Sunday, October 18, 2020

50 Years Ago: When Canada Suspended Civil Liberties


This memoir by John Riddell, at the time a leading member of the League for Socialist Action (in Quebec the Ligue socialiste ouvrière), illustrates how a small revolutionary-minded organization responded to the repression unleashed by Ottawa in October 1970. John published his account on October 16 on his web site, from which it is reproduced with thanks. It centers on the response of our Montréal members, using their candidacy of Manon Léger for mayor and their support of the labor-based Front d’action politique (FRAP) candidates for city council to maintain a public profile while defying the marshall-law restraints.

The LSA/LSO had already established itself as protagonists in the fight for Quebec language rights and as leading participants in Quebec student struggles in the late 1960s. In 1964, as a university student in Montréal, I reported in our biweekly newspaper Workers Vanguard on a lengthy interview I had with André d’Allemagne, the founder of the pro-independence RIN (Rassemblement pour l’indépendance nationale), a forerunner of the Parti québécois.

But while a staunch defender of Quebec’s right to self-determination, the LSA/LSO had hesitated to declare its support for independence; still unclear to us was the path the Quebec working class would take in its fight against national oppression in the Canadian state. By 1970 the demonstrated failure of the NDP to engage with Quebec liberation, coupled with the escalating mass support for the newly-founded PQ, settled the question. Barely a month before the outbreak of the October crisis our pan-Canadian congress had voted overwhelmingly to adopt a programmatic statement, For an Independent and Socialist Quebec,1 following an unprecedented public discussion by party members in our English and French language newspapers.

Critical of the PQ for its separation of Quebec sovereignty from the needed program of social emancipation, the LSO was on the contrary quick to embrace the union-endorsed FRAP as the most promising expression to date of the labour movement’s search for a political course independent of the capitalist parties, including the PQ.

In the aftermath of the October crisis, our comrades were active in defending the remaining political prisoners – chief among them Pierre Vallières and Charles Gagnon (the political thinkers behind the FLQ), their lawyer Robert Lemieux, trade-union leader Michel Chartrand and Radio-Canada producer Jacques Larue-Langlois. Among other actions we organized a defense committee in Toronto that brought the last three, along with singer Pauline Julien (herself arrested in October) to address large crowds at the U of Toronto’s Convocation Hall. In the end all of the defendants were acquitted by jurors of seditious conspiracy or had their charges dropped.

And we worked with other supporters of democratic rights in English Canada to organize a citizens’ commission of inquiry into the War Measures, modelled on the Russell Tribunal in England to expose imperialist war crimes in Vietnam.2

-- Richard Fidler

* * *

Recollections of Montreal Under the War Measures Act

By John Riddell

It was October 16, 1970, fifty years ago today. Turning on CBC radio over breakfast that day, I was startled to learn that the War Measures Act had been decreed across the entire country. The Canadian equivalent of martial law, War Measures were invoked on the excuse that the country faced an “apprehended insurrection.”

During that night, hundreds in Quebec had been arrested. Secretly. No charges. No phone call. No right to a lawyer or court hearing. All civil liberties were suspended. Quebec was under military occupation. A few hours later, television news started showing photos of soldiers in battledress armed with assault rifles and of tanks in the streets of downtown Montreal.

Police Abductions

I got in touch with other members of the League for Socialist Action in Toronto, where I then lived. Our first concern was to contact our group in Montreal, which had several dozen active supporters. At first, no answer. Then news: the editor of our French-language newspaper, Art Young, had disappeared, along with another leading local comrade, Penny Simpson. Hundreds in Montreal had been jailed and arrests were continuing.

The federal government’s drastic attack on civil liberties did not come as a surprise. Only three days earlier, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, when asked how far he would go to “restore order” in Quebec, had quipped, “Well, just watch me.” He claimed that a “parallel power” had emerged that was challenging elected political authorities.

Earlier in October, a British diplomat, James Cross, and Quebec’s deputy premier, Pierre Laporte, had been kidnapped by cells of the FLQ (Quebec Liberation Front). Many Quebeckers, while often critical of the kidnappings, expressed support for the liberatory goals of the FLQ manifesto.

