Pierre Trudeau Federalism

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In the essay, “Federalism, Nationalism, and Reason”, Pierre Trudeau addresses the history and origins of self-determination and nationalism and its central role in federal statehood, he then discusses the interactions of federalism and nationalism in a Canadian context. Trudeau posits major arguments that will be assessed in this review. First, he postures that that the federal state is driven by self-determination and nationalism, which ultimately makes it unstable due to its foundation in emotionalism rather than reason. Second, Trudeau outlines the historical factors that resulted in the separatist narrative in Quebec and claims that Canadian nationalism cannot combat Quebec’s regional nationalism.
Trudeau begins the essay with a historical
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316). Rocher draws upon the same historical timeline as Trudeau when he alludes to the period of modernization in Quebec after WWII, however he focuses on the distribution of autonomy and responsibility to provinces for managing their own institutions separate from the central government (p. 316). The transfer of health care, education, social services, and economic development was representative of the pragmatism of the constitution and the sharing of jurisdictions between regional and central governments (p. 316). Although there is no mention of the role of nationalism by Rocher, he thoroughly mentions the role the central government plays in ensuring national unity, he describes the position of the federal government as “having to consult, coordinate and, inevitably, compromise in the face of mounting federal-provincial conflict”, this is connected to the discussion of compromise between the central and regional governments described by Trudeau (p.…show more content…
Institutional and historical analysis often portray the motives of governments, especially in the cases of Quebec separatism and Aboriginal mistreatment. History describes attempts at compromise to rectify the problems by altering political institutions to provide more autonomy to the provinces, witness in various accords and the methods described previously. However, in regards to Aboriginals a historical relationship of exploitation and eradication sheds on the systemic issues that Aboriginals cope with and the institutions that caused them. As scholars of Canadian politics, it is important to consider historical and institutional analyses when looking at any issue, as it reveals the underlying motives of actors in regards to the cleavages that comprise a state. This is especially evident in Trudeau’s account of how over-zealous nationalism prevented Quebec from modernizing prior to WWII, setting it behind the rest of the
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