Essay: Transcultural Montréal – The problem of identity, the search of a (transcultural) identity.

Historical overview
Canada multiculturalism/mosaic
Quebec French situation Quiet Revolution
immigration in Canada’ Quebec —> Montréal minorities
Theories minorities/ecriture migrante/identity/immigration/transculturality in relation to Qu??bec.
‘Qu??becoises de souche’ (.Francine Noel/Monique Proulx)
‘Gli italianesi’ (Salvatore/D’Alfonso)
french-jewish (Bosco/Robin)



Canada, the Eldorado of hopes and dreams of a myriad of ethnicities, cultures and peoples, from the great explorers of the Renaissance to our times, with its intense but short history (compared for instance to Europe and the ancient times), has seen the come and go footprints of millions of people coming from all over the world and for many different reasons. This explains the multicultural and multiethnic character of a country that welcomes, still today, the most varied cultures, adopted and integrated in a surprising balance but despite everything still in on-going search for their own identity. The coexistence of several peoples on this territory, which gives in fact an unusual charm to its changeable identity, but makes it also an easy target of insecurities of those who lack an univocal and reliable point of reference. The subject of immigration is a growing theme nowadays in a broad range of studies, for economical, historical, sociological and postcolonial studies it is important as a lot of countries are dealing now with the new phenomenon of (mass) immigration. Canada was until the Second World War known for its two solitudes, a term introduced in 1945 by Hugh McLennan to describe the ‘lack of communication’ between the Francophone and Anglophone society. The English and French were the two dominant groups in Canada, even though the only ones with a historical claim were the First Nations. Different than the ‘melting pot’ of the United States of America, in Canada we speak of a cultural ‘mosaic’, which is a result of their multiculturalism policy. Canada has been the first country in the world to implement multiculturalism as an official policy with the Bill C-93, ‘an Act for the preservation and enhancement of multiculturalism in Canada’. Whereas in the ‘melting pot’ immigrants are more stimulated to cut off ties with their home country to be able to assimilate in the new adoptive country, Canada’s mosaic is based on the principle that every Canadian citizen is equal and all have the right to preserve their cultural heritage. Canada ‘recognizes, through multiculturalism, the potential of all Canadians, encouraging them to integrate into their society and take an active part in its social, cultural, economic and political affairs.’
Over the years the number of ethnic minorities in Canada has risen drastically. In 2001 the percentage of people born outside of Canada was the highest in 70 years, making up 18,4% of the total population. A majority of 91% of the 6,8 million immigrants in Canada lived in one of the biggests metropolitan areas, such as Toronto, Vancouver and Montréal. In Montréal reside 9 out of 10 of the immigrants who come to the province of Quebec, which makes it a multicultural and ethnically very diverse metropole. Nowadays Montréal doesn’t only exist out of the French and British descendants, but more than one third of the population has its roots elsewhere. It is inevitable to go beyond the idea of only the two solitudes, as the Italian-Canadian professor Filippo Salvatore stated: ‘…the 1980s should be seen as the time of the three solitudes.’ The 1980s were for Quebec an important time of transition; in 1977 the Bill 101 (Loi 101) was adopted , which made French the only official language of the province, government and workplace. Besides the language the Qu??bec society was a society in transition of being rural, agricultural and catholique to being modern, industrialized, secular and especially determined to think in terms of country, nation and the Qu??b??cois were marching towards independence. Suddenly the immigrants were of significance in the political game, because they could help to increase the French-speaking community, even though the flow of immigration was seen at the same time paradoxically:

Mais c’est seulement au Qu??bec qu’un tel flux s’est inscrit dans un double processus: la forte affirmation d’une identit?? nationale, francophone, edifi??e pierre et pierre et l’??mergence d’un tissu urbain transculturel qui interpelle, subvertit et contribue ?? l’??clatement d’une mono-identit?? nationale-francophone.
(Berrou??t-Oriol and Fournier, pp. 11)

