British Journal of Canadian Studies

Two nations in Canada: the New Democratic Party, the Waffle movement and nationalism in Quebec

British Journal of Canadian Studies (2017), 30, (1), 1–22.

Abstract

This article examines the influence of the Waffle movement, a short-lived attempt by members of the New Democratic Party (NDP) to shift the party to the left, on discussions about Quebec separatism. The Waffle pushed the NDP on policies related to Quebec nationalism in the late 1960s and early 1970s at a time when nationalist sentiment was growing among Quebeckers. Waffle members argued that the NDP should recognise that Canada comprised two distinct nations and that alliances could be created among socialists in English and French Canada that could advance Canadian nationalism. However, they also insisted that Quebec had the right to self-determination and should be allowed to separate if it was the will of the people. The NDP has long struggled with the national question and, while the Waffle existed for only a short time, it made an important contribution to ongoing debates within the party around this issue.

Cet article étudie l’influence du mouvement du Waffle, l’éphémère tentative de la part de certains membres du Nouveau Parti Démocrate (NPD) de faire pencher le parti vers la gauche, sur les discussions touchant au séparatisme québécois. Le Waffle a poussé le NPD sur des politiques liées au nationalisme québécois vers la fin des années soixante et au début des années soixante-dix, à une époque où le sentiment nationaliste se développait parmi les Québécois. Les membres du Waffle soutenaient que le NPD devait reconnaître que le Canada comprenait deux nations distinctes et que des alliances pouvaient être créées entre le Canada francophone et anglophone afin de faire avancer le nationalisme canadien. Ils insistaient cependant que le Québec avait le droit à l’autodétermination et devrait pouvoir se séparer, si c’était la volonté du peuple. Le NPD se bat depuis longtemps avec la question nationale, et, bien que le Waffle n’a existé que pendant peu de temps, il a fortement marqué les débats continus au sein de parti sur cette question.

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Lexier, Roberta