Equity, Diversity and Inclusion | Another approach is preferable in Quebec

In recent years, more and more Quebec organizations have had the misguided idea of ​​implementing the EDI approach (equity, diversity, inclusion) as part of their sustainable development approach, even if it is an American cultural import that has not been adjusted to the distinct context of Quebec.

Among the resulting excesses, we all still have in mind those employees and collaborators of the Francos de Montréal who last summer denounced serious violations of their right to work in French in Quebec. Their employer then defended itself by invoking “diversity and inclusion”, although French is the only official language of Quebec as well as the normal and usual language of work.

As I explained in my last text⁠1, the application of the EDI approach in Quebec poses innumerable problems, because it generates a strong negation of our Quebec model of universalist living together. To avoid these abuses, which are destined to multiply, it is becoming necessary to define a new approach with a resolutely Quebec social impact that could be integrated into the sustainable development approaches of our organizations, while remaining in line with our values, our history and our culture.

This new approach should bring together key principles that bring us together, not divide us, and it should promote the expression of diversity in all its forms within the Quebec nation, and not on its periphery.

These key principles could include equality, French as a common language, as well as benevolent integration into Quebec culture.

Equality could be the first of these principles. Equality means treating everyone equally without distinction, exclusion or preference based on “race”, sex, religion, etc. Equality is the natural counterpart of a universalist society like ours, that is to say a society which unites all the members of its nation around common political values ​​in order to treat them only as citizens, and not as members. of communities of particular affiliations. For this, organizations should guarantee organizational interactions dissociated from any particular identity belonging.

Integration Vectors

French as a common language could be the second of these principles. French as a common language consists in particular in recognizing French as the only official language of Quebec as well as the normal and usual language of work. To do this, organizations should not only respect Law 101, but also contribute to the protection and promotion of the French language. For example, it would be possible for them to offer francization courses for their employees who do not have an adequate command of our common language, which would be particularly relevant for companies trying to justify the absence of services in French by the shortage of -work; our companies can be powerful vectors of integration into our common language. Thus, the campaigns of fear or indifference around French must cease, since the French language is not an obstacle to the development of our businesses, but rather an important source of creativity and economic opportunities, as well as a contribution essential to international cultural diversity.

Benevolent integration into Quebec culture could be the third of these principles.

Benevolent integration into Québec culture consists of promoting our common culture and encouraging the convergence of the cultural traditions of new Québecers around it.

To do this, organizations should promote Quebec culture as a watermark of their day-to-day activities, for example by offering Quebec cultural products among incentives, bonuses or social activities. These actions would not only have the advantage of supporting Quebec’s cultural industry, but they would also allow Quebecers of immigrant origin to appropriate Quebec culture and its references, in the same way as Quebecers not from immigration. Indeed, I find it hard to see how we can encourage the perpetual exclusion of immigrants from our common culture, as advocated by Canadian multiculturalism.

In short, Quebec society is one of the most welcoming in the world, and to maintain real social cohesion in a world that is changing so rapidly, our private companies and our public institutions have a role to play. However, relying on unsuitable solutions from the United States or the rest of Canada, such as the EDI approach, turns out to be counterproductive and sometimes harmful, since they lead to an atmosphere of cognitive dissonance, where reality presented in training and the concrete reality oppose each other, where adherence to certain visions of the world becomes obligatory, where many say what is necessary to maintain an aura of artificial respectability without ever really believing in it, where hypocrisy abounds.

This is why our organizations must abandon the EDI approach in favor of a resolutely Quebec approach, which brings together key principles that bring us together, and which allows the expression of diversity in all its forms within the Quebec nation. Social cohesion is too precious not to make it a priority.

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