Because of the changing society questions of national identity came to rise, which created a space for a new literary current examining the different Qu??b??cois identities. Cl??ment Moisan and Renate Hildebrand (2001) have created a classification of the contribution of immigrants to the Qu??b??cois literature into four periods: l’uniculturel (1937-1959), le pluriculturel (1960-1974), l’interculturel (1975-1985) and le transculturel (1986-present). Susan Ireland and Patrice J. Proulx (2004, pp. 2) mention ‘the explosion of Qu??b??cois literature written in French by authors of immigrant origin’ and they name the year 1983 as being the turning point in Qu??b??cois literature, with the publication of the novel of R??gine Robin La Qu??b??coite (1983), and the start of the transcultural journal Vice Versa, with the Italian-Canadians Fulvio Caccia and Lamberto Tassinari among others as founders. The writers who were part of this ‘big explosion’ came from places all over the world, Europe, Asia, Latin-America, Africa and the Caribbean and they have brought a lot of cultural diversity into the Qu??b??cois literature. Given the fact that immigrant writers such as Dany Laferri??re, Sergio Kokis, Abla Farhoud and Ying Chen have obtained prestigious literary prizes in and outside Qu??b??c, we can assume the important role they currently play in Qu??b??cois literature. The significance of immigrants to the Qu??b??c contemporary literature is not only visible in the works of immigrant writers themselves, but also in the works of non-immigrant writers the theme of immigration is present. Writers such as Monique Proulx and Francine No??l have taken on a perception of Montréal in which we see the city as a multicultural metropole ‘formed of contributions from each of its characteristic ethnic groups.’
Ireland and Proulx (2004) mention the difficulties of describing and categorizing this new literature, scholars labelled it as: ‘ethnic, transcultural, neo-Qu??b??cois, immigrant, postcolonial, minor, multicultural and post-national’. Now scholars prefer to use the term l’ecriture migrante (the writing in movement), because it evades making a classification based on ethnicity, but it combines at the same time a broad perspective of literary concepts such as diversity, hybridity, deterritorialization, exile and rootlessness.
In the first part of this thesis, in order to make it easier to understand, we would like to give a comprehensive summary of the historical events of this country, the enormity of the phenomenon of immigration, and in particular the valuable contribution of immigrants to the wealth of a country, with yet a highly complex identity. In the first chapter we would like to clarify the origin and evolution of the linguistic, political and cultural duality of Canada, from the time of the discovery, to the colonization, to the everlasting conflict between the francophone and anglophone anima of the country, still represented today by the separatist sentiment in French Qu??bec.
We take as point of departure the last period of the classification of Moisan and Hildebrand (2001), the transcultural period, and explore the influence of immigrants on the Qu??b??cois culture and literature and identity.
We will dedicate some chapters to more deeply into concepts like multiculturalism, transculturality, hybridity, identity, l’ecriture migrante, the Other and otherness, exile, rootlessness, all in consideration and relation to the situation in Qu??bec, by discussing theories of renowned scholars as Simon Harel, Svante Lindberg, Jurgen H??bermas, Antonio D’Alfonso, Filippo Salvatore, Sherry Simon, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Edward Said.
Subsequently we would like to give an in-depth review on contemporary Qu??b??c literature by discussing and comparing the works of immigrant and nonimmigrant writers taking in account the concepts discussed in the previous chapters. We would like to answer questions as: How is the immigrant experience in Qu??bec represented in contemporary Qu??b??cois literature? How do these writers position themselves with their works into a transcultural Montréal? Do the immigrant writers express a sense of nostalgia for their (idealised) homeland or do they break with their roots? How do immigrant writers preserve their cultural heritage and create their new identities? Does a ‘Qu??b??cois identity’ exist and in what way do immigrants contribute to it? What’s the importance of language? We have chosen six writers coming out three different groups of the Montréal society, two non-immigrants writers and four immigrant writers, respectively out of the Italian-Canadian society and French-Jewish society in Montréal.
As non immigrant writers we chose the works of Francine No??l – Babel, prise deux ou Nous avons tous d??couvert l’Am??rique (1990) and Monique Proulx – Les aurores Montréales (1996). Two authors qu??b??coises de souche or pure laines who were both influenced by the nationalistic movement in Qu??bec. Babel, prise deux (1990) was the first novel written in French which took as point of view the uprising population of allophones in Montréal and focusses on the first referendum for sovereignty in Qu??bec, which was held in 1980. The proposal of the Parti Qu??b??cois (PQ) to separate the province from the rest of Canada was defeated by a majority of 59,6% and this loss was ascribed to especially the anglophones and conservative Catholic francophones. But No??l focusses in her novel more on this new movement of immigration and she is one of the first to discuss the power the immigrants could have in the society and their importance in for example such referenda. Les aurores Montréales on the other hand was published in 1996, one year after the second referendum for sovereignty of Qu??bec. This time the results were extremely close with 49,42% of the votes for ‘yes’ and 50,58% for ‘no’. The Premier of Qu??bec at that time Jacques Parizeau and the supporters of sovereignty blamed their defeat to the newcomers in the province, because they would have known too little about the history of and the ideology of Qu??bec. In Les aurores Montréales (1996) Proulx shows us different stories of people of different backgrounds and their reactions in the aftermath of this referendum. By studying two Qu??b??cois writers pure laine we would like to explore the views of the Montréalers on immigrants and the minority groups and to what extent they experience Montréal as being a transcultural city. Also we would like to see what it means for them to be ‘Qu??b??cois pure laine’ and to what extent immigrants have influenced this sense of (transcultural) identity.
