On April 14, 2003, the Quebec Liberal Party came to power and set out to reengineer and modernize the Quebec state. Under the guise of decentralization and democratization, it launched a series of reforms that transformed the relationship between citizens and the state (Saint-Martin, 2004; Boismenu, Dufour, & Saint-Martin, 2005; Rouillard et al., 2004 ). The direction of state policy proposed, however, was quickly greeted with strong scepticism and opposition. Voter dissatisfaction was such that merely nine months after winning the election, the Liberal party found itself at an all-time low in the polls.1 This wave of contestation is more than a simple reaction to a series of unpopular policies. Rather, it needs to be read as resistance to a more profound transformation that is underway in Quebec. The neo-liberal discourse and practices of governance that have been proposed by the Liberal government clash with the inherited institutional frameworks that have characterized Quebec politics for the past forty years. Although the shift toward neo-liberalism began well before the Quebec Liberals came to power, the newly elected government has been instrumental in pushing neo-liberal reforms. As a result, there has been a sharp and definite break in the style of policy-making over the past three years that challenges the very core of the Quebec model of interest representation and the favoured position of community organizations in the process of policy-making.
This article provides an overview of the significant policy changes that have affected the role and position of the community sector in Quebec since the election of the Quebec Liberal Party. The first part examines the history of the relationship between the Quebec state and the community movement and outlines the main characteristics of this relationship. The second part teases out the contradictory ways in which the institutional structures have been re-arranged and exposes how power relations between the state and civil society are being restructured. It argues that there has been an observable shift over the past three years that has resulted in the community sector being sidelined in policy circles. The article concludes with a reflection on the options available to the community movement in the face of changing political opportunities.
The Community Movement and the Consolidation of the Quebec Model of Representation
The voluntary and community sector in Quebec has always had unique and distinct features. First, it is characterized by strong militancy committed to social action and to reforming social relations. Involvement in voluntary and community organizations, either through volunteering or paid employment, is a means to fight against social injustice and affect change in the society we live in. Local activism is understood to be a potentially transforming force in social and economic realms. Second, the philanthropic tradition in Quebec is weak, as is reliance of organizations on philanthropic funding, although the latter has been growing (White, 2001; Caldwell & Reed, 1999).2
Dating back to the Quiet Revolution, the community movement has been instrumental in putting forward a vision of society that recognizes community participation as a fundamental exercise in citizenship and democracy, and as a means for empowering citizens. This aspiration to better society was in harmony with the collectivist and statist tradition that developed in the 1960s, and the Quebec state has embraced the community movement as an important ally in building collective solidarity, promoting a sense of shared solidarity and playing a unifying role in the political realm by representing important symbols of the Québécois collectivity.
Throughout the 1990s, the Quebec state began to facilitate the collaboration of business and labour in economic development. At key moments, it established provincial tri-partite forums, called socio-economic summits, to discuss planning the future of social and economic development in Quebec. These corporatist structures gave unions, the women’s movement, and community groups access to the state and created strategic opportunities for them to influence policy development. Over time, community organizations came to share influence with business and labour representatives, and, in 1996, they were officially invited to participate alongside these traditional social partners. This formally legitimized the place of the community movement in the planning process, and, gradually, its role expanded as organizations started to play a more crucial role in economic affairs.
This corporatist style of policy-making, which became a distinguishing feature of Quebec politics, was also replicated at other levels of government. A number of seats were specifically earmarked for community representatives on a variety of local and regional institutional bodies such as the Régies régionales de la santé et des services sociaux, the Conseils régionaux de développement (CRD), the Conseils locaux de développement (CLD), Corporations de développement économique et communautaire (CDEC), Corporations de développement communautaire (CDC), and the Sociétés d’aide au développement des collectivités (SADC). Commitment to democratic participation and strong community involvement on these government bodies was aimed at allowing communities to take charge of their economic and social development.
This particular structure of exchange between the state and the community movement has facilitated and encouraged the development of community networks throughout Quebec. The high level of collaboration and cooperation within the movement has in fact helped to build networks into multiple intersecting and overlapping informal intersectoral bodies (Laforest, 2006). As a result, another main feature of the community movement in Quebec is its ability to coordinate, to give meaning to, and to synchronize social action across a variety of institutional settings. Provincial organizations, in particular labour unions and women’s groups, have been important in orchestrating this interaction by backing local and regional initiatives, and providing infrastructure support and financial, material, and human resources to support collective efforts. They play a central role in creating a broad base of support across silos of activities by framing and articulating claims around a sweeping projet de société that resonates with the shared values of democratic action and solidarity that are held by the majority of groups. In such a way, they are able to link local, regional, and provincial struggles.
