An Assessment of Quebec's Relations with States in the U.S.
Earl H. Fry
Brigham Young University
This article will offer an assessment of the Q u Ã© b e c g o v e r n m e n t ' s relations
with the fifty U.S. states. T h e topic is important for a n u m b e r of reasons.
First, it highlights the subnational g o v e r n m e n t that over the past half cenÂ
tury has been the m o s t active in the pursuit of its o w n "international relaÂ
tions." Second, Q u Ã© b e c is a rather distinct subnational unit in that it is the
" h o m e l a n d " of a minority linguistic group within an anglophone-domiÂ
nated Canada, and the Q u Ã© b e c g o v e r n m e n t ' s international policies have
often been aimed at protecting and enhancing the rights of its o w n majoritarian francophone population. A n d finally, Q u e b e c ' s international activiÂ
ties offer perhaps the most comprehensive case study available on h o w
subnational units such as provincial, state, and municipal governments are
attempting to cope with the inherent challenges and opportunities found in
an era of globalization.
Quebec as a Distinct
M a n y residents in Q u Ã© b e c consider themselves to b e a "nation," and in 2006
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper introduced a motion in the
Canadian H o u s e of C o m m o n recognizing Q u Ã© b e c as a nation "within a
united C a n a d a . " During the parliamentary discussion that ensued after
H a r p e r ' s motion, the Bloc QuÃ©bÃ©cois ( B Q ) insisted that Q u Ã© b e c should be
recognized as a nation without reference to the w o r d s "in Canada." T h e
Canadian Parliament already recognizes m a n y aboriginal or native groups
as part of the "First Nations," and H a r p e r ' s gesture w a s to m o v e Q u Ã© b e c in
the direction of a similar recognition and to underline its distinctiveness
from the nine other provinces and three territories within the Canadian
Without doubt, Q u Ã© b e c is distinct from other parts of Canada, even as
Canada is emerging as one of the m o s t multiethnic nations in the w o r l d .
A l m o s t 82 percent of all Q u e b e c e r s speak French as their first language, and
as Antonia M a i o n i emphasizes, these French-speaking residents identify
themselves as Q u e b e c e r s first, and this "individual identification and colÂ
lective appartenance to a Q u Ã© b e c society, in political, linguistic, and cultural
terms, has no parallel with provincial identities e l s e w h e r e . " Except in
neighboring N e w B r u n s w i c k where roughly one-third of residents speak
French as their first language, all other provinces are o v e r w h e l m i n g l y domÂ
inated b y English-speaking populations. W h e n one includes the neighÂ
boring United States in the picture, Q u Ã© b e c can accurately be depicted as a
French-speaking island in a vast ocean of English speakers.
QuÃ©bec Studies, Volume 47, Spring/Summer 2009