Besides the point of view of the qu??b??cois de souche we would like to scrutinize two different immigrant groups of Montréal. For the Italian-Canadians we chose Antonio D’Alfonso and Filippo Salvatore, both very well-known and active in the Italian-Canadian society in Montréal as writers and intellectuals. An important theme of many Italo-Qu??b??ois authors is the question of their identity or more specifically their ‘italianity’ (italianit??). Antonio D’Alfonso is besides writer best known for being the founder of Guernica Editions, a publishing house created with as one its aims to close gaps between different cultural groups in Canada, and as one of the founders of the transcultural magazine ViceVersa. On the back of Avril ou l’anti-passion (1990), one of the works we would like to discuss in this thesis, D’Alfonso describes his work as baroque, a literary term widely spread in Qu??bec especially during the 50s and 60s and which Gauvreau (1952) defines as ‘ a work marked by the rush of life’s impulses, by the erratic texture of desire’. This comes back in the novel by the use of various perspectives, the use of a broad range of languages and shiftings between time and places and these baroque utterances are inextricably associated with with the question of cultural diversity. According to Moyes (2001) the term baroque used by D’Alfonso ‘[…] accommodates the hybrid subjectivities and linguistic instability which accompany a history of migration.’ Linguistic hybridity comes back in other works of D’Alfonso, like the poem Babel, published in L’Autre rivage (1987). Critics describe his work as a model for l’??criture migrante and an emblematic example of italo-qu??b??cois literature, according to Filippo Salvatore the work of Antonio D’Alfonso reflects perfectly the current Canadian society, ‘urban, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic reality ‘ the mirror of what contemporary Canada has become’ (Salvatore 1999, p. 100).
Filippo Salvatore is a writer, intellectual, journalist and even politician and known for his contributions to the Italian-Canadian society especially in Montréal. In this thesis we will mainly focus on his poetic works written in Italian, Tufo e Gramigna (1977) and Terre e Infiniti (2012). In the poems of Filippo Salvatore we read the difficulties and struggles of an Italian-Canadian immigrant, living in-between two worlds, but he is also one of the first to write about ‘being an immigrant’ as being an opportunity instead of a defeat. Salvatore defines the Italo-Canadians as italianesi, a hybrid word that shows the two worlds as an unity. Besides his poetic work Salvatore has been credited for numerous scientific works in Italian, English and French, mainly focussed on the Italian-Canadian society in Qu??b??c, as for instance the role of the Italian-Canadians in time of the referendum of 1995 in his work Referendum 1995 (2010), a collection of his articles written before, during and after the referendum. We will explore the hybridity of these Italo-Qu??b??cois authors and their works and how we can place them in a transcultural Montréal.
As last minority group we discuss works of Monique Bosco and R??gine Robin, both from Jewish origin and emigrated from Eastern-Europe to France before coming to Montréal and work of both authors has been especially classified into l’??criture migrante. Both Bosco as Robin go into the themes we saw before as well with the other minority groups, such as exile and identity, the sense of belonging in particular. The novel of R??gine Robin La Qu??b??coite (1983) is considered as being a turning point in the contemporary Qu??b??cois literature that experienced ‘an explosion’ of immigrant writers in French during that time. Given the fact both of them are of Jewish origin their search for identity is a recurring subject in their works, even though most of the characters are not religious, they seem not to be able to avoid their Jewish heritage and are in search to find their own identity. Also here the referendum as the Qu??b??cois nationalism play an important part in the novel, regarded by both women with Argus’ eyes, because nationalism would cause limitations on their own individual identity.
This framework aims to bring out clearly the active contribution of the immigrant to the culture and identity of Canada and Qu??bec and in particular deepen the dialogue between the cultures of European immigrants and the Qu??bec culture with the consistent phenomenon of the liberation of Canadian culture opposing to the European tradition. By discussing various writers of Montréal all of different ethnicities and backgrounds we would like to show Montréal as a transcultural city, with intercultural exchanges and as a representation of cultural diversity. With this thesis we would like to offer an in-depth comparative study of Qu??b??cois contemporary literature in relation to immigration and hopefully bring an input to the ongoing discussion about (transcultural) identity in Qu??bec and the contribution of immigrants.

