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A Comparison Of Quebec To The Rest Of Canada

1652 words - 7 pages

Quebec’s social identity and defining characteristics contradict and conflict with those of rest of Canada. Since the genesis of our country, the political, social disagreements, and tensions between Quebec and the rest of Canada have been unavoidable. Utilizing Hiller’s key contradictions in the analysis of a Canadian society, we will compare and contrast the nature of the societal identity in Quebec compared to that of rest of Canada, emphasising on the major differences and tensions between the province and the rest of the country.

Although Quebec is in Canada, a majority of Quebecers do not identify with the national identity of Canada. Both societies create a sense of identity as well as nationalism (Hiller, 295). Hiller mentions two approaches to assessing Canadian identity; the unitary approach and the segmentalist approach (Hiller, 277). The unitary approach suggests that society consists of people who regardless of their ethnic back ground, identify as belonging to the national society, while the segmentalist approach concentrates on groups and communities that share racial, linguistic, occupational, or cultural similarities (Hiller, 28). While most Anglophones are more unitary or pan-Canadian, Quebec heavily identifies with the segmentalist approach. This dissimilarity of identity perspective may be problematic for the country, at the same time however, it can also be viewed as a struggle where contradictory parties find a way to compromise and reshape Canadian society together (Hiller, 277). Canada’s former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau made it his objective to unite Quebec with the rest of Canada. In 1969 Trudeau’s government implemented Bill C-120, otherwise known as the Official Language act, which made French and English equal in Canada (Belanger).Trudeau’s ultimate goal was for recognition of the entire country as the home of French Canadians, and not only the province of Quebec (Belanger). Despite his efforts two referendums to separate Quebec from Canada took place in 1980 and 1995, although both failed, the referendums did provoke questions about Canadian identity and Quebec's place in Confederation (CBC-Digital). Mr. Trudeau’s efforts did not go in vain, as he did manage to gain a decent majority of the francophone vote, as he himself was francophone.

Hiller recognizes and identifies five key contradictions in the analysis of identity. With the first contradiction; homogeneity vs. heterogeneity, Hiller begs the question whether diversity should be tolerated and encouraged or, be unvarying to all (Huller 276). Canada’s unitary approach to identity suggests that Canadian society is for everyone and that multiculturalism a plurality of ethnic identity is what unites us under the banner of Canada, regardless of our ethnic or regional loyalty (Hiller, 277). As mentioned above, Prime Minister Trudeau attempted to unite French and English Canada by reinterpreting diversity as a national resource rather than a societal problem...

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