Multidisciplinary Reflections on Plurality from Quebec
Edited By Stéphan Gervais, Raffaele Iacovino and Mary-Anne Poutanen
Contributed by leading scholars of Quebec Studies, both emerging and established, the 30 essays of this comprehensive collection offer a multidisciplinary survey of the study of diversity in Quebec over space and time. The volume is organized around a variety of themes through which Quebec’s plural reality is expressed, including conceptual, historical and contemporary approaches, covering a wide range of social and economic cleavages, identity markers, political contestation and, broadly, the lived experiences of Quebecers negotiating difference over time. In an environment increasingly demarcated by conflicts around values and cultural and social practices, this collection hopes to contribute to broadening the spectrum of voices to the current debate, adding an inclusive reflection to a conversation that has only intensified over the last decade. Quebec as a pluri-national and multi-ethnic society has been and remains a great laboratory to study and to test public policies on ethnic diversity. It allows us to identify the tensions and to evaluate the balance between the majority and the minority; and between settler society and indigenous nations, in conceptualizing and finding a normative consensus around the configuration of collective rights. In short, the contributions in this volume seek to illustrate how pluralism has and continues to constitute the lifeblood of belonging in Quebec.
“Foreigners” on the Quebec Farm. An Employment Relationship with Family on Both Sides (Jill Hanley / Martha Stiegman / Kezia Speirs / Valérie Lavigne)
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“Foreigners” on the Quebec Farm
An Employment Relationship with Family on Both Sides
Jill HANLEY, Martha STIEGMAN, Kezia SPEIRS, and Valérie LAVIGNE1
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) facilitates the yearly arrival of more than 10 000 mostly Mexican and Guatemalan workers who come to work on Quebec farms. Family relationships are central to the issue of labour migration, as migrants seek work abroad primarily in order to provide for their families at home, an obligation that acts as a strong motivator for migrants to keep their jobs at any cost. The notion of family also operates at the employers’ level, as employers are still considered “family farms”, a concept that continues to be used to justify excluding farmworkers from the right to unionize. Temporary migrant work for one family member also creates fundamental changes in the lives of the family left behind. The TFWP provides Canadian agribusinesses with a steady stream of cheap, compliant labour. This setup benefits Quebec family farmers and consumers, but consistently ignores the rights of workers, as well as the ancillary effects of labour migration on the family members left behind. A full understanding of labour migration to Quebec must take into account workers’ needs and rights, as well as the family relationships that suffer for the sake of producing low-cost food. This chapter will flush out these issues within an analysis of neoliberal transformation in agriculture and immigration policy, drawing on empirical research...
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