2. History

In the beginning, long before the European colonizers deprived them, the Canadian territories were inhabited by indigenous peoples: the North was the land of the Inuit and the Algonquins, in the South, in the area of the province Ontario, were living the Hurons, while in the valley on the banks of the St. Lawrence river, were prospering the Amerindians and the Iroquois. The name Canada probably derives from the indigenous word Kanata, meaning ‘village’, in reference to the little village on the side of a hill, inhabited by a group of Iroquois that he first French visitor Jacques Cartier met while going up t he St. Lawrence river. He described this area in his diary under the name ‘Hochelaga’, which is present-day Montréal. The heated disputes on the alleged discovery of Canada by Jacques Cartier already shows with clarity the dichotomy between the so-called founding nations, France and England, that they, even today, vie for historical, political and cultural dominance. The theory of the French discovering Canada has prevailed for centuries, it is actually the official story told and studied until today in schools. Referring to the famous book of Fran??ois-Xavier Garneau: Histoire du Canada depuis sa d??couverte jusqu’?? nos jours (1845), with a strong parochialism, to highlight the rights of the French people on this territory. According to this history Cartier was at the service of the then king of France Francis I, between 1534 and 1536, searching for passageway to the East, but most of all for regions where they could find gold. When he came across this village, he took possession over it and called the new territory la Nouvelle France, as a tribute to his king. Prof. Filippo Salvatore observed acutely that a story written by the victors should always be subjected to revisions, because of the hidden, but actually obvious hagiographic intent. For instance this first French historic was, in fact, strongly refuted by especially, evidently, English historians, but also Italians have their reasons to claim a revision of the history told by Garneau, as they did in the twenties of the twentieth century with the Campagna Caboto. John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto) was a Venetian navigator, in the service of the King of England Henry VII who reached the North American coasts in 1497, before the French hero Cartier. Today by the last historical studies this date is recognized as true. John Cabot, the discoverer of Canada, became the model of multicultural identification, first being a ‘bulwark’ of the British claims of the land and after an important symbol of belonging for the Italian-Canadians.

