" How can we preserve linguistic diversity while supporting harmony between individuals, communities and States? ". This question, centered on an ethic of linguistic diversity and peace, is relatively recent in our collective consciousness and within the evolution of the stato-national model. With regards to the construction of linguistic policies, it is then important to ask how a State, itself in transformation in contemporary changes, can ensure balance and harmony between the languages on its territory and between the communities which speak these languages.
At the present time, however, the discourse which underlies this question is often negative interethnic conflicts, exacerbated nationalisms, linguicides, restrictive legislations, pejorative ethnonymes and more rarely positive assertion of the right one's identity, intercultural comprehension. Things happens as if the former belonged to facts clearly affirmed and the latter to utopias calling for a new configuration of power relations. But since the utopias fulfill a social function in the production of ideologies which then can be concretized into policies, it is appropriate to question the emergent ideologies for ethics would guide policies and allow a comparison with current practices and policies. With this in mind, this article examines linguistic diversity in the context of Canada's and Québec's practices within the geopolitical division of languages within two States, one sovereign -Canada--, and the other in search of sovereignty -- Quebec.
This article is not an evaluation of the linguistic policies of these States since such an operation is extremely delicate, complex and ideologically loaded. It concentrates rather on some reflexions on the ideologies which governed the Canadian and Québécois practices for the last thirty years in the light of an ethics of harmonious linguistic diversity. The questions which guide this article are as follows : " what are the basic tendencies of the Canadian and Québécois linguistic policies ? Do they contribute to a harmonious linguistic diversity?
In the first part, the author describes the architecture of Canada's and Québec's linguistic policies. In second part, she describes the state of development of Canada's and Québec's linguistic diversity. Lastly, she examines the challenges which await these two States on the road to the construction of a harmonious linguistic diversity.
The conclusion is that, in the absence of a strong Canadian identity, the federal State develops its policies from a strategic ideology based on power relations. In so doing, it does not sufficiently bases itself on identity reasoning for action as it is mostly the case in Quebec. Linguistic diversity and multiculturalism are then reactive strategies. Today, the strategies may be outdated and identities request recongnition, beyond strategic considerations. Diversity claims its right to existence. On another scale, and according to situations, the same phenomenon is also present in Québec.
The problem then is not that of linguistic plurality but rather that of its sociopolitic recognition. Linguistic diversity always existed, often at the margins of societies, often rendered invisible by homogeneist aspirations which, in power relations attempted to preserve the advantages that homogeneity confers them. What is new today, however, is that diversity itself aspires to legitimacy and recognition. Thus, it aims at transforming the homogeneist bastions and transform them on their own territory.