Quebec: Distinct Society

1492 words 6 pages
Quebec: A Distinct Society (?)

The concept of recognizing Quebec as a distinct society is an idea that has been kicking around for some time, but just what does it mean and what are its broader implications? This paper will examine the origins of the term, what it means, and its historical context. It will then examine rival interpretations of federalism. The essay will conclude with an in-depth examination of the concept's involvement with the failed constitutional accords and the failed Quebec succession attempts.

The term "distinct society" was a political notion used during constitutional debates during the Meech Lake accord and the Charlottetown accord. Its meaning is somewhat vague and controversial. In essence, it refers to
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This would in turn curtail separatist sentiments since they would no longer feel that their culture is threatened while remaining a part of the federation. Others may argue that granting Quebec the status of a distinct society would be the equivalent of granting them preferential treatment and that it would eliminate the sense of equality among the Canadian federation. They may also argue that it would encourage separatist sentiment rather than help to quell it. As the course pack puts it, "the recognition of Quebec as a distinct society might serve the separatist cause, for it takes very little effort to move from a distinct society to a distinct nation or country". I happen to agree with the later point of view. It's my belief that recognizing Quebec as a distinct society does nothing to unify the country, it only serves to divide it. It's a concept that polarizes Canada, pitting Quebec against the rest of Canada. If we make provisions in the Constitution to recognize Quebec as distinct, how would other distinct communities feel? Would aboriginal people not feel that they too are a distinct society? Should we then recognize them as a distinct society in the Constitution? If we continued on this path, Canada would no longer be a unified country but rather a fragmented country with several communities feeling resentment towards each


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