This does not mean that the community movement is of one mind. Quite the contrary. Tensions and divisions exist (White, 2001). The strength of the community movement in the political arena, however, very much depends on its ability to present a united front and, when necessary, to provide the resources to support political protest (Boucher, 2003). These mechanisms also ensure greater stability in the power balance between the state and civil society; provincial umbrella organizations are able to ease the strain during times of opposition and conflict by filling gaps in the lack of resources and reinforcing the work of their local and regional allies, thereby ensuring that a certain level of engagement and presence is maintained.
By mobilizing people, community organizations are able to leverage their position and gain policy influence. Their active participation in policy has shaped the political culture in Quebec in significant ways by infusing it with values of social solidarity, social justice, and equity. More importantly, community organizations have left their imprint on the institutional features of the welfare state in a unique and meaningful way. They have also driven new political agendas and transformed the face of Quebec politics. The social economy is a case in point. During the socio-economic summit of 1996, the community movement put forward an alternative vision to social and economic development, which it called the social economy. Ten years later, over 30,000 new jobs and new services in areas such as home care, recycling, social housing, and tourism have been created, and the Chantier sur l’économie sociale continues to be an arena for innovation, bringing together a variety of actors from the community movement (see the Web site, <http://chantier.gc.ca>). Similarly, the community movement has been at the forefront in building two unique features of the institutional landscape in Quebec: the childcare system in Quebec and the local community services centres (CLSC) in the healthcare system.
Over the past decade, community organizations have gained significant visibility and have increased their political standing. They have positioned themselves as a vital pillar of the Quebec model of social and economic development, characterized by the collaboration of major social forces (Bernier et al., 2003; Levesque, 2001). Despite the inroads that the community movement has made on the political scene, the relationship between the community movement and the Quebec state is complex because of its dual character. This relationship has even been dubbed one of ‘collaborative conflict’ to reflect the fact that community organizations are simultaneously partners and critics of government (White, 2001). Yet, the Quebec state has its own political agenda and has sought, at various moments, to use community organizations for its own intents and purposes. Hence, organizations have felt the pressures of cooptation. Autonomy from the state has proved to be critical, and the struggle to assert this autonomy has been a central claim of the sector.
In the 1990s, the community movement began using the expression autonomous community action when making demands for recognition. After a decade of lobbying by community organizations, the Quebec government, under the Parti Québécois, formally acknowledged the importance of the community movement in policy-making with the creation of the Secretariat d’action communautaire autonome (SACA) in 1995. The role of SACA is to help community organizations access governmental resources and to advise the government about its relationship to the sector. SACA administers the Autonomous Community Action Fund (Fond d’aide à l’action communautaire autonome) through three programs: support for advocacy and the defence of collective rights, support for organizations that help the most vulnerable members of society, and support for special community development projects.3
The creation of SACA was momentous because it meant that the community movement’s interests were being taken on by the state. Through this policy agency, institutional actors inside the state began to reflect on the needs of community organizations. As a result, an on-going dialogue on the content, design, and implementation of a policy to support the sector was initiated between the autonomous community movement and the state. This led to the adoption of an official policy of recognition and support of community action in 2003 (L’Action communautaire: une contribution à l’exercice de la citoyenneté et au développement social du Québec). Under this policy, government undertook to formally recognize the contribution of community action, to provide funding to support the original mission of organizations, and to recognize the legitimacy of the movement’s diverse roles, including public policy advocacy and representation. The policy also aimed to institutionalize interaction between the state and the community movement by lining up departments with organizations in particular policy areas or domains. It was hoped this would lead to more consistent practices and better management of relations. Nevertheless, the essence of the policy lies in the symbolic acknowledgement of the autonomy of the sector and the vitality of democratic activism for Quebec society. Yet, just as the community movement was receiving much-awaited recognition, a disquieting undercurrent was beginning to emerge that undermined its position in the political arena.
The Political Tipping Point
The election of the Quebec Liberal party in 2003 served as a political tipping point for the community movement. Shortly after taking office, the Quebec Liberals set in motion a modernization agenda. In order to implement its policy agenda, the Liberal government needed to take hold of the political process, which it set out to do with strong opposition from social forces. At the time, the community movement was very active and engaged in political arrangements at many levels. It also had a strong collective capacity, given the structure of representation and networks it had developed. The Liberals quickly understood that if they were to fulfil their political ambitions, they had to weaken the position of community organizations in the political arena.
