CULTURE AND POLITICS
TUES: National Minorities and Selfdetermination
THUR: Immigration and Multiculturalism
1. Liberal Democracy and Cultural Politics
2. Quebec and Selfdetermination
3. Aboriginals and Selfdetermination
LIBERAL DEMOCRACY AND LEGITIMATE AUTHORITY
Liberal democratic theory is based on a particular idea about how political power ought
to be organized.
Concept of Legal Authority:
Citizens voluntarily obey because they respect the rules governing the exercise of power.
Rules in the Exercise of Power:
Liberalism Respective for individual freedom and equality
Democracy: Citizen participation in political decisionmaking
LIBERAL DEMOCRACY AND CULTURAL POLITICS
Modern liberal democratic societies represent a plurality of different cultural, religious
and ethnic groups.
These groups have very different views about morality, society, and politics.
Moreover, there is an inequality between different cultural groups in terms of their
social, political, and economic power in society.
System of dominant/majority and subordinate/
CULTURAL, INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM AND EQUALITY
Liberal democracies often attempt to manage cultural politics through its guarantees of
individual freedom and formal equality
Individual Freedom: Governments must respect basic freedoms that are important to
CULTURE AND SELFDETERMINATION
Some cultural groups, however, also seek selfdetermination in order to protect and
promote their cultural practices and groups Concept of SelfDetermination:
Ability for a group to internally selfdetermine their own social, economic and political
Requires special institutional structures to provide political decisionmaking power to
Several groups in Canada have demanded (and have achieved) selfdetermination within
Canada. Ex. Aboriginals and Quebec.
SELFDETERMINATION AND LEGITIMACY
These demands for selfdetermination are critical for the idea of legitimacy for these
Groups will not voluntarily obey unless special institutional arrangements are in place to
Majority Group Perspective_
Other citizens. However, often view special rights and institutional arrangements for
some groups as unfair and illegitimate.
All citizens should be treated equally, regardless of their cultural background
QUEBEC AND SELFDTERMINATION
Quebec demands for selfdetermination are as old as Canada
Stem from the fact that Canada is founded on the combining of two distinct cultural and
ethnic groups: English and French
Foundations: Distinct Society
Quebec tends to ground its claim to selfdetermination on the idea that it represents a
distinct society within Canada
• Distinct sociological groups
• Distinct historical groups
DISTINCT MINORITY GROUP
Quebec is a minority group that is socially, culturally and linguistically distinct from the
dominant group (English Canada)
Language: French as opposed to English
Religion: Catholic as opposed to Protestant
Political Institutions: civil law system as opposed to common law
Political Culture: more egalitarian/social democratic/ collective
DISTINCT HISTORICAL GROUP
Quebec perceive themselves as having a unique historical relationship with Canada;
setes them apart from other groups and provinces. Minority sociological group that was involuntarily absorbed into Canada
New France; Absorbed Through Conquest
Seven Years War (17561763): Global war between European empires (In particular,
British v. French).
North American Context: In modern day Canada, British defeat French In the Battle of
Plains of Abraham near Quebec city (1759)
RIGHT TO SELFDETERMINATION
As a distinct culture that was involuntarily absorbed in Canada, Quebecers are entitled to
the right to selfdetermination
• Independent control their own cultural, economic, social and political
development (free from interference from dominant English culture)
• Requires some measure of political autonomy and power for Quebec.
Federal Approach: Quebec is entitled to special powers and privileges necessary to ensure
selfgovernment within Canada (jurisdictional authority)
Sovereigns Approach: Selfdetermination can only be guaranteed via national
independence and political separation from Canada.
RECENT ATTEMPTS TO ACCOMOMDATE QUEBEC
In the 1990s Canada federal and provincial governments undertook constitutional
negotiations with Quebec to accommodate its demands from selfgovernment
Meech Lake a