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Nationalism in Quebec and Canadian Politics

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During the twentieth century, Canada as a nation witnessed and endured several historical events that have had a deep and profound influence on Canadian politics. The most influential and constant force in twentieth century Canadian politics has been the increasing power and command of Quebec nationalism and the influence it has had on Canadian politics today. Quebec nationalism has shaped the structure and dynamics of Canadian federalism from a centralized to a decentralized form of federal government (Beland and Lecours 2010, 423). The decentralization of several sectors within the Canadian government has been a direct effect of Quebec nationalism. Decentralization has led to more autonomy among the provincial governments, especially in the province of Quebec. This paper will argue that Quebec nationalism has affected Canadian politics through decentralization. Most importantly, the decentralization of Canadian politics can be determined constitutionally, institutionally, and politically.

In order to fully understand the impact that Quebec nationalism has had on Canadian politics, it is important to first understand the roots of Quebec nationalism. Quebec was founded in 1608, originally called New France, by the French (McRoberts 1991, 412). However in 1759 New France came under power of the British (McRoberts 1991, 412). British rule did not lead to assimilation therefore the Francophone language and culture was preserved despite the initial intention of British authorities that it should. (McRoberts 1991, 413). In 1837, Quebec was merged with the predominately English-speaking colony of Britain, Upper Canada (McRoberts 1991, 413). Together Quebec and the English-speaking colony created Lower and Upper Canada, respectively...

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