difficult in Québec because “le Québec doit ... livrer deux combats à la fois: celui de l’affirmation nationale et celui de l’affirmation pluraliste.”² In the process, the “narrow vision that equates the nation with ethnicity”³ has become merely one endpoint defining a continuum of positions.⁴ Yet, some critics continue to perpetuate a stereotype of Québec francophones as ethnocentric...

    • 18 Interculturalism: Expanding the Boundaries of Citizenship
      (pp. 369-388)

      This chapter addresses the impact of polyethnicity on political communities by focusing specifically on the symbolic aspect of citizenship — the markers of a country’s self-identification through which citizens are said to exhibit a sense of social cohesion and allegiance for effective democratic participation in a given polity.¹ What are the symbolic “anchors” that frame and define sentiments of belonging in a democratic polity? How do we evaluate such criteria in light of the challenge of polyethnicity? Such questions will be explored through a comparative conceptual assessment of the Canadian policy of multiculturalism and Québec’s model of interculturalism. Both of these...

  9. Part V Territoriality, Globalization, and International Relations

    • 19 Stateless Nations or Regional States? Territory and Power in a Globalizing World
      (pp. 391-404)

      Recent years have seen a vigorous debate about the past, future, and present of the nation-state and about the emergence of new forms of order above, below, and alongside it. For some, the nation-state remains the fundamental unit of political and social order; for others, it is fading away; while others again argue that it is being transformed. The problem is that the nation-state is itself such a complex concept. Some observers put the emphasis on the “nation” part of the expression to claim that, given the plurality of most states, the expression is a misnomer. Others put the emphasis...

    • 20 Québec in the Americas: From the FTA to the FTAA
      (pp. 405-426)

      Québec cannot disregard its multifaceted fate as part of North America. Its complexity is reflected not only in the commercial and economic links that exist between Québec and its partners, namely the other provinces and the United States, but also in the politics that influence the nature and depth of these links. The question that arises is to what degree Québec has been facing up to the requirements of continental integration in light of the challenges that the future will present. If Québec must pursue close relationships with its continental partners, it has through different periods done so in various...

    • 21 Nationalism and Competitiveness: Can Québec Win if Quebecers Lose?
      (pp. 427-446)

      The assumption commonly made when discussing the economics of nationalism in Québec is that nationalism reduces economic competitiveness. Many argue that Quebecers’ desire to exert greater control over the economy has encouraged extensive state intervention, which has in turn distorted the efficient functioning of the free market, fattening the bureaucrats while reducing wealth generation.¹ Language legislation and the uncertainty about Québec’s constitutional future also are held responsible for the flight of head offices and skilled personnel to Ontario (and beyond), and for maintaining an unfavourable investment climate. While it is undeniable that nationalist economic impulses have led tosomeinefficient...

    • 22 Québec’s International Relations
      (pp. 447-474)

      Among non-sovereign States, Québec is without contest the one that operates the most extensive network of international representation. Due to its six general delegations, five delegations, six offices, nine branches and four non-delegation specialized services,¹ it is situated at the top of approximately 350 federated political entities that exercise a jurisdiction over a given territory within a sovereign state. Its influence extends to five continents and to about 20 countries.

      This international activity did not begin yesterday. Québec has, in effect, dispatched temporary immigration officers to various countries since the early years of Canadian Confederation. It delegated its first agent-general,...

  10. Contributors
    (pp. 475-480)
  11. Index
    (pp. 481-500)