Bouchard-Taylor Commission citizen's Forums: Absence of a notable divide between Montréal and the rest of Québec



    MONTREAL, Dec. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - The Consultation Commission on
Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences (CCPARDC) today made
public a statistical analysis of interventions at the 22 citizens' forums held
during its round of public consultations.
    By creating an original formula that emphasized free expression by
participants, the CCPARDC conducted what has proved to be a profoundly
democratic exercise, all things considered. An analysis of interventions
during the 22 forums reveals that a strong majority (85%) were moderate or
pluralistic in nature. Potentially offensive remarks that reflected ignorance,
stereotypes or prejudices accounted for 12% of interventions, while openly
racist or xenophobic remarks were rare in all regions of Québec (1.8%).(1)
    No notable discrepancy was noted between the Montréal area and the rest
of Québec. Such being the case, the proportion of positive interventions is
higher in the five peripheral regions that the Commission visited (Abitibi,
Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Côte-Nord, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie) than in the
Montréal area (Montréal Island, Longueuil and Laval), i.e. 90% and 84%,
respectively. The forum held on October 30 in Québec City stands out in that
no negative interventions were noted.
    The citizens' forums posed a daunting challenge whose risks were readily
apparent. They also gave rise to certain outbursts, which was undoubtedly to
be expected. The co-chairs are keenly sensitive to the reactions of
individuals who were offended by certain intolerant remarks made during the
forums. Considerable moderation and sincerity were the hallmarks of this
unique, unprecedented experience.
    "Among the opinions expressed, we note, above all, massive support for
immigrants and the very widespread desire to establish between all Quebecers a
sound relationship based on understanding and collaboration," noted Commission
Co-Chair Charles Taylor. "Thank you, once again, to everyone who participated
in this enlightening experience in Québec-style democracy."
    The co-chairs wish to express their deep gratitude to all Quebecers who
submitted to them their reflections through briefs, testimony at public
hearings or participation in the 22 regional citizens' forums, the three
province-wide forums, or through the Commission's Website.
    "The tour of the regions produced a wealth of information and aroused the
gamut of emotions," added Co-Chair Gérard Bouchard. "It revealed a wide range
of viewpoints and convictions, concerns and aspirations. It also enabled
numerous individuals to speak and to take part in what can be deemed a key
democratic debate, of which each participant can be proud."

    Statistics on the consultations

    The period for submitting briefs has ended and other statistical
compilations are under way. Complete data on the briefs submitted or
presented, the testimony heard and visits to the Commission Website will be
announced in early 2008. The province-wide forum to be held in Montréal next
February, organized in collaboration with the Institut du Nouveau Monde (INM),
will be the Commission's final public consultation. It is still possible to
register for the forum by visiting the INM Website (www.inm.qc.ca).

    The Commission

    The CCAPRDC, co-chaired by sociologist and historian Gérard Bouchard and
philosopher Charles Taylor, has been asked to take stock of accommodation
practices and analyse all facets of the question by conducting a province-wide
consultation. The Commission will submit a report and make recommendations to
the Québec Premier on March 31, 2008 (www.accommodements.qc.ca).

    --------
    Study methodology

    The statistical study of data was conducted by a team of three academics
mandated by the Commission, under the responsibility of Professor Rachad
Antonius, a sociologist at the Université du Québec à Montréal. The
methodological details of the analysis and the attendant tables are presented
in full in the report. The summaries were intended primarily to offer an
overview of the nature of the interveners' comments from the standpoint of
openness to the other. The interventions were divided into the following
categories:

    
    I.   openly xenophobic, racist, unacceptable remarks;
    II.  tactless, rash, hurtful, ignorant, stereotypical or prejudiced
         remarks;
    III. balanced, subtle, thoughtful, critical, analytical remarks that
         focused on rules and principles;
    IV.  pluralistic remarks in defence of immigrants and the cultural
         communities, and praise for civic virtues such as receptiveness,
         understanding, and so on;
    V.   varied, respectful reflections that had no direct bearing on the
         general theme of the management of differences. These comments have
         been included in the "Other" category.
    --------

    (1) These percentages are drawn from the report entitled Analyse
        préliminaire des interventions faites lors des forums de la CCPARDC.
        The analytical report prepared by three experts at the Commission's
        request is available on the Commission's Website (Internet
        www.accommodements.qc.ca.).
    
    -%SU: SOC
    -%RE: 40




For further information:

For further information: Sylvain Leclerc, Press Officer, (514) 873-0912

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COMMISSION DE CONSULTATION SUR LES PRATIQUES D'ACCOMMODEMENT RELIEES AUX DIFFERENCES CULTURELLES

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