Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Remaining Loyal: Social Democracy in Quebec and Saskatchewan

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Remaining Loyal: Social Democracy in Quebec and Saskatchewan

Article excerpt

David McGrane, Remaining Loyal: Social Democracy in Quebec and Saskatchewan (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2014), 392pp. Cased. $110. ISBN 978-0-7735-4416-1. Paper. $34.95. ISBN 978-0-7735-4417-8.

McGrane presents the first historical comparative examination of the evolution of public policy in Saskatchewan and Quebec, the two provinces which have been governed for extended periods of time by political parties espousing social democratic values. He situates his analysis in the post-1990s debates about the moderation of social democratic ideology to a 'third way' notably advocated by British Prime Minister Tony Blair. McGrane engages with these debates, concluding that both provinces have experienced similar paths of evolution and, more importantly, that the public policies adopted by 'third way' social democrats 'ultimately remained loyal to the original spirit of social democracy' which emerged in each province (p. 5).

McGrane offers a sweeping overview of the various historical, economic, and social forces underlying the emergence and evolution of these social democratic parties. He emphasises the shared economic circumstances and European social values, coupled with western alienation in the face of central Canadian control of the western economy to explain the Saskatchewan turn to the CCF/NDP social democratic alternative; and the shared history and ethnic community membership aligned against anglophone domination of the Quebec economy as the basis for the rise of Quebec nationalism manifested in the Parti Québécois. These accounts offer an excellent primer in the political histories of these provinces and these particular political parties.

McGrane argues repeatedly that the adoption of third way policies remained true to essential social democratic values, and points to a series of continuities in the policy orientations between early and later governments. …

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