Reconfiguring Institutional Arrangements and the Parameters for Engagement
Shortly after coming to power, the Quebec Liberals quickly established new governance mechanisms to respond to the needs of communities and restructured the system of shared responsibilities between the state and community organizations. With Bill 25, An Act Respecting Local Health and Social Services Networks, and Bill 34, An Act Respecting the Ministère du Développement économique et regional, adopted in December 2003, the Liberal government gradually set in motion a takeover of institutional arenas, shifting the power from community groups to elected officials.
Bill 25 created new governing bodies named Agences de la santé et des services sociaux to replace the structure of the Régies régionales de la santé et des services sociaux. With the adoption of this Bill, the CLSCs (Local Community Health Centres) and a number of hospitals were merged under the administration of these new governing bodies. As was the case with the Régies régionales, these new bodies have the mandate to organize and coordinate health services in a particular region. But their composition and the process of selection are very different from the old Régies. The representation of the various interests shifted on these new bodies as the number of seats reserved for community representatives declined and more board members are drawn from health institutions and local governments. In addition, board members are no longer elected by citizens; rath—er, the Minister of Health and Social Services reserves the right to name members on the basis of recommendations from local officials. There are two important consequences of Bill 25 for the community movement. First, by eliminating the CLSC structure, the Centre de soins de longue durée (CSLD), and closing a number of hospitals, it has effectively curtailed the number of administrative opportunities for community representation, thereby limiting the ability of community organizations to influence policy. Second, because the CLSCs embraced local activism, community participation, and empowerment as essential values for social development, their elimination foreshadows the loss of an important point of support for community organizations and local community initiatives.
Bill 34, also adopted in December 2003, similarly replaces the Centres Locaux de développement (CLD) and the Conseils régionaux de développement (CRD) with new governing bodies, the Conseils Régionaux des Élus (CRE). The seemingly new mandate of the CRE fundamentally encapsulates that of the earlier institutional arrangements; yet, its creation presents an opportunity to dislodge community organizations, which traditionally had a strong presence in local economic development. Before, the CLDs and the CRDs were structured to reflect the diversity of identities and interests within the community. A large number of the seats were reserved for representatives of civil society to ensure, for example, that gender issues were reflected, that visible minorities were included, and so forth (Lévesque, Mendell, M’Zali, Martel, & Desrochers, 2003; Masson, 2005). In fact, frequently more than half of the representatives were from community organizations. The newly created CRE embodies a new model of interest representation. What is telling about this institutional reconfiguration is that the authority for decision-making has shifted and is now vested in the hands of elected officials, who hold the bulk of the seats. In the shuffle, community organizations also lost out in favour of business interests. Although economic development continues to be seen as amenable to locally designed solutions, a sense of community is now reflected in purely territorial terms, through the elected officials who are the avowed bearers of the interests of the collective. Bill 34 represents an effort to re-legitimize traditional models of representation grounded in the electoral process. It has placed the balance of power squarely in the hands of local elected officials. Similarly, the composition of the boards of directors of the Centres locaux de développement (CLD) have been reconfigured so that local elected officials now hold the clear majority of seats and the decision making authority.4
Another important effect has been the decentralization of authority to local governments. This shift is central to the process of modernization of the state and is intended to bring citizens closer to the state. Community organizations no longer have seats garanteed ex-officio on these bodies. The CREs are under the sole control of local elected officials; they may seek input from community organizations if they so desire. To be included, organizations now have to request the right to be heard. Regional profiles are currently being developed as a tool to enable local elected officials to assess the needs of the community and make decisions as to who should be represented on the CREs. These regional profiles, drafted by the SACA, provide an overview of the different characteristics of the community and a blueprint of the organizations in each region. Drawing again on these regional profiles, the Quebec Liberal government also plans to regionalize the distribution of resources to community organizations, devolving even more power to local governments. It anticipates that the CREs will eventually play a role in the process of determining how resources should best be allocated to reflect the needs of communities. This decentralization may potentially have enormous implications for representation within communities. Clearly, it creates opportunities for shifting power relations. It may very well concentrate power in the hands of a few, creating important distortions across regions in the standing of claims regarding what ought or ought not to be a priority. By centralizing the power in the hands of local elected officials, CREs run the risk of evolving into complex, politicized bodies.
