The case examined here is the francophone minority of Canada, which can be described either as a linguistic minority including the francophone populations of all provinces and territories, or as a territorial nation limited to the Province of Quebec. More than eight million French-speakers live in Canada, over six million of them residing in Quebec (Statistics Canada 2019).
1. FEDERAL OR QUASI-FEDERAL TERRITORIAL AUTONOMY
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- The Constitution Act, 1867, marks the formation of Canada as the federal union of four founding provinces (later 10 provinces and three territories), one of which was the Province of Quebec. The federal nature of the state was put forward so as to guarantee the protection of Quebec's institutions, language, religion and laws (MacKay 1963).
- Education, health and the administration of justice are listed, among others, as exclusive powers of provincial legislatures (Constitution Act 1867).
- Canadian federalism is known for its high degree of asymmetry, a formula by which Quebec's aspiration for control over its cultural and social life has allowed it to obtain some responsibilities that are otherwise not handled by the provinces. For example, Quebec operates its own pension plan, collects taxes and has extensive authority over labour market and training policies as well as immigration issues-matters that are typically managed by the federal government in other provinces. An example is the 2004 federal-provincial-territorial agreement that allows Quebec to use the federal government's funding to implement its own plan for renewing the health system (Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat 2004).
2. OFFICIAL LANGUAGE STATUS, EITHER IN THE REGION OR NATIONALLY
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- The role of the French language is emphasized in the Constitution Act, 1867, which permits the use of either English or French in the debates in Parliament and before the federal courts
- The first Official Languages Act was adopted in 1969 (revised in 1988). It recognizes both languages as the official languages of all federal institutions. The Constitution Act, 1982, further affirms their equality of status and equal rights and privileges when used in all institutions of the Government of Canada..
- Quebec's Charte de la langue française (1977) states that the French language is the (only) official language of the Province of Quebec. The French language is used in legislation, justice, administration, paragovernmental organizations, labour, commerce and trade as well as in education.
- The Quebec Charte de la langue française gives each individual the right to work, to be educated, to receive goods and services and to attend a trial in French. The provincial government and its departments communicate in French among each other and with organizations located within the Quebec territory.
3. GUARANTEES OF REPRESENTATION IN THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT OR ON CONSTITUTIONAL COURTS
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- The House of Commons consists of 338 members of whom 78 are elected to represent electoral ridings in Quebec. The Constitution Act, 1867, states that each province shall be divided into a number of constituencies proportional to its population, and that this number can never be inferior to that determined in 1867. There is, therefore, a guarantee that a minimum of 64 members of parliament are elected to represent Quebec ridings.
- As specified in the Constitution Act, 1867, 24 seats in the Senate (out of 105) are reserved for senators representing Quebec.
- The Supreme Court Act also offers a guarantee of representation to the national minority of Quebec: at least three of the nine judges appointed to the Supreme Court must be judges or advocates from the Province of Quebec.
- Section 38 of the Constitution Act, 1982, states that amendments to this same act have to be authorized by the Senate and the House of Commons, and by the legislative assemblies of at least two-thirds of the provinces representing at least 50 percent of the total Canadian population.
- There are no guarantees of representation for Francophones living outside Quebec.
4. PUBLIC FUNDING OF MINORITY-LANGUAGE UNIVERSITIES / SCHOOLS / MEDIA
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- The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982) is the first constitutional document to address linguistic rights in education. It affirms the right of all citizens who have received their primary school education in the official minority language of a province to have their children educated in that language in that province. This right includes, where the number of beneficiaries so warrants, the right to have them educated in publicly funded facilities.
- In 2005, Part VII of the Official Languages Act was amended to require federal institutions to take positive measures to support the development of official language communities.
- Education being a provincial responsibility, each province is in charge of the public funding of universi- ties and schools. The primary source of funding for colleges and universities in Quebec comes from the provincial government (other sources include direct transfers from the federal government).
