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Journal ArticleDOI

Quebec Labour and the Referendums

Larry Savage1
01 Dec 2008-Canadian Journal of Political Science (Cambridge University Press)-Vol. 41, Iss: 04, pp 861-887
TL;DR: The authors conducted an institutional comparative analysis of Quebec's three largest trade union centrals with a view to demonstrating that organized labour's primary basis for supporting sovereignty has changed considerably over time, while unions have tended to downplay class division in favour of an emphasis on Quebec's uniqueness and the importance of preserving the collective francophone identity of the nation.
Abstract: . The Quebec labour movement's decision to withdraw its support for Canada's federal system in the 1970s and instead embrace the sovereignist option was unquestionably linked to the intersection of class and nation in Quebec. In this period, unions saw the sovereignist project as part of a larger socialist or social democratic societal project. Because the economic inequalities related to ethnic class, which fuelled the labour movement's support for sovereignty in the 1970s, were no longer as prevalent by the time of Quebec's 1995 referendum, organized labour's continued support for the sovereignist option in the post-referendum period cannot adequately be explained using the traditional lens of class and nation. This paper employs an institutional comparative analysis of Quebec's three largest trade union centrals with a view to demonstrating that organized labour's primary basis for supporting sovereignty has changed considerably over time. While unions have not completely abandoned a class-based approach to the national question, they have tended to downplay class division in favour of an emphasis on Quebec's uniqueness and the importance of preserving the collective francophone identity of the nation. Party–union relations, the changing cultural, political and economic basis of the sovereignist project and the emergence of neoliberalism in Quebec are offered as key explanatory factors for the labour movement's shift in focus.Resume. La decision du mouvement syndical quebecois de retirer son soutien du systeme federal, dans les annees 1970, et d'embrasser l'option souverainiste, a ete liee incontestablement a l'intersection de classe et nation au Quebec. Dans cette periode, les syndicats ont vu le projet souverainiste en tant qu'element d'un plus grand projet de societe a caractere social democratique ou socialiste. Toutefois, puisque les inegalites economiques associees a la classe ethnique qui avaient pousse le mouvement syndical dans le camp de la souverainete n'etaient plus aussi prononcees lors du referendum de 1995, l'analyse traditionnelle de classe et nation ne peut plus expliquer le maintien de sa position souverainiste durant la periode postreferendaire. Cet article se fonde sur une analyse comparative et institutionnelle des trois plus grandes centrales syndicales quebecoises en vue de demontrer que les motifs premiers de l'appui syndical au projet souverainiste ont change considerablement avec le temps. Meme si les syndicats n'ont pas completement abandonne l'approche militante surla question nationale, ils ont relegue les divisions de classes au second plan et plutot mis l'accent sur le caractere distinct du Quebec et sur l'importance de preserver l'identite francophone collective de la nation. Les relations entre les syndicats et les partis politiques, la base culturelle, politique et economique du projet souverainiste, et l'introduction du neoliberalisme au Quebec sont presentees en tant que facteurs principaux expliquant l'evolution de la position syndicale a l'egard de la question nationale.
Citations
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Dissertation
01 Jun 2016
TL;DR: The authors examines the changing patterns of intergovernmental relations among political elites toward sensitive constitutional issues implicated in the Quebec sovereignty movement, in particular after the 1995 referendum on Quebec sovereignty-association, and argues that this is partially explicable in light of the fact actors such as the courts, federalist political leaders, and their parties have been willing to avoid discussing sensitive constitutional abeyances and leave them unresolved in the interests of avoiding a constitutional crisis.
Abstract: This dissertation examines the changing patterns of intergovernmental relations among political elites toward sensitive constitutional issues implicated in the Quebec sovereignty movement, in particular after the 1995 referendum on Quebec sovereignty-association. It extends David Thomas’ concept of constitutional “abeyances” to suggest that areas of constitutional ambiguity over which there are strong enough disagreements to lead to a national breakup can be successfully managed given enough political will. This depends on their being enough political actors who otherwise share a common interest in national unity willing to keep abeyances from escalating into a crisis. The exposure and politicization of such abeyances in the middle of the 20 century raised the salience of constitutional disagreements in Canada nearly to the point of national disintegration. The decline in the salience of these abeyances and the waning of support for sovereignty in Quebec since the last referendum has reduced this possibility substantially. Using a mixed method approach within an historical institutionalist framework, this dissertation argues that, along with other social forces, this is partially explicable in light of the fact actors such as the courts, federalist political leaders, and their parties have been willing to avoid discussing sensitive constitutional abeyances and leave them unresolved in the interests of avoiding a constitutional crisis. This has certainly not resulted in end of the sovereignty movement in Quebec, which remains very much alive. However, along with other political and iii social forces the willingness to keep deep constitutional disagreements camouflaged has permitted Canadian federalism to regain a measure of stability.

