Canada has long been a proponent of multiculturalism, a concept that acknowledges there is no one ‘dominant’ culture. However, multiculturalism has been received with suspicion and hostility, because the French Québecois culture is perceived to be under the threat of Anglophone dominance.
As a result, interculturalism has entered Québec consciousness as an alternate model for accommodating diversity. Interculturalism differs fundamentally from multiculturalism in a way that it acknowledges there is one majority culture – in Québec’s case, francophone culture – while striving to integrate other cultures in public consciousness and respect individual cultural identity. Interculturalism also requires a certain degree of commonality among all cultures, most importantly a universal code of human rights and obligations. This is a major departure from multiculturalism’s accommodation of different values and rights.
Today, Schema Magazine’s founder Alden E. Habacon will be speaking about the differing models of accommodation at a UBC alumni event in Montreal, in a featured discussion called “Intercultural Understanding: Is Montreal Canada’s Cultural Innovator?” Habacon will be in conversation with UBC President Stephen Toope on Montreal and Québec’s unique linguistic and ethnic landscape, the difference between interculturalism and multiculturalism and how those concepts contribute to Montreal’s identity, as well as a genealogy and evolution of both concepts.
The event will take place at Point-à-Calliére Museum (350 Place Royale, corner of de la Commune) from 6-9pm.