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Beyond multinational federalism: reflections on nations and nationalism in Canada

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  • Politics


This article addresses the problem of managing nationalism in multination states by evaluating the influential multination federal model, as put forward by a group of Canadian scholars. Finding that it employs an overly primordial view of nations, the article argues that John Hutchinson’s approach, which foregrounds the conflict of nationalisms that occurs within nations, offers a better lens from which to bring to light the sources of unity and disunity in multination states. To illustrate this, the article discusses the conflict of nationalisms in Canada, suggesting that a debate over the merits of pan-Canadian nationalism within English Canada and French Québec can be identified. In failing to account for this, the article argues that the multination federal model risks (1) marginalizing French-speaking Quebecers who support pan-Canadian nationalism and (2) encouraging English Canadian nationalism. To conclude, the article suggests that models seeking to mitigate the potential centrifugal effects of nationalism should avoid privileging one type of nationalism over another.

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