19 citations

Dissertation
13 Dec 2010
TL;DR: In this article, the authors examine the history of the Quebec labour union movement and its relationship with the nationalist cause and conclude that there is an essential incompatibility between institutions calculated to represent working-class interests and movements founded upon a struggle for cultural recognition and the assertion of national interests.
Abstract: An examination of the recent and contemporary Quebec labour union movement and its relationship with the nationalist cause might incline the observer to conclude that this powerful synthesis of what are in fact two separate sets of collective interests is a recent phenomenon sparked by Quebec’s Quiet Revolution. In fact, these two aspects of collective and individual self and their expression through institutional forms have evolved together over the last two centuries. A further examination of the broader historical pattern demonstrates that aspects of shared linguistic and cultural identity have always at the very least qualified, and most often significantly muted expressions of working class interests and identity. In fact, save for a brief period from the Quiet Revolution to the first mandate of the Parti Quebecois in 1976, working class collaboration with other class fractions in Quebec ostensibly made in the greater interests of linguistic and cultural solidarity have generally cost the working classes a premium, while actually working to the benefit of other class partners. This historical pattern combined with the increasing influence of a neo-liberal ideological position within the Quebec “state” leads to a certain conclusion: that there is an essential incompatibility between institutions calculated to represent working-class interests and movements founded upon a struggle for cultural recognition and the assertion of national interests. While the former seek the elimination or reduction of socio-economic differences, the latter seek only a cycling of dominant elites, resulting in the same dominant class relations under a different cultural elite fraction.

17 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors examined changes in levels of confidence in unions and proposed an intra-national comparison between Quebec and the rest of Canada based on the analysis of the three most recent waves of the World Values Survey (WVS) database, of which Canada is part (i.e. 1990, 2000, 2006).
Abstract: This article examines changes in levels of confidence in unions and proposes an intra-national comparison between Quebec and the rest of Canada based on the analysis of the three most recent waves of the World Values Survey (WVS) database, of which Canada is part (i.e. 1990, 2000, 2006). After noting differences in the trends of confidence in unions in these two regions, we applied the same logistic regression model to both regions, based on the 2006 WVS wave, in order to bring out the determinants of the propensity of individuals to express confidence in unions. The results show both similarities and differences between the two regions. As for the similarities between Quebec and the rest of Canada, it should be noted that involvement in politics and the fact of being unionized had a positive effect on the respondents’ propensity to have confidence in unions whereas most of the socio-demographic variables had no significant effects. As for the differences, the fact of reporting a higher income had a significant negative impact in Quebec, but was not significant in the rest of Canada. The fact of supporting the NDP in the rest of Canada had a more structuring effect on the propensity of individuals to have confidence in unions than the fact of supporting the BQ in Quebec. Moreover, the greater the extent to which citizens in Quebec identified with left-leaning ideological positions, the more likely they were to have confidence in unions. Finally, the respondent’s level of education was not significant in the rest of Canada but, cetiris paribus, was highly significant and positively related to confidence in unions in Quebec.

