- The CAQ government in Quebec has recently changed the name of the Ministry of Immigration.
- The old name mentioned "Inclusion and Diversity" - the new name has swapped those words for "Francisation and Integration."
- We asked them why... and their answer might disappoint you.
You might've missed it, but last month, the CAQ government quietly changed the name of the Ministry to the Ministry of Immigration, Francisation, and Integration. The change happened without any formal announcement and most, if not all of the media in Quebec didn't report on the name change.
Over 50 years ago, the Quebec government under premier Jean-Jacques Bertrand created the Ministry of Immigration, Diversity, and Inclusion. The goals of the Ministry were to attract immigrants from the French-speaking world to the province and preserve French language dominance in Quebec in the face of declining birth rates.
It's no secret that in the wake of Bill 9 and Bill 21, Quebec has been increasingly divided on the immigration issue. Not only that but the CAQ fanned the flames of the language debate this week by announcing the desire to put a law in place against "Bonjour-Hi" - a motion they quickly abandoned.
When the Ministry was first created in 1968, Quebec ministers were worried about the French language losing prominence and were concerned about a new wave of non-French immigrants coming into the province, threatening their cultural dominance.
We asked the CAQ why they changed the name of the Ministry and the answer was... short, to say the least.
To be honest, I didn't expect an answer.
My first question (seen below) was answered but the other one was completely ignored. I didn't receive any communication other than this email.
The CAQ's answer, though short and sweet, was telling.
It seems to me that they wanted to keep this as under wraps as possible. Now, it's perfectly in their right to not follow up with MTL Blog. Nor do they have to explain themselves.
But why not?
Bill 9 was put into place shortly after the CAQ was elected and many decried the proposal of a "values test".
Details on this test are vague but the Bill stipulates that "immigrants must commit to successfully carrying out the necessary steps for settling and integrating into Québec, including learning French as well as democratic values and Québec’s values, as set out in the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms."
With language being incredibly important in this province, it's necessary to highlight the subliminal message behind the removal of "Diversity" and "Inclusion" from the name of the Ministry.
"Diversity" presupposes a fundamental notion of human rights. According to Richard Zapata-Barrero from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, the idea of diversity "derives from the perennial concern of ensuring the principle of equality in a society that tends to have a growing population with a differentiated set of rights and/or cultural identities and/or markers of difference in relation to the national majority."
If we take this as our definition of diversity, it's no wonder the CAQ changed the name of Ministry as both Bill 9 and Bill 21 are fundamentally opposed to the notion.
To make matters more confusing, Google has yet to change the name of the Ministry on its search page. This might cause some problems for those who need the Ministry's services.
We'll see if the CAQ will quietly be changing the name of other government institutions in the future.