1.2 The colonization and the long dispute between New France and
New England.

From the end of the fifteenth century and, mainly, throughout the course of the sixteenth century when, in the midst of lush Renaissance period, many European countries began to fund explorations in search of new resources and rich regions to conquer. Primarily for commercial purposes, Canada had become a popular destination especially for the two large states France and England, from that moment on competing not just for the domain but, in fact, for the acknowledgment of the discovery and building the dichotomy nowadays still so evident.
But only as of the 17th century, with the increased frequency of travels to the new continent and the construction of more settlements the true colonization began. The French colonists settled mainly on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, today the region occupied by the province of Qu??bec (La Nouvelle France), while the British were settling more and more on the Atlantic coast, currently the province of Ontario, (New England). However, between the two peoples arose a deep rivalry that led to more frequent and persistent conflicts. Already in 1717 with the Treaty of Utrecht, New England took over numerous territories of the weaker Nouvelle France. The French domination ended finally in 1760 after the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763), fought on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean between France and England. The conflict really worsened in 1759 in the sanguineos Battle of the Plains of Abraham, or the Battle of Qu??bec, which determined the end of the French colony that after the Treaty of Paris of 1763 ceded all its possessions to New England. In 1791, the British government divided the colony into Upper and Lower Canada, allowing the francophones settled in the region to maintain their language, religion, culture and customs in exchange for loyalty to the British crown.
The period after the Conquest was naturally full of uncertainties for the francophone community, that was being excluded systematically. But the French Canadians started to rebel and claim more real legislative and executive powers in the government. London refused their requests and revolts broke out in both of the colonies, with as most famous one the Patriots’ War (1837-1838) leaded by Louis Joseph Papineau. But these revolts were quickly and harshly suppressed by the British. As a result the British government appointed Lord Durham as Governor General of the both Canadas to investigate the circumstances around the revolts. In the following rapport by Lord Durham is written about the French Canadians:’They are a people with no history, and no literature’ As a solution he proposed to assimilation of the francophones into the Anglo Saxon community and the unification of Lower Canada and Upper Canada. And, in fact, only two years later in 1841 the ‘Act of Union’ united the two Canadas under the name the United Province of Canada, with only one Parliament and with English as the only official language, until 1848 when French recuperated its position and became official language as well.
This duality is the base for understanding the Canada of today. In fact, even in 1867 when, with the ‘British North America Act’, the Canadian Confederation was born, the big differences between the two worlds were not overcome. The census of 1870-71 affirms the presence of almost three million inhabitants, one million francophones and almost two million of anglophones. Even the Constitution of 1867, the founding charter of the Confederation, does not eliminate the strong discrepancies that still divide this country and is an unsuccessful attempt to build a nation.
Initially consisting of only four provinces, (Ontario, Qu??bec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick), with the gradual annexation of the others, (Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan) and finally the addition of the three territories, (Nunavut, the Northwest territories and Yukon) it gives shape to what is Canada today, the second-largest country in the world after Russia. Canada, a federal state with Ottawa as political capital and a population of more than 35 million people, has become and is recognized as a real power in the world.

