Community Besieged

Community Besieged: The Anglophone Minority and the Politics of Quebec

Copyright Date: 1999
Pages: 376
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  • Book Info
    Community Besieged
    Book Description:

    In Community Besieged Garth Stevenson describes the unusual circumstances that allowed English-speaking Quebecers to live in virtual isolation from their francophone neighbours for almost a century after Confederation. He describes their relations with Maurice Duplessis and the Union Nationale and their ambivalent response to the Quiet Revolution. New political issues - language policy, educational reform, sovereignty, and the constitution - undermined the old system of elite accommodation in Quebec, causing conflicts between anglophones and francophones and creating a new sense of anglophone identity that transcends religious differences. The changing relations of Quebec anglophones with the major political parties, as well as the role of newer entities such as Alliance Quebec and the Equality Party, are also examined. Stevenson concludes with a look at the future of anglophones in Quebec.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6775-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. 1 Intercultural Politics and the Case of Quebec
    (pp. 3-22)

    In his 1979 presidential address to the Canadian Political Science Association, Kenneth D. McRae argued that “Western political thought in general has shown little understanding or respect for the cultural diversity of mankind and has made scant allowance for it as a possible concern of government.”¹ McRae was speaking primarily of the classics of normative political philosophy in the European tradition, but until quite recently his comment would have been equally applicable to the modern academic discipline of political science. Political science was born in the United States at a time when faith in the efficacy of the American “melting...

  6. 2 Consociationalism Established: 1867-1960
    (pp. 23-61)

    As was noted in the previous chapter, Hans Daalder has suggested that a pre-democratic tradition of elite accommodation may have paved the way for consociational democracy in the Netherlands. This seems also to be true in the case of Quebec. The roots of intercultural elite accommodation in Quebec can be traced back to the relationships developed between British officials and military officers and French clergy in the aftermath of the British conquest. The colonial regime was neither consociational nor democratic, since the French were clearly subordinated to British control and had little political or economic power. Nonetheless, the very small...

  7. 3 Consociationalism Threatened: Anglophones and the Quiet Revolution, 1960-68
    (pp. 62-97)

    June 22, 1960 - the date of the election that ended sixteen years of uninterrupted rule by the Union Nationale - would be viewed in retrospect as the end of an era and the beginning of a revolution, but that was hardly how it seemed at the time. The election on the first day of summer was not unexpected because Maurice Duplessis had established a tradition of summer elections every four years.¹ Duplessis had died in the preceding September and his chosen successor, Paul Sauvé, had died even more unexpectedly in January, but the old leader’s preferences were still respected...

  8. 4 Consociationalism Destroyed: The Politicization of Language, 1968-76
    (pp. 98-134)

    1968 was a year of turbulence and upheaval in a large part of the world. In France what began as a student rebellion at the University of Paris came close to overturning the Fifth Republic. In Czechoslovakia a nation-wide experiment in humane socialism was cut short by the invading armies of the country’s “allies” in the Warsaw Pact. In Northern Ireland the Catholic civil rights march of 24 August and the decision by the authorities to ban a second march on 5 October (which took place nonetheless) launched a generation of civil conflict. In Vietnam the Tet offensive weakened the...

  9. 5 Post-consociational Politics: The Search for a New Strategy, 1976-85
    (pp. 135-176)

    The election of the Parti Québécois with a majority of seats in the National Assembly on 15 November 1976 was more significant than most changes of government. A sovereign Quebec, albeit one economically associated with the rest of Canada, was the objective andraison d’êtreof the Parti Québécois. Although the Parti Québécois campaign in 1976 had emphasized the need for better government more than the promise of sovereignty, their victory clearly placed sovereignty on the agenda.

    For the English-speaking minority in the province, the outcome of the election was unprecedented in another way. For the first time in Quebec’s...

  10. 6 False Hopes Betrayed: Bill 178 and the Anglophone Reaction, 1985-94
    (pp. 177-216)

    InThe Caine Mutiny, Herman Wouk’s novel of the Pacific War, the illfated minesweeper is commanded initially by a gruff, but capable, officer named Captain de Vries. Willie Keith, the naive young ensign from whose perspective the story is told, at first welcomes the replacement of de Vries by the superficially pleasant but emotionally unstable Philip Queeg. Like the rest of the crew, he later changes his mind when the morale and efficiency of the ship deteriorate under Queeg’s leadership. In the book de Vries does not reappear, but Hollywood could not resist giving the story a more dramatic ending....

  11. 7 Anglophones in Disarray,1994-97
    (pp. 217-242)

    The adoption of Bill 86 contributed to a partial reconciliation between English-speaking Quebeckers and the Quebec Liberal Party. However, the reconciliation was not as complete as the overwhelming anglophone support for the Liberals in the election a year later appeared to suggest. Bill 178 was not forgotten, and anglophones supported the Quebec Liberals in 1994 with more resignation than enthusiasm. The party, for its part, seemed to view anglophone voters as a dubious asset since they were difficult to satisfy, of decisive importance in only a few ridings, and at times a source of embarrassment in the party’s efforts to...

  12. 8 Quebec Anglophones and the Federal Government, 1968-97
    (pp. 243-280)

    Chapters 4 through 7 of this book have concentrated on politics at the provincial level and referred only in passing to federalism and the central government of Canada. As those chapters have explained, the years after the end of the Quiet Revolution saw the emergence of language policy as a major issue in Quebec politics, growing support for the independence movement, and the collapse of the consociational arrangements that had enabled the anglophone minority to flourish since Confederation. One might expect that in these circumstances Quebec anglophones would look to the federal level of government for support. To what extent...

  13. 9 Prospects and Strategies for Survival
    (pp. 281-310)

    Preceding chapters have described the political involvement of English-speaking Quebeckers, their relationship with the provincial and federal governments, and the impact of both those governments on their community over a period of 130 years. The political drama, if it may be called such, has been performed against a background of the community’s slow but almost continuous decline: in economic power, in political influence, and in numbers relative to the growing populations of Quebec and Canada. The decline has been brought about by changes in the Canadian, North American, and global economies, by social and ideological changes (sometimes described under the...

  14. Appendix: List of Persons Interviewed
    (pp. 311-312)
  15. Notes
    (pp. 313-340)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 341-354)
  17. Index
    (pp. 355-363)