In Defence of Quebec's UFP. (C Debates)

By Fidler, Richard; Levy, Andrea | Canadian Dimension, July-August 2003 | Go to article overview

In Defence of Quebec's UFP. (C Debates)


Fidler, Richard, Levy, Andrea, Canadian Dimension


Eric Shragge and Andrea Levy ("The Union des forces progressistes in Quebec: Prospects and Pitfalls," March-April, 2003) cite a number of difficulties confronting Quebec's new leftwing political formation. Among these are lack of trade-union support, diffidence on the part of some activists of the "social Left" and an "old-Left" style and rhetoric.

But their main criticism of the UFP -- that it is fundamentally wrong on the national question because it supports Quebec independence -- tells us more about their bias than it does about the UFP or the Quebec Left.

Shragge and Levy argue that support for Quebec independence (1) curbs the UFP's appeal to young activists, new immigrants and Aboriginal peoples, because (2) it fails to reflect the reality that the Qudbecois are already "masters in their own house." This error, they say, will be "decisive" to the UFP's "political fate."

Let's begin with the second point. Yes, Quebec has made great strides in recent decades in enhancing the status and role of French and the francophone majority within the province's institutions and society as a whole. French is now the language of work. Income differentials between French and English have been sharply reduced. Quebec's education and health systems now rank with the best in Canada. And all of this largely through the initiatives and efforts of Quebecers themselves, often in the face of resistance and even outright opposition by big business, the federal government and their courts.

These developments, themselves the product of a nationalist upsurge that began with the Quiet Revolution of the 1 960s, far from eliminating national consciousness, have redefined it and stimulated a powerful pride in the accomplishments and capacities of Quebec society. The change is reflected in the way Quebecers describe themselves: as Quebecois and no longer as "French-Canadians." While a small majority of Quebecers still favour being part of Canada, most Quebecers look to the government in Quebec City as their first line of defence of their language and culture -- the key defining features of this distinct society -- and most want to enhance its role along these lines.

Quebec, while but a province under Canada's Constitution, is sociologically a nation and is seen as such by the vast majority of its residents. This nation is more than its language and culture, its "ethnicity"; it is the product of a long historical evolution of the peoples who inhabit the territory of Quebec. This new nation is not narrowly ethnic. As the UFP platform says, it is "the human community residing in Quebec province, having French as its official language of institutional and working communication, sharing a single set of laws and social conventions, and rich in its cultural diversity."

Shragge and Levy seem to have a reductionist view of Quebec nationalism that conflates nation with language and ethnicity alone. There is no longer a national question in Quebec, they argue: "French is the official language, the economic elite bears names like Desjardins, Tellier and Martin, as do the members of the bureaucracy that runs Quebec's state institutions. These issues are settled ft is simply the "memory of English domination chat fuels the longing for independence.

I think this is a fundamental misreading of the reality. What fuels the independence sentiment today in Quebec is not some distant "memory" of English domination, but a deeply felt awareness that Canada's current constitution and political system do not recognize Quebec for what it is -- a modern, vibrant, progressive nation that is open to the world, and not merely a "province like the others" -- and a determination to put an end to the constant, politically debilitating conflicts with Ottawa that this entails. Far from being settled, these issues continue to nag. In the last two decades alone, Quebec has seen the addition to the Canadian Constitution of an amending formula that virtually rules out any change in its status through the normal negotiating process; a Charter of Rights that directly targets Quebec's popular-language legislation; and a federal "Clarity Bill" that would effectively dictate the terms of any future Quebec referendum on sovereignty -- to name only the most egregious assaults on Quebe c's right to self-determination. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

In Defence of Quebec's UFP. (C Debates)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.