Joël Plouffe was the 2012-13 Pacific Northwest Québec Professor, a visiting scholar from l’Université du Québec à Montréal. He was co-leader of the SIS495G Task Force on Arctic Security.
The Canadian Studies Center was awarded $45,000 from the Government of Québec under the Québec Visiting Professor Grant and Québec Unit Grant.
The Québec Visiting Professor Grant will enable Joël Plouffe, Research Fellow, Center for the United States and Center for Geopolitical Studies, Raoul Dandurand Chair of Strategic and Diplomatic Studies, l’Université du Québec à Montréal, to serve as the U.W.’s 2012-13 Guest Professor from Québec. Joël will co-teach the Task Force on Arctic Policy, Plan Nord and Plan Nunavik, provide the Québec Visiting Professor Lecture, and co-chair a symposium on Québec’s role in the Arctic.
The Task Force is the flagship course for International Studies majors in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. In Winter Quarter 2013 about 14 U.W. students and two Inuit students from Nunavik, Québec will be part of a team that will write a policy report on the unique relationship between Québec and the Inuit of Nunavik in governing the northern region of the province. Joël will co-teach and co-led the class to Ottawa for a one-week research intensive with Nadine Fabbi, Canadian Studies Center.
Joël will also work with the Center to plan a two-day Arctic symposium focused on Plan Nordassessing the successes and challenges of implementation, the unique relationship Québec has with its northern peoples, and the value of Plan Nord as a model for regional Arctic policies internationally. Québec is unique in that two-thirds of the province constitutes the north, a region twice the size of France. The area is extremely important to the Québec economy. Québec’s north produces three-quarters of Québec’s hydro and provides the majority of the province’s nickel, zinc, iron ore, and much of its gold. It is also home to 120,000 northern residents over one quarter of whom are indigenous peoples including 10,000 Inuit.
In 1975 Cree, Inuit and Québec government signed the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement (JBNQA) to resolve disputes over hydroelectric development in the north. Under the terms of the Agreement the Makivvik Kuapuriisat (Makivik Corporation, ᒪᑭᕝᕕᒃ ᑯᐊᐳᕇᓴᑦ) was formed to administer the compensation funds. According to Jackson School alum, D. Maltais (McGill), “The Inuit have transformed themselves into a strong political actor within Québec and have successfully contested either the legality or the legitimacy of different political and economic projects, giving Québec little choice but to sit down and negotiate so that their rights may be respected and their demands may be heard” (paper presented at the 2011 ACSUS conference, Ottawa). This is certainly evident in a new citizen movement in Nunavik advocating that Inuit support for Plan Nord be withdrawn. These complex issues will continue to unfold as Plan Nord is revised and implemented. These are the challenges that will be addressed at the 2013 University of Washington-l’Université du Québec à Montréal’s Plan Nord Symposium.
The Québec Unit Grant, the second grant awarded to the Canadian Studies Center, will enable the Center to build a stronger teaching and research program in Québec Studies at the U.W. The Center, in conjunction with Urban Design and Planning, College of Built Environments, will create a Québec Unit building on preexisting Québec research, study and programming strengths at the U.W. The Québec Unit will develop four priorities programs: 1) host a symposium on Plan Nord as part of the Center’s Arctic policy studies initiative; 2) enhance URBDP 498 Comparative Urban Planning and Design, an annual joint offering between U.W.’s Urban Design and Planning, l’Université Laval, l’Université du Québec à Montréal, and University of Montréal; 3) create a grant program for U.W. student study-in-Québec opportunities; 4) and, create a Québec research site on the U.W. Libraries and Center websites and purchase collections related to the project.
To achieve these goals Canadian Studies and Urban Design and Planning will build on existing interuniversity collaborations (l’Université Laval, l’Université du Québec à Montréal, and University of Montréal); intra-university partnerships (College of the Environment, Department of French and Italian Studies); and, the Center’s Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship program that supports Québec-based research and French language acquisition.