In Montreal and in our very particular cross cultural environment, our culture has always been the very symbol of our identity.
As the largest French-speaking Canadian province with French (and English) as our two official languages, we are deeply attached to our roots and to our culture. We benefit from traditions and customs that reflect our geography, our history, our reality and our population.
Traditions and customs such as our French "joual", our roman catholic background, our "tourtières" during Christmas, our Canadian hockey and our great and famous artists and singers such as Leonard Cohen and Céline Dion.
Our culture is the very symbol of our identity. In Québec, what we did is join our French and English origins together with our Aboriginal heritage.
We are also influenced by our proximity to the United States and by our multi-ethnic and multicultural population that both shape and reshape our demographic and cultural profiles.
Failure to pay attention to our cultural ideas, customs and social behavior is guaranteed to damage anyone's chances and expectations. In our cross cultural environment, cultural intelligence is vital to effective personal and business relationships.
A single cultural gaffe in an initial contact can reduce or eliminate the possibility of a second contact. In effect, a bad first impression can ruin any chance of a new relationship, a successful negotiation or an eminent business deal.
When your verbal and nonverbal communication styles and approches take our definition of culture into account, you have made a giant step toward blending in our surroundings and appreciation.
You may still feel like a stranger in a strange land, but you are less likely to be treated as one. Your most significant message, that you want to behave courteously according to our cultural competency definition is clearly communicated.
The UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization considers culture as a:
"set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual, and emotional features of a society or a social group, and that it encompasses, in addition to art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs."
To ensure the cohesion of our democratic society, our Quebec government promotes the foundations of our society in our Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.
The "Charte des droits et libertés de la personne" defines the right to equality, prohibits discrimination in all its forms and outlines the political, judicial, economic and social rights of all citizens.
"Québec Immigration, Diversité et Inclusion" states that "While promoting its diversity and respecting differences, Quebec requires that the entire population respects its common civic framework which is a set of shared institutions and collective norms that determine our societal relations."
The outer layer of our culture. Explicit
culture is the observable reality of our language, food, houses,
buildings, monuments, agriculture, shrines, markets, fashions and
are the symbols of the deeper level of our culture. Prejudices mostly
start on this symbolic and observable level.
The middle layer of our culture. Norms are the mutual sense we have of what is right and what is wrong. Norms developed on a formal level as written laws and, on an informal level. as social laws and behavior. Our values determine our definition of good and bad and are closely related to the ideals we share as a group.
The core layer of our culture. Because we, as a group, have evolved in this unique region, we have formed our own sets of logical assumptions on how to solve problems. We, as a society, have organized ourselves in such a way that, over the years, we have improved our own problem solving processes and increased our own effectiveness.