Radical Upsurge in Quebec

The previous decade had witnessed a tumultuous rise of labour and nationalist movements in Quebec, and of support for radical social reforms and political sovereignty. Quebec had seen massive student strikes and protests, an explosive rise of labour militancy, and deep-going structural reforms such as nationalization of its electric power industry and of the previously church-run educational system.

In addition, during the decade, a succession of small groups seeking to spark a colonial freedom struggle had carried out more than a hundred guerrilla-style attacks using the FLQ label.

My organization, the League for Socialist Action/Ligue Socialiste Ouvrière, contended that the real responsibility for this violence lay “with the monopolists, the exploiters who are repressing the Quebec nationalist movement.” While criticizing kidnappings as a method, we called for an end to attacks on civil liberties and freedom for political prisoners.

These events unrolled long before the Internet age. As socialists, we did not have access to daily papers, television, cellphones, or radio. We communicated with each other and the broader world in person, by phone, by letter mail, and by printing and distributing literature. But the War Measures seemed at first to have outlawed all public radical activity.

Emergency Office

The day after the War Measures decree I took the first train to Montreal. I located my Montreal comrades, who had gone underground. Expecting further arrests and a raid on our headquarters, they closed down our headquarters. They removed our most valued asset – our card file of contacts and subscribers – and took it out of Montreal for safekeeping. They buried it on the farm of a member’s friend. They set up a provisional office in a couple of motel rooms, equipped with two typewriters, paper, carbons, one telephone, and a list of phone numbers.

By that evening it seemed that the wave of arrests was ending. Already, there were signs of dissent regarding Trudeau’s drastic measures. Figuring that the government had overreached, we made plans to reassert our right to speak and help build the protest movement now beginning to take shape across the country.

We set out to help break down the gag law, step by step, by reopening our office, publishing and widely distributing our views, and doing all we could to help build resistance to the War Measures.

Utilizing an Election Campaign

We had a great asset. Montreal would be voting in a few days to choose its mayor, and we had a socialist candidate in the field: a young and dynamic activist, Manon Léger. Despite the mass arrests, guns, and tanks, the election was going forward.

We were supporting a promising new left political party, “FRAP” (Front d’action politique). They had no mayoralty candidate, so Manon, challenging the notoriously right-wing mayor Jean Drapeau, complemented their slate. Under War Measures, FRAP offices had been repeatedly raided, confidential files seized, and their lawyer interned. Drapeau slanderously associated the FRAP with the FLQ. Martial-law measures had dealt FRAP a crippling blow. Manon spoke out in their defense.

Under War Measures, printshops were closed to us. But back in Toronto, our headquarters housed our own small printshop – a rarity in those days – and it was effectively underground.

We in Montreal worked together with our comrades in Toronto to prepare articles for emergency underground editions of our newspapers in English and French. Travel between the two cities was still open, so we sent a comrade to Toronto with articles and then received, again by courier, a large press run for mass distribution.

We Take to the Streets

Three days after War Measures, we organized Montreal’s first street action against the crackdown. We planned it on a very small scale, aiming to show the scope for public protest without risking too much.

We sent out two squads. One crew, including Manon, went to the main subway station, Berry-De Montigny, with signs and leaflets building her campaign.

I was part of a second crew, which went to the Canadian Forces armouries at Bleury and Ontario streets, home of the Black Watch Regiment. It was a prominent spot, just a couple of blocks from the subway station. We started picketing and leafleting, right under the noses of the armed soldiers. “Withdraw federal troops!” we shouted, in French. “Free political prisoners! For a workers’ city hall!”

It took the authorities about an hour to decide what to do with us. Eventually, we were all arrested and hauled in to the local cop shop. There was a long wait while the cops tried to decide what to charge us with. Finally, they booked us for “sporting political insignia within a week of an election” and let us go. The charges were farcical. They revealed that the authorities did not dare invoke the draconian provisions of the War Measures Act. A clear victory for freedom of speech!

