Misconceiving Canada: The Struggle for National Unity

Paperback | May 1, 1997

EditorKenneth Mcroberts

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In the fall of 1996, the prospects for Canada looked bleak; of the many unity crises that Canada has known, this one was undoubtedly the worst. The November 1995 referendum on Quebec sovereignty produced the smallest of victories for the forces of federalism: 0.06% or 54,288 votes; it couldeasily have gone the other way. Moreover, surveys have regularly indicated that in a new referendum the Yes vote could prevail. If there ever was a last chance for Canada this would seem to be it. This book begins by exploring the deep historical roots of the conception of Canada that Trudeau and his colleagues tried to change. The book then moves on to examine how successive governments tried to re-examine the relationship between Quebec and the rest of the country. McRoberts examines therole of the Trudeau government, official bilingualism, multiculturalism, the Mulroney era, and the failures of both the Meech Lake and the Charlottetown Accords. The final chapter of the book examines the 1995 Quebec referendum with its near victory of the Yes vote, which can only be seen as proofof the failure of the Trudeau strategy, and the current federal government's failure to deliver meaningfully on promises made during the referendum. The conclusion begins with a review of this critical reassessment of the strategy and its consequences for Canada. It then maps out some of the routes to resolving the crisis that become available once that strategy is abandoned: formalizing asymmetry within Canadian federalism, revising languagepolicy on a territorial basis, recasting Canada as a multinational confederation, and so on. Whether any of this can be done, however, is an open question. Yet if Quebec should opt for sovereignty it will be important to remember that Canadians and Quebecois are not naturally the worst of enemies as some have claimed, and would still have common interests that need protection. This volume will explore ways of doing this. In the last analysis, as thisbook shows, a vote for sovereignty is not inevitable but would be the result of errors and miscalculations that were made, often with the best of intentions, by our political class. In particular, it would have stemmed from a national unit strategy that was based on a misconception ofCanada.

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In the fall of 1996, the prospects for Canada looked bleak; of the many unity crises that Canada has known, this one was undoubtedly the worst. The November 1995 referendum on Quebec sovereignty produced the smallest of victories for the forces of federalism: 0.06% or 54,288 votes; it couldeasily have gone the other way. Moreover, su...

Kenneth McRoberts is at York University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:May 1, 1997Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195412338

ISBN - 13:9780195412338

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Customer Reviews of Misconceiving Canada: The Struggle for National Unity

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from a must read A must read for any serious political analyst who wants to understand the current unity struggle in Canada. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2005-12-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Insightful and Informative One of the best books that I have ever read!!! This book is indeed a very insightful, well-written, and analytical exploration of the struggle for unifying Canada.
Date published: 2002-01-13

Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction: What Went Wrong?Part One: Two Visions of Canada1. The First Century: Separate Nationalities2. The 1960s: Coming to Terms with Duality and Quebec Nationalism3. Trudeau and the New Federal Orthodoxy: Denying the Quebec QuestionPart Two: Making a New Canada4. Official Bilingualism: Linguistic Equality from Sea to Sea5. Multiculturalism: Reining in Duality6. Federalism and the Constitution: Entrenching the Trudeau Vision7. The Failure of the Trudeau StrategyPart Three: Failing to Repair the Damage8. Bringing Quebec into the Constitution: Missing Two Chances9. The 1995 Quebec Referendum: Making Sovereignty a Real Possibility10. Conclusion: Is Separation the Only Answer?BibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"This is an excellent and particularly important book...It is the most knowledgeable , even-handed, and authoritative treatment existing in English of developments within Quebec since the Quiet Revolution..."-Quebec Studies