Quebec Studies

Review Note

Quebec Studies (1989), 8, (1), 137–138.

Abstract

BOOK REVIEWS: POLITICAL SCIENCE 137 state (391-2). Normalization is a process, constraints notwithstanding, which means: first, the gradual réintégration of Quebec into the federal constitutional system; second, the incremental scaling down of the role of the Quebec state (privatization and deregulation) in social and economic development to the level of other provinces such as Ontario; and third, slow relaxation of Bill 101 language regulations. The author himself implies that this normalization process really began during the second Lévesque administration (1981-1985)—a steady retreat from the goal of Quebec sovereignty as well as abandonment of the ideal of an interventionist, even "social democratic" state (Chapter 10). The author could have profited from an examination of the growth of the extend of interparty economic policy convergence between the PQ and PLQ during the 1980s paralleling (resulting from? contributing to?) the emergence of francophone entrepreneurial social strata as much emulated and prestigious definers of the collective consciousness, an on-going decline, as in the rest of North America, in the political influence of organized labor in Quebec (the essence of social democracy?), and a cyclical and only temporary return to quiescent Québécois nationalism. He should not have downplayed an interpretation of this period grounded in completely new global economic imperatives compelling political elites of whatever partisan strip to pay increased attention to the creation rather than merely the redistribution of wealth. Hence the triumph of the politics of necessity (consensus)— call it sheer political rhetoric, pragmatism, opportunism, false consciousness, pragmatic nationalism or wl. .tever—hence massive francophone Quebec endoresment of Canada-U.S. free trade. Of course, this evolving interparty PQ-PLQ agreement on policies of economic development inside Quebec may (storefront signs), or may not be (Lake Meech), more susceptible to fissure in such domains as language and constitutional reform. And finally, why do so many of us, including Professor McRoberts, blindly embrace the easy equation between PQ indépendantisme and national­ ism in contemporary Quebec (440)? In short, consider the possibility that Québécois nationalism comes in many forms and even encompasses some segments of French Quebec society who adhere neither to the thesis of political independence nor state intervention nor "social democracy. " Despite these reservations, the book is a masterpiece of social science analysis applied to Quebec. I endorse use of this third edition for upper division undergraduate as well as graduate courses which deal with the history, society and civilisation as well as politics of Quebec. State University of New York, Plattsburgh Martin Lubin REVIEW NOTE ST. PIERRE, CHRISTIANE. Sur les pas de h mer. Moncton, N.-B.: Les Editions d'Acadie, 1986. Pp. 103. Worthy of mention is this highly readable collection of short stories about life along the Acadian coast of New Brunswick. The book has earned critical acclaim, and author Christiane St-Pierre won the prestigious prix France-Acadie last year. Although the stories are all set in contemporary Acadia, where St-Pierre now lives, the author was originally a native Québécoise who grew up in the Cap-de-la-Madeleine and who received a graduate degree from the Université du Québec à Trois-Ri vières. As an "outsider, " she seems to bring a fresh perspective to the traditional society she portrays. St-Pierre skillfully develops the psychology of her characters, adeptly shows how changing values create conflict between the generations, and generally animates her prose with richly imaginative passages. Sur les pas de la mer illustrates the vitality of new fiction being produced in Acadia. These stories deserve attention from readers with an interest in francophone writing in North America. University of Maine James J. Herlan

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