1.3 The Canadian and Quebec ‘question’.

One of Canada’s most striking characteristics is the complicated phenomenon of bilingualism, as a remnant of the historical events we’ve discussed before, and made official in 1969 by law after a proposal of Pierre Elliot Trudeau. The Official Languages Act, states the parallel use of the two languages, French and English, theoretically treated with the same dignity and strictly respected by the government and all federal institutions, with the commitment to provide all services in both languages. As a matter of fact a majority of Canadian provinces is anglophone, except for Qu??bec, that remained predominantly francophone and deserves a separate discussion.
The historical contraposition between the ‘two founding peoples’, this internal and irreconcilable conflict, is really well represented by Hugh MacLennan in his famous novel written in 1945 ‘Two Solitudes’, describing the isolation of the two great ‘souls’ of Canada.
The two solitudes, French and English Canada, appear still divided today, not only by the obvious language differences, but from a much more profound cultural diversity in the broadest sense of the term, and this is what we call the ‘Canadian Question’. The policy of biculturalism of Pierre Elliot Trudeau has therefore failed, since the presence of two different languages has created a cultural gap, difficult to overcome. So today after centuries of coexistence, the differences between the Anglo-Canadians and French Canadians remain and the country is precariously divided between two cultural worlds, forced to live together in the common territory.
This problem is most and particularly felt in the proud francophone province of Qu??bec, the biggest province of Canada, that continues to claim a special statute and more right in the federal government. Their ‘culture of convergence’ leads to a strongly nationalistic attitude the francophones of Quebec started to call themselves qu??b??cois instead of French Canadian, being aware of their condition of living in a predominantly English-speaking world. Actually the tradition of intolerance against French Canadians had started at the time of the conquest and has not stopped to this day. Despite the overwhelming majority of francophones in the territory, about 6 million against almost 600.000 anglophones, English is still increasingly penetrating the culture and is gradually spreading among new generations. This is one of the difficulties united a people who only asks for a legitimate recognition. Quebec occupies the territory of la Nouvelle France that was colonized in 1608 with the founding of Quebec City by Samuel de Champlain. In 1642 Paul de Chomedey, sieur de Maisonneuve, founded Ville Marie (current Montréal) together with a group of French devotees, especially Jesuits, in order to Christianize the Amerindians and create a new and strong Christian society. After the prevalence of feudal system, this first colony witnessed a fervent period of growth but, soon, under the pressure of the English neighbors, began to falter until they finally give in to the English Conquest of 1760. This will indelibly mark the story of Quebec, now doomed to a continuing cultural battle for survival, in constant fear of being overwhelmed by the still increasing anglophone society.
Until the early twentieth century the economy of Qu??bec was mainly based on agriculture and forestry. Later, the accelerated process of urbanization and the industrial sector stimulated the people to move from the rural to the urban areas. And from 1815 immigration flux to Quebec began, especially from the British Isles and Ireland for not to cease to this day. From the late nineteenth century until the First World War, Canada and in particular Montréal, have become the destination for many others, under which especially East-European Jews and many Italians. This will be marked as the first big wave of immigration into Canada, with a second wave following in the aftermath of the Second World War. The Sixties were a turning point for Qu??bec. There were a lot of social and cultural reforms, aimed to modernize the society that until then had remained rural and strongly indoctrinated by the Catholic Church, that from this period lost the tremendous influence. The clergy was slowly ousted of political power, and the number of practicing Catholics collapsed dramatically. A period marked by transition and quick economic expansion and modernization of political institutions. Montréal reached in this period definitely the height of her bloom, with in 1967 hosting the World Exposition. Also in 1967 France seems to rediscover Qu??bec, with the famous words of Charles de Gaulle from the balcony of Hotel de Ville: ‘Vive le Qu??bec libre!’. It is not a coincidence that the attitude of this period is known as la R??volution Tranquille, which will mark the beginning of a period of great political tensions and clashes between the federal government of Canada and the province, trying to get more control over its own economy and over a society now liberated of its old and religious straitjacket.
In 1968 the Parti Qu??b??cois was founded, that started to spread the idea of an independent Qu??bec, trying to wipe out the anglophone oligarchy who had ruled the business world. But this principle led to the other hand also to terrorist actions by the Front de lib??ration du Qu??bec (FLQ), a radical independence movement, who created between 1963 until 1970 a climate of terror and which led to the October Crisis following the abduction of a British diplomat James Cross and the murder of the Qu??bec Minister of Labour Pierre Laporte. In 1968 Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the leader of the Liberal Party, was elected Prime Minister of Canada. He was a tenacious advocate of the unity of the Canadian federation, so clearly against the independence of Qu??bec, but the year after his election he approved the celebrated Official Languages Act, wich established the use of the both languages French and English with the same dignity. But in reality this was only theoretical, French was gradually and systematically losing its value because of the influence and the spread of English. Only in 1977, one year after the famous Olympic Games in Montréal, French regained its legitimate dignity, when R??n?? L??vesque, leader of the Parti Qu??b??cois, was elected as Prime Minister of Qu??bec and approved of the Law 101, also known as la ‘charte de la langue francaise’, defining it as the official language of the province. In addition this law introduced new strict rules for access to schools; to block the general trend in the choice of English schools, which restricted access only to children whose parents had attended an English-speaking school. In 1980 the PQ proposed for a sovereignty-association with the rest of Canada, and the first referendum for Qu??bec was held, but 60% of the citizens spoke against the proposal. This referendum led in 1982 to the repatriation of the Canadian constitution of 1867, but Qu??bec refused to accede a compromise, only until 1987 with the Meech Lake Accord, with the acceptance of certain conditions proposed by the then leader of the Liberal Party of Qu??bec Robert Bourassa. The most importants ones concerned the recognition of Qu??bec as a distinct society, granting more space in the field of immigration as well as culture, and finally the possibility of a veto to the constitutional amendments contrary the interests of Qu??bec. Unfortunately though, the deal fell through because of the refusal by some provinces to validate it.
In 1992 it came to another proposal by the federal government, the Charlottetown Accord, a proposed constitutional reform that would recognize the particularity of Qu??bec and would grant a greater autonomy. But the Qu??becers were not really enthusiastic of the results, because they considered that the distinct society did not have the same aspirations as they had and it would not give Qu??bec enough power in the federal government. The proposal of the Charlottetown Accord was rejected in 1992 with a national referendum.
During the government of Jacques Parizeau, in 1995, a second referendum was held, still about the same delicate question of the sovereignty of Qu??bec, when the ask for independence was again rejected, even if it was with a very little majority (50,6% no-votes). Of course after this second attempt, one step away from real separation, the relations between the two groups soured further and still the conflict is incurable, and it is perceived as a negative force that divides the country in the famous two solitudes, the isolation of the two souls of this people.