- With the framework of the Roadmap for Canada's Linguistic Duality 2008-2013 (Canadian Heritage 2008), the Government of Canada reaffirmed its commitment to encourage and assist provincial/territorial governments to consolidate existing programs in minority-language education.
- In 2009, the federal and provincial governments signed a protocol governing official-language education and the delivery of programs in official language minority communities. The Government of Canada committed itself to a total investment of $1.1 billion over five years (Council of Ministers of Education and Canadian Heritage 2009).
- The federal and provincial governments offer support to French language media industries (e.g., through funding programs and tax incentives).
- The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and its French equivalent, Radio-Canada, are Canada's national public broadcasters. They were founded in 1936 and are funded through a combination of public subsidies and private revenues. They include two national television and four radio networks in English and French and extensive online news and information services (Canadian Heritage 2009). However, important cuts in CBC/Radio-Canada's financial resources were made at the end of the 1990s (Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications 2006).
- The Broadcasting Act, 1991, governs the activities of the CBC. Section 3 of the act stipulates that pro- gramming shall be "in English and in French, reflecting the different needs and circumstances of each official language community."
- Noting that the Internet remains a predominately English language space, the Cultural Affairs Sector ensures that at least 50 percent of projects supported through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy aim at creating French language or bilingual content (Canadian Heritage 2009).
- The government of Quebec has owned and funded the French language television channel Tele-Quebec since 1968. Ontario's network TFO "is the only French language Canadian broadcaster whose main operations are outside Quebec" (Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages 2009).
5. CONSTITUTIONAL OR PARLIAMENTARY AFFIRMATION OF "MULTINATIONALISM"
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- McRoberts argues that historically there has been a resistance to multinationalism in the political realm, denouncing that "within federal discourse the only nation is the Canadian nation and that is the na tion of the Canadian nation-state" (2001, 694). When cultural and linguistic duality is recognized, the concepts of "distinct society" and "diversity" are preferred to that of "nation."
- The Constitution Act does not explicitly recognize binationalism or multinationalism. Attempts to formally recognize Quebec as a "distinct society" (in the Meech Lake Accord and the Charlottetown Accord, for example) were strongly opposed by the other provinces (McEwen and Lecours 2008).
- The vocabulary used to refer to Aboriginal peoples has entered mainstream Canadian politics more rapidly, and "First Nations" is a generally accepted term..
- In 2006, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper presented in Parliament a "Quebecois nation motion" asking for the House to "recognize that the Quebecois form a nation within a united Canada" (House of Commons 2006). He specified that this understanding of "nation" was cultural-sociological rather than legal. The House of Commons overwhelmingly passed the motion by a margin of 266 to 16 (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation 2006).
6. ACCORDED INTERNATIONAL PERSONALITY
(E.G., ALLOWING THE SUB-STATE REGION TO SIT ON INTERNATIONAL BODIES, SIGN TREATIES, OR HAVE THEIR OWN OLYMPIC TEAM)
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- Quebec's international role has followed an improvised, de facto development, intensifying in the last fifty years. Federal-provincial tensions have, however, impaired this growing international presence (Bernier 1996).
- Quebec acts on the international scene through establishing representations abroad, signing international agreements, conducting bilateral affairs, and participating in international summits and diplomatic meet- ings (Michaud and Ramet 2004).
- For the government of Quebec, this international role is made possible by the absence of any rule forbid- ding it, either in the Canadian constitution or in international law (Ministere des Relations internationales 2006).
- Quebec is one of the founding members of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie since 1970, the only multilateral government organization of which Quebec is a full-fledged member. The province uses La Francophonie as an international forum to promote its identity, language and culture and strengthen its ability to take action and influence events (Ministere des Relations internationales 2008).
- A Canada-Quebec agreement signed in May 2006 now allows for Quebec to have one permanent representative sitting in all Canadian delegations to the works, meetings and conferences of UNESCO.
- Overall, Quebec has been successful in securing international recognition and stands as a "model" among other minority nations (McRoberts 2001).