To compensate for the weakening of community representation on the administrative board of the CREs, the Liberal government set up consultations through the Forums de la population. The Forums are composed of 15–20 designated representatives from local communities and have been created to provide feedback from the community to the CRE. Their mandate is to consult and engage citizens on issues pertaining to the organization of health and social services in their communities. Although this may give the illusion that the process is more democratic, it is important to note two important transformations. First, community input is no longer sought on an on-going basis but rather in an ad hoc manner, around specific issues. Second, the Forums are designed to engage citizens directly rather than through organizations. In the process, however, a vital source of local knowledge has been lost because the opportunities for community organizations to participate in local and regional development has been curtailed.
Taken together, Bill 25 and Bill 34 have reconfigured the political arena in important ways. They have not only diminished the arena in which community organizations can act, but have also limited the range of actors who actively participate in local development.
Rolling Back the Quebec Model of Interest Mediation
Part of the Liberal strategy also entails decollectivizing labour and social relations. The Premier of Quebec, Jean Charest, directly attacked the Quebec model of development and its collectivist foundations. The Liberal government quickly proceeded to adopt Bill 31, An Act to Amend the Labour Code, in December 2003, opening the door to greater privatization and allowing employers to contract out work without the subcontractor being bound by the collective agreement of the contractor. Privatization had already begun in the mid-1990s under the Parti Québécois, which introduced some of the most significant cuts in social spending in Quebec history, reducing the level of public services, closing hospitals, and cutting jobs in the public sector in the name of its ‘zero-deficit’ campaign (Dufour et al., 2004). However, the Parti Québécois had tried to legitimize its course of action by building social consensus around its objective during the socio-economic summits of 1996. It is not paradoxical that community organizations were invited to participate in these summits because they needed to be part of the social compromise. Yet, the adoption of Bill 31 is indicative of the erosion of this post-war compromise. In the current context of the Liberal move to restructure government, the search for consensus has been abandoned, and this shift has been taken a step further by reducing the level of unionization and weakening the power of labour unions, particularly in the health care sector.
Along with destabilizing the power of the unions, the government has had an effect on the capacity of the community movement to resist the transformations underway and to mount opposition by putting strain on the movement’s support system.
What is also telling, beyond the content of the reforms that have been adopted, is the way in which the reforms were adopted. The Liberal government’s general lack of interest in negotiation and arbitration has meant that the majority of policies have been expedited through special decrees, all in the name of the ‘public interest’. The Liberal approach to policy-making has left very little room for its social partners to manoeuvre and negotiate. What is more, the swift move to enact these laws without prior consultation or debate is itself indicative of a profound shift in the mediation of interests. It represents a clear attempt by the Liberal government to bypass national debate and avoid confrontation. In fact, it has abandoned large-scale social and economic planning exercises. As a result, the former hegemony of the provincial level of government as the democratic arena where societal choices are forged and where the broad lines of political, social, and economic development are debated, has been weakened.
Under the discourse of restructuring, we can observe a general detachment from the social democratic ideal that characterized the Quebec model of policy-making. Not only has access to a variety of policy forums and institutional arrangements been closed to community organizations, but their democratic basis, legitimacy, and credibility are also being openly questioned. On numerous occasions, the Quebec Premier has come out publicly and vehemently against organizational representation. He denounced the ‘violence’ and ‘brutality’ of the intimidation tactics of trade unions after acts of vandalism were committed during a series of protests. Moreover, shortly after being elected, Premier Charest published an open letter to the people of Quebec in which he characterized unions and community organizations as being solely motivated by their ‘corporate bias or exclusive self-interest’ and ‘benefiting from the status quo’.5 Interest groups were depicted as ‘special’ interest groups, defenders of the status quo, factious and divisive, solely motivated by their own particularistic interests before the ‘historic interests of all Quebecers’.6 Organized interests with excessive power were also singled out as impediments to social and economic development in Quebec.
Significantly, this rhetoric no longer appeared as the agenda of the Quebec Liberal Party; rather, it was increasingly being picked up in business circles and by mainstream media. In October 2005, twelve prominent Quebec figures of all political stripes signed a manifesto entitled For a Clear-Eyed Vision of Quebec (Pour un Québec Lucide), which called for smaller government, a balanced budget, and more privatization. Their public outcry blamed economic and political paralysis on the Quebec social democratic model. A number of editorials and open letters in newspapers followed, decrying the paralysis of the policy system and the inherent rigidity of the existing socio-democratic model. Community organizations, labeled ‘professional protesters’, have been repeatedly portrayed in the media as the major cause of slow economic development.
