Author: François Cardinal

Quand le ‘Bye Bye’ Éloigne les Deux Solitudes

The French language article that follows, co-published with La Presse, has been adapted by the author from his January 17 Quillette essay, Why Quebec Isn’t Interested in Anglo Lectures About Cultural Appropriation.  * * * “What does Quebec want?” La question a hanté le Canada pendant des décennies, particulièrement durant la période d’effervescence nationaliste des années 60. La population anglophone du pays cherchait alors à comprendre la “différence québécoise,” à percer le mystère de ces curieux francophones qui ne voulaient plus se faire appeler Canadiens français. Une cinquantaine d’années plus tard, le contexte a complètement changé. La souveraineté a été laissée de côté. Les grandes revendications constitutionnelles ont disparu des manchettes. Et le gouvernement est dirigé par un parti fédéraliste…qui fait face à une opposition officielle fédéraliste. Et pourtant, le Québec continue malgré tout de faire entendre sa différence haut et fort. On pourrait même dire que certains débats actuels font ressortir avec encore plus d’acuité le caractère véritablement distinct du Québec, à commencer par celui qui fait régulièrement les manchettes ces temps-ci : l’appropriation culturelle. * …

Why Quebec Isn’t Interested in Anglo Lectures About Cultural Appropriation

What does Quebec want? It’s a question that has haunted the rest of Canada for decades—beginning with the birth of modern Québécois nationalism in the 1960s. The country’s English-speaking population has long endeavoured to understand Quebec’s “distinct society,” to solve the mystery of those peculiar Francophones who didn’t want to be relegated to the status of mere Canadiens Français. More than a half century later, the context has changed completely. The sovereigntist political project has been put on hold. Constitutional challenges have disappeared from the headlines. And Quebec’s National Assembly is controlled by a federalist (i.e. against separation) government, and confronted by a federalist official opposition. The separatist Parti québécois, meanwhile, which gave the province its two separation referenda in 1980 and 1995, has been relegated to a more minor role. And yet, Quebec continues to loudly tout its differences, even if this does not take place in the realm of politics. It could even be said that certain current discussions are bringing out Quebec’s truly distinct character even more forcefully—particularly the debate around the …