12 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, a traves d'entrevistes en profunditat amb els seus principals liders, de documentacio institucional i de bibliografia especifica reconstruim un cas particular que ens permetra, en comparar-lo amb Catalunya, valorar the importancia que te la societat civil dins del nacionalisme.
Abstract: Aquest article es proposa reconstruir la historia de la societat civil al Quebec (Canada) per posar-la en relacio amb el nacionalisme, l'ascens de l'estat de benestar, els sindicats, l'esglesia i la societat civil, les forces vives de la societat. A traves d'entrevistes en profunditat amb els seus principals liders, de documentacio institucional i de bibliografia especifica reconstruim un cas particular que ens permetra, en comparar-lo amb Catalunya, valorar la importancia que te la societat civil dins del nacionalisme. En general aquest actor no sol ser tingut en compte ni posat en el centre del debat, a diferencia per exemple dels partits politics, dels seus liders o dels intel·lectuals. Actualment, en un context de crisi de l'estat i dels partits politics, hem comencat a considerar que la societat civil pot ser un factor determinant per la seva capacitat de generar aliances entre sectors, de construir hegemonies i de dialogar de forma directa amb la poblacio. La proposta es divideix en quatre apartats: 1) el desenvolupament del marc teoric i la construccio analitica de l’objecte d’estudi i les hipotesis; 2) una analisi sobre la importancia que va tenir la societat civil al Quebec en la construccio del moviment nacionalista; 3) una comparacio amb el cas Catala; i 4) unes conclusions.

11 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: Learning to Look as mentioned in this paper is a collection of essays on the epistemological dimensions of representation, with a focus on Gallant's work on light and vision, and it is recommended to anyone interested in contemporary writing.
Abstract: university of toronto quarterly, volume 72, number 1, winter 2002/3 Learning to Look sometimes implies B memory is described as having the potential to >be turned into a constructive source of healing= B Clement=s speculative forays into the epistemological dimensions of representation are quite valuable, especially since these topics have obviously preoccupied Gallant. To this end, Clement is fluidly conversant with the work of Rudolph Arnheim, Arthur C. Danto, and Susan Sontag, among many others, though I=m surprised that, given her interests, Clement didn=t include Maurice Merleau-Ponty=s work on light and vision. All said, the book is certainly rich as it is. Gallant enthusiasts will be grateful for this study, but so will others; Learning to Look is to be recommended to anyone interested in contemporary writing. (MICHAEL TRUSSLER)

10 citations

References
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Book
Peter A. Hall1
01 Jan 1986
TL;DR: Hall as mentioned in this paper explores the origins of Britain's economic problems and develops a striking new argument about the sources of decline, and analyzes the evolution of economic policy in postwar Britain from the development of Keynesianism to the rise of monetarism under Margaret Thatcher.
Abstract: For over one hundred years, the British economy has been in decline relative to other industrialized countries. This book explores the origins of Britain's economic problems and develops a striking new argument about the sources of decline. It goes on to analyze the evolution of economic policy in postwar Britain from the development of Keynesianism to the rise of monetarism under Margaret Thatcher. France, by contrast, experienced an economic miracle in the postwar period. Hall argues that the French state transformed itself and then its society through an extensive system of state intervention. In the recent period, however, the French system has encountered many difficulties, and the book locates their sources in the complex interaction between state and society in France culminating in the socialist experiment of Francois Mitterrand. Through his insightful, comparative examination of policy-making in Britain and France, Hall develops a new approach to state-society relations that emphasizes the crucial role of institutional structures.

1,401 citations

Book
09 Dec 1992
TL;DR: The case of German Handwerk co-determination and the German automobile industry in the 1970s and 1980s from national corporatism to transnational pluralism are discussed in this article.
Abstract: Productive constraints on the institutional conditions of diversified quality production revising status and contract - pluralism, corporatism and flexibility interest heterogeneity and organizing capacity - two class logics of collective action? the logics of associative action and the territorial organization of interests - the case of German Handwerk co-determination - the fourth decade successful adjustment to turbulent markets - the German automobile industry in the 1970s and 1980s from national corporatism to transnational pluralism - organized interests in the Single European Market, (with Phillipe C. Schmitter).

