Quebec federalism: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Quebec federalist ideology revolves around the concept of Quebec remaining within Canada, in opposition to the desires of Quebec sovereigntists and proponents of Quebec independence.

Throughout the sovereignty debate Quebec nationalist sentiment has swung in between the federalist and sovereigntist options, with many Quebec nationalists willing to be a part of a Canadian federation with a more decentralized government. In general, anglophones, allophones and aboriginals have never been very supportive of Quebec's secession.

Supporters of independence point to their belief that Quebec is a nation due to its unique history, shared major language and common heritage. Opponents of sovereignty generally believe it to be a dangerous idea due to the political, financial, personal and economic ties between Quebeckers and other Canadians or see it as being unnecessary due to Canada's multicultural and bilingual national character as well as the strong status of the French language and culture in Quebec. Opponents to Québécois nationalism point to the fact that Quebec is just as ethnically diverse as the rest of Canada and therefore is divisible by different ethnic and language groups, or point to the shared Francophone heritage of the ROC (Rest of Canada). Lots of federalists believe that Canada comprises many nations in the cultural and ethnic, non-political sense; and that Quebec can be divided into just as many nations as Ontario or British Columbia.

Aside from the Bloc Québécois, all major federal parties, including the Liberal Party of Canada, the Conservative Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party and the Green Party of Canada support maintaining the status quo with Quebec remaining part of Canada.

The far left tends to be divided on this issue: the Socialist Caucus of the New Democratic Party supports Quebec's independence, while the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) and the Communist Party of Canada support Canadian federalism.


Ideological branches

While the usual denomination for all followers is simply federalist, two main branches can be sketched out.


Quebec nationalism

Federalist Quebec nationalists defend the concept of Quebec remaining within Canada, while pursuing greater autonomy and national recognition for Quebec within the Canadian federation. The Union Nationale under Maurice Duplessis (1930s to 1950s) was nationalist without explicitly calling for independence, prior to the arrival of Daniel Johnson, Sr. as leader. The Parti libéral du Québec was a major party of federalist nationalism throughout the Lesage and Bourassa eras (1960s to 1990s). However, since the failures of the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords, and the 1995 Quebec referendum on independence, the party has no defining plan for official national recognition. Notable followers of this ideology are Robert Bourassa, Jean Lesage and Brian Mulroney.

Recently, the Université de Montréal political philosopher Charles Blattberg has put forward a series of arguments aimed at integrating Québécois nationalism within a renewed Canadian federalism, one that recognizes Canada's multi-national character.[1]

"Status-quo" federalism

"Status-quo" federalists, or "Trudeau federalists" as they are sometimes labelled, defend Quebec remaining within Canada and keeping the status quo regarding the Canadian constitution and policies in areas of shared and exclusive provincial jurisdiction in areas like taxation, health care, and immigration. They defend the Canadian federal government assuming the major role in the democracy, with occasional encroachment on what Quebec governments consider exclusive provincial powers. They refuse all recognition of the province of Quebec as a nation, however some support recognition of the Québécois people as a nation.

Notable Trudeau federalists include Pierre Trudeau and many of the writers for the political magazine Cité Libre.

Not all federalists in Quebec opposed to Quebec nationalism see themselves as being ideologically connected to Pierre Trudeau. Many simply support the concept of Canadian multiculturalism and do not identify with Quebec nationalism. Federalists of this sort come from all across the political spectrum.

Federalist parties

Represented in the National Assembly

  • Action Démocratique du Québec (ADQ) - Although not officially federalist, this formerly sovereigntist party now advocates a "solution" based on Quebec's "autonomy within Canada," sort of a middle ground between continued federalism and the separation of Quebec. While it is not linked to any federal party, most ADQ members and the ADQ leader Mario Dumont support the ideologically similar Conservative Party of Canada.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ (English) Charles Blattberg (2003). Shall We Dance? A Patriotic Politics for Canada. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 0-7735-2547-5.  
    (French) Charles Blattberg (2004). Et si nous dansions? Pour une politique du bien commun au Canada. Montréal: Les Presses de l'Université de Montréal. ISBN 2-7606-1948-6.  


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