Vulnerabilities and Opportunities
Edited by Harald Baldersheim and Michael Keating
Chapter 8: Small nation versus small states: the case of Quebec
Quebecers have historically lived in a vulnerable political situation that involves a form of political, economic and financial dependency vis-a-vis the Canadian central government. The power and resources of the government of Quebec have always been limited. Faced with this situation, the government and civil society in Quebec have developed strategies and practices to create room for manoeuvre or an internal buffer in the federal system. They have developed since the 1960s the ‘modele québécois’, or Quebec model, in order to cope with some of these difficulties. The first strategy was the construction of a Quebec national state at the provincial level. The government of Quebec became the ‘national government’ of the Quebec nation. The fundamental goal of this state is to promote and develop the nation of Quebec. The second strategy was to become directly involved in international affairs through identity paradiplomacy, the aim of which is to construct and reinforce Quebec’s national identity by undertaking international actions abroad. The government of Quebec became a strong supporter of free trade in the 1980s in order to facilitate its exports to the United States but also to limit the power of the Canadian government to intrude in its field of jurisdiction. The last strategy was to structure Quebec society through the creation of concerted action mechanisms to develop a unique development model in Canada, the ‘modele québécois’.
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