By Yarema Kelebay and William Brooks
This article was first published in the News and Chronicle, Montreal, Thursday, March 13, 1980 under the headline: “Serious thinking needed on the real conflict in Quebec.” It was also published in the Ottawa Citizen on Wednesday, March 26, 1980 under the headline: “Canada’s a nation divided by ideology not culture” Translated into French as: “Conflit de peuples ou d’ideolgies?” it was published on the editorial page of Le Monde, Paris, Friday, May 6, 1980. Four articles from Canada where featured in Le Monde on the eve of the forthcoming Quebec referendum. Two were for and two against the Quebec independence movement.
Over the next few months Canadians will be doing some serious thinking about what our pundits call the “French – English conflict.”
Lord Durham’s description of “two nations warring in the bosom of a single state” has been kept alive by generations of authors, poets, playwrights and politicians. On the eve of the Quebec referendum most Canadians still accept this nineteenth century image of a struggle between two adversary peoples; the English and the French.
We continue to be preoccupied with a cultural dualism expressed as “two solitudes” and fundamentally grounded in language differences. There is, however, some doubt as to whether or not this is an accurate description of our predicament.
Undeniably, there are stylistic differences between French and English Canadians. The question is: Do they amount to insurmountable barriers which justify fracturing Canada?