ONE CANADA, Deux nations, A Canada of 13 States?

  Niagara Falls, Ontario,
Thursday, April 17, 2008
by: Joe Hueglin

The wedge issue in the 1968 Federal Election of June 25th was the term "Deux Nation". Forty years later linguistic differences present the same challenge to which has been added Stephen Harper's view of the nature of Confederation.

In French there are two words with differing denotations: "L'Etat"- a land area independent of all others, "La Nation", a group of people with a sense of cultural commonality.

The word nation in English is used for both a self-governing land area and its body of citizens. As well it is used for distinctive cultural groups as in Six Nations, the Mohawk, the Oneida, the Onondaga, the Cayuga, the Seneca and the Tuscarora,


The citizenry, the nation of Canada in this sense, has two major sub-divisions: The English-speaking Canadian Nation; the French-speaking la nation canadienne-française.La nation québécoise is a sub-set of la nation canadienne-française as is as well la nation acadienne. Its members are overwhelmingly resident in the Province of Quebec, a sub-set of the country/state/nation of Canada. There are, however, members resident in other terrritorial and provincial sub-sets of Canada.

Parliamentary recognition of "la nation québécoise" is of a cultural group. It does not refer to the Province of Quebec, a political entity, nor to all the residents of Quebec for there are some hundreds of thousands of the English-speaking Canadian Nation resident in the province.

Difficulties continue to exist affording the opportunity to sow confusion for political purpose through which meaning of the term "nation" is meant.

One term that is completely unacceptable and must be challenged where and whenever used is "The Quebec Nation" for it denotes the existence of L'Etat du Quebec, an independent political entity, which interestingly is the title of a website.

Confusing? You betcha - try explaining it when knocking on doors.

Trudeau won in 1968 by standing for ONE NATION against a misinterpretation of Deux Nations.

The challenge to-day is Harper's answer to the question "A Canada of 13 States?" A challenge to which those of us holding progressive-conservative political beliefs must respond. But more on that later.


Joe Hueglin

The country designates a geographical entity while the government is the institution that runs the state and the nation about it - not to be confused with the State always except in the model of the nation-state.
1. The Wikipedia French language definition of "state" translated into English

2. The Wikipedia French language definition of "nation" translated into English


3. How the various parts of Canadian government are interpreted in the province of Quebec




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