Canadian Government Executive - Volume 24 - Issue 03

18 / Canadian Government Executive // May/June 2018 Policy By Professor Kathy L. Brock T he Affirmation Policy objectives are straightforward. By entering a dialogue with Canadians and their governments, the Quebec government hopes to ensure that Québec and its history in Canada are better under- stood. Through this knowledge, mutual trust can be established that would enable Quebec to build better relations with the other governments and especially Indig- enous peoples. This relationship would be anchored in a twenty-first century vision of the Canadian federation that embraces individual and collectives identities with- out one diminishing the other. Québec’s national character would be affirmed and fully expressed in Canada, and Que- bec would assume its rightful place as a founding people of Canada. Canada would emerge as a model of respectful collabora- tion for the rest of the world. Québec’s way of being Canadian would be accepted in all facets of its relations with Canada. There are six steps to achieving these objectives. First, Québec’s identity would be affirmed as a francophone nation that engages on a nation-to-nation basis with Indigenous peoples and embraces its an- glophone and immigrant communities. It has begun this process with the treaties and accords signed with Indigenous gov- ernments, and with the policy of intercul- turalism that embraces diversity while up- holding Québec’s values. Second, Québec would strengthen its voice and place of belonging in Canada. This includes affirming the status of its citizens as both Quebecers and Canadians and its desire to continue playing a role in building Canada. Quebec would define its way of being Canadian, including shap- ing its own destiny and development and protecting its fields of jurisdiction from en- croachment. Third, Québec would play a dynamic role in Canada by employing every means possible and taking its seat at all inter- governmental and policy tables. It would retain its representation in federal institu- tions and play a constructive leadership role in guaranteeing Québec’s interests in international and domestic bilateral and multilateral negotiations. It would oper- ate its own international relations within its jurisdiction as a complement to federal government international actions. Fourth, recognizing that common ties are not just governmental or institutional, Québec would forge links between Qué- bec and Canadian individuals and civil so- ciety organizations to inculcate the knowl- edge and respect crucial to an inclusive Being Canadian: Québec’s dialogue with the rest of Canada The Québec government has initiated a historic engagement process. The 2017 Policy on Québec Affirmation and Canadian Relations, invites a dialogue with the other governments and civil society organizations in Canada on recognizing Québec’s place in the federation in a mutually satisfactory way and ending the constitutional stalemate of the 1980’s and 1990’s. The dialogue is overdue but only possible now that the divisive emotions of those past constitutional struggles have subsided. As the Qué- bec Premier observed, “Today, a large majority of Quebecers believe that Québec progresses when it is united instead of di- vided; when it participates instead of withdrawing; and above all, when it builds bridges instead of walls between the partners in the federation.” The Policy begins the bridge-building.