Quebec Studies

Book Reviews: Social Science

Quebec Studies (1987), 5, (1), 142–149.

Abstract

Quebec Studies,No. 5,1987 BOOK REVIEWS SOCIAL SCIENCE BALTHAZAR, LOUIS. Bilan du Nationalism Montreak Editions de L'Hexagone, 1986. Pp.212. au Qukbec. Since the defeat of the Purti qu4bkwis by the Liberal Party in the provindal elections, it has been dear that once again Qu#bec is going through a mapr transition in its history and in its neversnding battle to survive as a Frenchspeaking population of 5 million encased within an English-speaking majority of 250 million in North America. The return of the Liberal Party under Robert Bourassa, who was defeated by Rene L6vesque's PQ in 1976, did mark a mapr watershed period for the qlcebcoois population. However, in Rofgsor Balthazar's view, the real historic event had already OccURpd in 1980 with the defeat of the referendum for sovereignty-assodation. That event marked the end of a particularly exating period of Quebec nationalism, which Balthazar 4 s Ic matanalisme &ti&, the nationalism of the Rhdution banquille He describes the nationalism that evolves after the referendum as Ic modLL atomish. This is a new variation on what has gone before but its spirit turns away from separation to an acceptance of the federalist model that provides Quebec with the home rule necessaryto protect its culture. This work by Professor Balthazar of Laval University is in French, but it is Quebec history and politics who seek an insider's view of what happened during the 1965-85period. There are insights and well worth the effort of those students of analyses of Quebec political history that are simply not available in other books of this genre. Balthazar studies four major periods in the evolution of Quebec nationalism. 1 find the comparison between the defeat of the nationalists in 1837 and that of the referendum in 1980 striking. Each era, induding the one that is described as traditional (1839-1960), contributes to the nationalism of today. In both cases the leaders overestimated their appeal to the population. To understand the feelings and attitudes of the Quebec leaders in the 198b one must understand the long historicalprocess, which Balthazar analyzes with great insight. The study is comprehensive, logical, and based on a careful compilation of a great deal of historical material. Clearly the referendum defeat has been viewed as a mapr blow for the nationalists and their party, the PQ. Many of the young people in the movement believed that independence was just around the comer. The disillusionment was and is profound. At a crucial stage in history, the maprity turned toward federalism as the best way of preserving the culture and language of the Qu6becDispopulation. In many ways the goals of the nationalists have been r e a l i d . Respect and awareness of francophone culture has come about throughout Canada and the U. S. Thanks to Law 101, French is the language of communication in Quebec As many of it was not easy to get services in French the older generation knew prior to the I=,

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