When it comes to diversity, Quebec is at no shortage. Our province is filled with people from all over the country and all over the world, with a range of linguistic and cultural backgrounds that we can all be proud of. In hopes of celebrating such unity, a Quebec English-speaking community flag is in the process of being created by Youth4Youth Québec (Y4Y).
Y4Y is a provincial not-for-profit youth network for Anglophone youth in Quebec. The organization is open to Francophones, as well.
The group defines youth as anyone between the ages of 16-30.
The current Flag Project aims to create a flag for Anglophone Quebec, inspired by flags for French communities in other provinces across Canada.
The project is using a lot of community involvement, including community submissions, a symbolism committee, and consultations from French organizations throughout the province.
According to the release, "In the future, the flag can be used by all community organizations to identify gatherings, events, activities and projects that focus on the English-speaking community."
We got a chance to chat with Alex Pettem, Project Manager at Y4Y, about the project and how it's unfolding.
What is the flag project? Why is it important?
We noticed that every other linguistic minority in other provinces and territories had a flag — typically French-speaking with a different context, obviously. We thought it would be interesting if our particular linguistic minority had its own.
This project has really become about unity, but also celebrating the communities within communities with lots of histories and lots of cultures.
In a time where a sense of belonging and community is more important than ever, do you think the flag will cause greater unity or greater divide?
Throughout the entire process, we've sent over drafts to French-speaking organizations that we've worked with before to get their input. We don't want to work in a silo.
It's never been about angering anyone, that's never been the goal and we don't want to pretend we're the experts. We're all just figuring this out.
What have been the biggest struggles with the project? The greatest triumphs?
We started in a pre-pandemic context, so obviously it's had to be modified. What we thought would be very hands-on became completely digital in the pandemic. Scaling down and reframing was definitely a challenge.
In terms of triumphs, despite everything, it came together. I'm really proud of what we have, not just at a vexillological level (the study of flags), but aesthetically, politically, and culturally.
Currently, three flags have been chosen that people can vote online until October. Don't forget to cast your vote!