Quebec Studies

Québec Politics: Selective Readings, Suggested Themes

Quebec Studies (2005), 39, (1), 109–123.

Abstract

109 Pedagogical Forum Québec Politics: Selective Readings, Suggested Themes Marc T. Boucher École nationale d'administration publique Course Objectives - General Themes This article addresses specifically those professors of political science who teach in the United States and who wish to prepare a new course, or revamp an existing one on Québec politics. It provides a list of suggested themes, as well as a range of readings that will support them. Before entering into the specific topics, however, it is important to identify first several general themes that should serve as basic thematic underpinnings throughout the course, ultimately providing an analytical framework for students when covering the weekly topics in class. It is frequently difficult for American students to grasp the complex nature of Québec politics, especially when many of the most pivotal issues, such as the debate over federal/provincial jurisdiction and the sovereignty question, seem to evolve so quickly. The inherent concepts are often entirely alien to students whose course work has been limited to the study of US politics, and it can take several classes for them to realize that the political mindset that generates decision-making in Québec and Canada is quite different. The course will be much more rewarding and informative if it is grounded in a few fundamental tenets that will remain constant regardless of the themes studied each week. More importantly, this approach will also provide a lasting framework for the analysis of Québec and Canadian politics long after the class is over, and will allow students to examine their basic assumptions and prejudices in a more coherent fashion. Québec: Basic Realities Ideally, students who have completed the course should understand that Québec is a multifaceted society whose people are very much a committed part of the North American fabric, and who are determined to contribute in a significant way to the body of knowledge which measures development in any modern society. They continue to differentiate between integration and assimilation, however, and share a commitment to maintain their unique cultural existence within an increasingly global world. Students need to appreciate that there is a general consensus on this matter, that this sentiment transcends party lines, and most importantly, that this "engagement général" is not considered to be radical, anti-anglophone or antiCanadian by the great majority of Québécois. Regardless of their party affiliation, the Québécois have come to identify a number of tools that they consider essential to maintaining their language, culture, and heritage. They feel that Québec must continue to control

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Boucher, Marc