Quebec Studies

Québec Nationalism and the Production of Difference: The Bouchard-Taylor Commission, the Hérouxville Code of Conduct, and Québec's Immigrant Integration Policy

Quebec Studies (2010), 49, (1), 107–126.

Abstract

107 Québec Nationalism and the Production of Difference: The Bouchard-Taylor Commission, the Hérouxville Code of Conduct, and Quebec's Immigrant Integration Policy Darryl Leroux University of Ottawa Introduction For those following politics in Québec, the 2007-2008 period was an oppor­ tune time to conduct research on the dynamics of race and national identity. This paper follows a path through a number of events during this period in order to tease out the various dimensions of discourses about difference in Québec. I start with the proclamation of the Hérouxville Code of Conduct in January, 2007. From there I introduce the much talked-about Consulta­ tion Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Diffe­ rences (formed in February, 2007, and co-chaired by Gérard Bouchard and Charles Taylor), which tabled its final report in May, 2008. I next analyze the Government of Quebec's new immigrant integration policy, released in October, 2008. This paper presents and analyzes these three "events" in relation to the emerging academic literature on the politics of multiculturalism in Western liberal democracies. In particular, I argue that through relying on a civilizational discourse that depoliticizes "difference" in culture, the var­ ious events appeal to the dominant understandings of difference in Québec society, thereby obfuscating the racialized dimensions of these discourses. In order to situate my analyses, I begin with an overview of debates on cul­ tural pluralism in Québec. Intercultural or Multicultural: Is That Really the Question? For those unfamiliar with Quebec's approach to the management of cul­ tural pluralism, it is important to stress that, in Québec, the concept of mul­ ticulturalism is formally abandoned for the concept of interculturalism — or the set of institutional rights and responsibilities associated with policies on tolerance and respect of differences within a French-language social en­ vironment. The 1990 policy document Au Québec pour bâtir ensemble: Énoncé de politique en matière d'immigration et d'intégration [In Québec to Build Together: Polio/ Declaration on the Question of Immigration and Integration] comes closest to articulating the unique policy implications of intercultur­ alism. These include three main tenets: French as the language of public life; a democratic society, where everyone is expected and encouraged to participate and contribute; and an open, pluralist society that respects democratic values and intercommunatarian exchange (Government of Québec 1990, 16). The debate about the Québec versus the Canadian approach to cul­ tural pluralism is a lively one, in Québec and beyond it. Amy Nugent (2006), a former public servant for the Governments of Canada and Quebec Québec Studies, Volume 49, Spring/Summer 2010

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Leroux, Darryl