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Interpreting Quebec’s Exile Within the Federation

Selected Political Essays


Guy Laforest

This book combines the approaches of political theory and of intellectual history to provide a lucid account of Québec’s contemporary situation within the Canadian federation.
Guy Laforest considers that the province of Québec, and its inhabitants, are exiled within Canada. They are not fully integrated, politically and constitutionally, nor are they leaving the federation, for now and for the foreseeable future. They are in between these two predicaments. Laforest provides insights into the current workings of the Canadian federation, and some of its key figures of the past fifty years, such as Pierre Elliott Trudeau, René Lévesque, Stephen Harper and Claude Ryan.
The book also offers thought-provoking studies of thinkers and intellectuals such as James Tully, Michel Seymour and André Burelle. Laforest revisits some key historical documents and events, such as the Durham Report and the 1867 and 1982 constitutional documents. He offers political and constitutional proposals that could contribute to help Québec moving beyond the current predicament of internal exile.
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This book owes a lot to the Groupe de recherche sur les sociétés plurinationales (GRSP), led by my colleague and friend Alain-G. Gagnon at the Université du Québec à Montréal. This research group, founded in 1994, currently includes the following colleagues: Eugénie Brouillet, Dean of Law, and Jocelyn Maclure, from the Faculty of Philosophy, at my host institution Université Laval; Dimitri Karmis, André Lecours, and François Rocher from the Écoles d’études politiques (School of Political Studies) at the Université d’Ottawa; José Woehrling, from the Faculty of Law at the Université de Montréal; Geneviève Nootens, from the Département de sciences humaines (Department of Human Sciences) at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi; and, James Tully, from the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria. The GRSP has had various grants over the years from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture. These grants have been instrumental for researching and writing many of the chapters found in this book. I am grateful to both granting agencies. I have also benefited from the support of my own institution, through the Aid to Publication Program of the Faculté des sciences sociales at l’Université Laval. I also want to express my thanks for this support.

As this book’s front page suggests, I have benefited immensely from the support of Oscar Mejia Mesa, one of my...

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