1.4 The Canadian dualism.

Ray Conlogue, a Anglo-Canadian from Toronto but living in Montréal in the nineties when the contrast with Canada was particularly strong, resulting in the Referendum of 1995, wrote an essay entitled: Impossible Nation: the longing for homeland in Canada and Quebec. In this essay he analyzes clearly and systematically the delicate question of Canada, researching the sources of the conflict between the French Canadians and Anglo-Canadians in the history, from the British Conquest of la Nouvelle France until today. Moreover, he concentrates in his studies on the different socio-cultural behaviours of the two groups. Conlogue identifies two different schools of thought from which the different approaches derive: on the one side the romanticism of Herder and the development of nationalism as an idea of belonging to a community; and on the other hand in contrast with the first, the prevalence of individualism, the fruit of the rationalism of the Enlightenment and sustained by John Locke.

Migration is an universal phenomenon which has been growing at the same time with the increasing human mobility. The desire to improve the living conditions for themselves and their family, escaping poverty, unemployment, war and dictatorships are all causes of migration for millions of people to countries where there is hope for a better future, with more opportunities and to live far from despair. Canada, just as the United States of America, always has been a country of immigrants. But unlike the USA, where the integration policy was aiming for giving more importance to the individual capacities to concrete the American dream instead of giving importance to the origins of the immigrants, Canada did not ever underestimate the importance of people’s origins, considering it crucial according to the ideals of the multicultural society.

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