438 citations


"Quebec Labour and the Referendums" refers background in this paper

  • ...…of labour, associated with the broader institutional literature in political science, emphasizes the historical macropolitical and macro-economic factors which shape the context in which labour organizations function ~for example, Berger, 1981; Hall, 1986; Locke and Thelen, 1995; Streeck, 1992!....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors lay out an alternative research strategy based on what they call ''contextualized comparisons'' for cross-national comparisons, and demonstrate how common international pressures are in fact refracted into divergent struggles over particular national practices.
Abstract: Introduction Common challenges (e.g., changing conditions of international competition, massive industrial change, pressures for the decentralization of bargaining and increased \"flexibility\") confront labor movements in all the advanced industrial states. The new terms of international competition and technological innovation have radically altered markets and the organization of production. The simultaneous globalization and segmentation of national markets has rendered traditional business practices in all advanced industrial nations less effective. Technological innovations have not only shortened product life cycles but also created opportunities for firms to compete along a variety of new dimensions. 2 The break-up of national markets has spurred individual firms and even entire industries to experiment with a variety of alternative business strategies that test and/or transcend traditional industrial relations practices. Everywhere, unions have encountered new pressures for greater \"flexibility\", often in connection with demands from employers for a decentralization of bargaining. 3 This article examines the implications these changes hold for students of labor as they seek to make sense of emerging new patterns of labor success and failure, and of institutional resiliency and breakdown. The conventional approach to these questions is to focus on a single process like bargaining decentralization or work reorganization, and to use this as the basis for cross-national comparisons. In this article, we lay out an alternative research strategy based on what we call \"contextualized comparisons.\" This alternative approach builds on and extends previous research by a number of labor scholars working from different theoretical and methodological perspectives. In particular, we rely heavily on recent institutionalist and what we call \"political constructionist\" analyses. 4 By pushing the core categories of institutional analysis, we demonstrate how common international pressures are in fact refracted into divergent struggles over particular national practices. Then, drawing on the insights of the political constructionist approach, we show why within any given country certain issues (and not others) spark intense conflict because of the way they are connected to the foundations on which union identities themselves rest. Contextualized comparisons are not meant to displace but rather complement traditional \"matched comparisons;\" they bring new insights to labor scholarship by highlighting unexpected parallels 1 across cases that the conventional literature sees as very different, and conversely, by underscoring significant differences between cases typically seen as \"most similar.\" This article is divided into three sections. The first part outlines the traditional approach to comparative labor research and assesses its relative strengths and weaknesses. …

352 citations


"Quebec Labour and the Referendums" refers background in this paper

  • ...…of labour, associated with the broader institutional literature in political science, emphasizes the historical macropolitical and macro-economic factors which shape the context in which labour organizations function ~for example, Berger, 1981; Hall, 1986; Locke and Thelen, 1995; Streeck, 1992!....

    [...]

Book
01 Jan 1997
TL;DR: The first century: Separate nationalities as discussed by the authors, the 1960s: coming to terms with duality and Quebec Nationalism 3. Trudeau and the New Federal Orthodoxy: Denying the Quebec Question Part Two: MAKING A NEW CANADA 4. Official Bilingualism: Linguistic Equality from Sea to Sea 5. Multiculturalism: Reining in Duality 6. Federalism and the Constitution: Entrenching the Trudeau Vision 7. The Failure of the Trudeau Strategy Part Three: FAILING TO REPAIR THE DAMAGE 8. Bringing Quebec into
Abstract: Introduction: What Went Wrong? PART ONE: TWO VISIONS OF CANADA 1. The First Century: Separate Nationalities 2. The 1960s: Coming to Terms with Duality and Quebec Nationalism 3. Trudeau and the New Federal Orthodoxy: Denying the Quebec Question PART TWO: MAKING A NEW CANADA 4. Official Bilingualism: Linguistic Equality from Sea to Sea 5. Multiculturalism: Reining in Duality 6. Federalism and the Constitution: Entrenching the Trudeau Vision 7. The Failure of the Trudeau Strategy PART THREE: FAILING TO REPAIR THE DAMAGE 8. Bringing Quebec into the Constitution: Missing Two Chances 9. The 1995 Quebec Referendum: Making Sovereignty a Real Possibility 10. Conclusion: Is Separation the Only Answer? Bibliography Index

221 citations