Quebec Studies

American Perceptions of Québec

Quebec Studies (1984), 2, (1), 16–35.

Abstract

AMERICAN PERCEPTIONS OF QUEBEC Alfred Ο. Hero, Jr. Americans' reactions to Québec developments are intimate­ ly associated with their perceptions of Canada as a whole and their priorities concerning U.S.-Canadian relations. American governmental, foreign-policy, business, and other elites interested in relations with Canada since World War II have viewed them primarily either from the point of view of collective security and defense or from an economic perspective. Canada has seldom been regarded as posing major problems or threats in either of these general domains. Most issues Canadians have raised with Americans have typically been perceived on the American side as technical, specialized, or otherwise of concern mainly to small American minorities, often special-interest groups in the private sector. Expertise about Canada has been concentrated in relevant parts of most larger American corporations and of the U.S. govern­ ment, at middle levels in executive and bureaucratic hierarchies. Similarly, with the partial exception of international trade economists and their counterparts in internationally-oriented business schools, few with broad foreign-policy interests in the research and intellectual communities have devoted more than sporadic attention to Canadian affairs. 1 Minimal Interest in Québec Until the election of the independentist, "progressiste" P.Q. government in November 1976, Québec was regarded as largely irrelevant to the few interest Americans, including foreign-affairs and business elites, perceived in Canada. The Québécois who had significant roles in those interests with whom influential Americans dealt were often Anglophones in

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Hero, Alfred