The Best-Treated Minority in the World : Historical and Discursive Analysis of a Cliché
Politicians, polemicists, and others have long referred to Quebec’s Englishspeaking community as the “best-treated minority in the world.”1 This loaded phrase has also been used to describe other minorities: French speakers within Canada as a whole, Indigenous peoples in Canada, and religious groups and minorities in many European and colonial contexts.
Through a historical overview and discourse analysis, this paper traces how the phrase has been used and abused, justified, and criticized over time. The particular focus is the Quebec context. There, we see a shift from a largely consensual use of the phrase across all language groups to one that becomes increasingly divisive and problematic from the 1980s on. This shift parallels the English-speaking community’s evolving sense of itself as a minority in decline.
Quebec English-speaking Communities Research Network (QUESCREN)
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Parallel title: QUESCREN Working Paper no.5
Donovan, Patrick. The Best-Treated Minority in the World : Historical and Discursive Analysis of a Cliché. Montreal, QC: Quebec English-speaking Communities Research Network (QUESCREN), March 2022.
Contributing CKOL partner