The Quebec Liberal government has also questioned corporatist structures that favour a few large national organizations. Since coming to power, the Premier has met only a couple of times with the heads of the Quebec Federation of Labour and the Confederation of National Trade Unions. He has refused to engage with and meet representatives of the women’s movement. In an effort to finally obtain a meeting with the Prime Minister, women’s groups appealed to the general public through the media.7
The Liberal government has also announced plans to re-examine its funding relationship with the community sector and has made clear its intention to drastically revise the policy of recognition and support of the autonomous community action that outlines the funding practices of government.8 As early as June 2003, the auditor general reported that $1.9 million was spent funding community groups but that there were few accountability mechanisms and the Quebec government had little knowledge of how the money was being spent.9 On that basis, she called for a re-examination of funding practices and accountability mechanisms. The government’s plans emphasized the need to rationalize funding to avoid duplication, and, if enacted, would have a significant impact on the resources and capacity of the community movement.
Perhaps more importantly, however, the funding of representational activities has been called into question. Under the proposed modernization agenda, priority is given to committing funds to increase direct services to the population. Investment in representational structures that do not directly serve the citizen, such as coalitions, networking, or cross-sectoral activities, are deemed less worthy of funding. This marks a significant paradigm shift. Previously, the role of the community movement as organizer of the interests of collectivities was recognized and seen as legitimate. Given the core importance of networking and collaboration to the development of the movement, it follows that without funding to support representational activities, the structure of representation will be significantly altered.
Moreover, by bypassing the provincial level in favour of regionalized forms of governance, the Quebec Liberal government may lose its capacity to enforce comprehensive policy frameworks. One can question whether the Liberal government will be able to implement the policy of recognition and support of community action and the codes of reference effectively, or even the relevance of the policy and the codes in a context where the engagement of community organizations in policy occurs at the local level, involves mainly local governments, and, therefore, is out of the grasp of the provincial government.
From Collective Action to Direct Citizen Action
The tide has begun to turn against organized collective action, which is increasingly being portrayed as a complicit element in the paralysis of the Quebec political system and as a hindrance to economic development. The Liberal government is a proponent of a free market of ideas and interests. Primacy is given to the idea that democracy is best achieved when citizens express their preferences in the political marketplace of ideas, exchange ideas, and compete freely to influence the state with no distortions that interfere with the balance of representation.
The move toward direct citizen engagement, however, carries the implicit assumption that, if the issue is important enough, all citizens will have the same opportunities to participate and make their voices heard in the political arena. The resulting process of aggregating interests is a reflection of the weight of various claims and issues; the process of representation need not be tampered with. Second, and perhaps more importantly, this rhetoric conveys the idea that representation involves listening to the mainstream—tapping into the views of the ‘ordinary citizen’ rather than those of the noisy minority and marginalized groups. This discourse pits the interests of the public against those of organized special interests. It challenges the very boundaries between direct and representative democracy. Central to this process has been a questioning of the role and place of civil society in policy-making, accompanied by a redefinition of the parameters of political participation. The new forms of engagement that are being encouraged are grounded in individualized notions of citizenship, as opposed to collective, solidaristic, and democratic principles.
These changes have manifested themselves in a general shift away from consensus-driven social initiatives toward participatory initiatives that target the ordinary citizen. In a bid to sell its re-engineering project and to democratize debates, the Liberal government launched the Forum des générations, a series of regional forums in February 2004, leading up to a national forum. These forums were grounded in the fashionable idea of citizen engagement and were conceived to allow individual citizens, not organizations, to present their views on the proposed re-engineering plans. In the end, however, they were not successful in creating arenas in which public interaction and dialogue were encouraged. Rather, they turned out to be platforms from which the Liberal government disseminated information to build public support for its reform project. Nonetheless, what is significant in these consultative efforts is that by targeting the engagement of ordinary citizens, the Liberal government in effect sought to relativize the place of organized social forces in national policy debates and redesigned the democratic process in the name of greater accountability and representation. In a speech before the Forum des générations, Premier Charest declared, « Nous reconnaissons la responsabilité des élus dans les régions parce qu’une vraie décentralisation fait appel à de l’imputabilité. C’est un principe très important. En administration publique, si vous avez le mandat de gérer des programmes, de les livrer, vous devez en être imputables, d’où ce choix que nous avons fait d’aller vers les élus. »10 The insistence of the Premier that only those who are elected can be truly accountable and responsible for policy decisions sums up in a nutshell his antipathy to the traditional Quebec model of development under which civil society actors are allies.
This marks a significant paradigm shift. Previously, the role of the community movement as organizer of the collective interest was recognized and seen as legitimate. The community movement represented a key arena in which the expression of citizenship was articulated. Now what is so far-reaching in the policies and discourses of the Charest government is the sidelining and marginalization of intermediary organizations, which could fundamentally transform the internal political dynamics between the state and civil society and the very distinct character of Quebec politics. The new patterns of governance that the government is proposing are not compatible with the earlier forms of engagement overseen by the state and characterized by a partnership between the state and civil society in which non-state actors were viewed as a vital part of the collective project. They also represent a significant setback for the community movement, which only three years ago saw its role recognized as a valuable partner in the process of social and economic development through the adoption of the policy of recognition and support.
Resistance or Resignation?
Whether the Charest government will succeed in redesigning the relations between citizens and the state, thereby leaving a lasting imprint on the patterns of representation in Quebec, is not clear, but we need to start thinking about the impact that this may have on community organizations. Already the Quebec democratic model has been weakened as provincial arenas of democracy have been dislodged and relativized. The exclusion of community actors from a wide range of institutional arrangements and the closure of arenas of democracy at the provincial scale are restricting the notion of politics. With all the negative impositions of neo-liberal ideology, the community movement has fought back with resistance and resilience. Yet it has nonetheless suffered from these assaults on its credibility, legitimacy, and the very questioning of its representative capacity by the government in power.
The community movement is losing its collective means of influencing policy. The newly enacted policies are already leading to profound structural change as the community movement’s links to the Quebec state are being undone. They have seriously weakened the traditional partners that contributed to the establishment of the Quebec model of socio-economic development. These changes signal that the community movement is in danger of losing important channels for accessing policy via the main political parties.
However, all is not lost. Community groups still have the potential to shape their relationship with the state and to create opportunities for action. Resistance has been strong, given the ability of the movement to mobilize and counter-attack,
and there are no signs that it will abate in the near future. If the Liberal government continues to ignore the voices of discontent and continues to forge ahead, there may be important unforeseen consequences.
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In B. Wharf & M. Clague (Eds.), Community organizing: Canadian experiences (pp. 62–90). Toronto: Oxford University Press.
White, D. (2002). Harnessing a movement: Taming and ideology on the state and the third sector in Québec. In K. L. Brock (Ed.), Improving connections between government and nonprofit and voluntary organisations (pp. 143–162). Montreal and Kingston: McGill- Queen’s University Press.
1. According to a Leger Marketing/TVA, Globe and Mail and Le Devoir Quebec survey conducted between Jan. 14 and Jan. 18 among 1,000 respondents, 63 percent of Quebeckers expressed their dissatisfaction with the Liberal government’s cost cutting agenda (<www. legermarketing.com/documents/pol/020902eng.pdf>).
2. Community organizations received over $ 613 million in 2004–2005 through 75 funding programs or initiatives involving 20 different government departments. For more information, see the SACA Web site, <http://www.mess.gouv.qc.ca/saca/action-communautaire/ etat-situation.asp>.
3. These monies are generated by 5% of the annual earnings from the Quebec Society of Lotteries.
4. Generally speaking, two thirds of the board of administration of the CREs are local officials. The remainder are chosen of the basis of whom local officials deem representative of the community.
5. Premier Jean Charest, Open letter, Tuesday, October 14, 2003. <http://www.premier. gouv.qc.ca/general/lettres_ouvertes/lettre2003-10-13_en.htm>
6. A similar discursive shift occurred in English Canada in the early 1990s. See Jenson and Phillips, and Dobrowolsky.
7. Fédération des Femmes du Québec, “Trois ans plus tard, les représentantes du mouvement des femmes n’ont toujours pas été reçues par le premier ministre du Québec!” Presse release, Montreal, 15 June 2006. <http://www.ffq.qc.ca/communiques/ avis-15-06-2006.html>
8. Claude Béchard, «Lancement du Plan d’action gouvernemental en matière d’action communautaire», 17 august, 2004.
9. Norman Delisle, “Fouillis dans les organismes sans but lucratif,” La Presse, 11 June 2003.
10. Jean Charest, Forum des générations.
Assistant Professor, School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON
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