Getting Out the Word

Three more days; I was back in Toronto; and 11,000 copies of our emergency French-language newspaper reached our comrades in Montreal. They were distributed widely in campuses and workers’ districts. There were no arrests. This was a test of the relationship of forces. Activists took note: conditions were good for a revival of broad protest activities.

Manon got some media breaks. She picked up on a widespread sentiment that all Quebeckers were themselves hostages, members of a nation kidnapped 200 years before.

In the October 25 mayoralty election, Drapeau and his allies were victorious; FRAP candidates were defeated. Manon picked up 7,000 votes, a quarter of those voting against Drapeau.

By then, an impressive civil liberties campaign was under way, led by a new coalition, the Front Commun pour la Liberté.

The police never raided our Montreal headquarters, but they did descend on the farm where we had buried our precious records. Fortunately, they found nothing.

The Popular Movement Recovers

Most of those interned under War Measures, including Art Young and Penny Simpson of the LSA/LSO, were soon released without charges. Opposition to the War Measures gathered momentum, finding expression in the defense effort for those few detainees who faced formal charges. Within three months, the military occupation was over. Despite continuing repression and secret police disruption, the civil liberties enjoyed before the crisis were largely restored.

The labour and peoples’ movement in Quebec, recovering from brutal repression, was on the march once more.

Related documentation
This informal account is based in part on the extensive archive of LSA/LSO articles on the War Measures Act episode, available at the Socialist History Project (posted by Ian Angus).

See also Marc Bonhomme’s article in the Socialist Project Bullet: The Events of October 1970: From Yesterday to Today.

For a comprehensive assessment of the “October Crisis” and its impact on Quebec, see Richard Fidler’s “Life on the Left.”

1 Available with other relevant documentation on the Socialist History Project web site.

2 Our comrade Ernie Tate played a key role in founding the Russell Tribunal, which he describes in the second volume of his memoir, Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s and 60s (London: Resistance Books, 2014).

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Quebec’s October Crisis, 1970 – What today’s left learned from Ottawa’s turn to repression

See the source image

By Richard Fidler

Fifty years ago this month the federal government, invoking the War Measures Act – its first use in peacetime – occupied Quebec with 12,000 troops, arrested without a warrant almost 500 citizens, and carried out 36,000 police searches of homes, organizations and publications.

Of the 497 trade unionists, artists, lawyers and left activists jailed, 435 were subsequently freed without charges, and 44 of the 62 charged were acquitted or had their prosecutions stayed. But October 1970 marked a turning point in the federalist response to Quebec’s “Quiet Revolution” and the rapidly growing popular mobilization in favour of making Quebec an independent state.

The immediate pretext for these draconian acts was the kidnapping of a British trade commissioner and a Quebec cabinet minister by the FLQ (the Front de libération du Québec), a small band of revolutionary-minded youth – even though the police involved in the hostage search said so many arrests simply complicated their task.1 This was soon followed by Ottawa’s fraudulent claims that it was actually suppressing an “apprehended insurrection” led by Parti Québécois leaders René Lévesque and Jacques Parizeau, along with Claude Ryan, then editor of Le Devoir, the only Quebec newspaper that opposed the war measures repression. Their crime: they had called on the federal government to negotiate the release of the hostages by their kidnappers.2

An immediate victim of the repression was the FRAP, the Front d’Action Politique, a municipal party founded by trade unions and community activists that was confronting Montréal mayor Jean Drapeau’s autocratic administration around a program of radical social reform and participatory democracy.3 The FRAP was polling up to 35% support leading up to the city election in November 1970. Drapeau joined with Quebec premier Robert Bourassa in asking for federal intervention. Although federal minister Jean Marchand described the FRAP as a “front” for the FLQ, the municipal party made clear that while it was sympathetic to the demands in the FLQ’s manifesto, it did not support its methods. In the election held under military occupation, the party did not elect any of its candidates although it still managed to poll an average 18% in the districts it contested.

But Ottawa and its provincial and municipal allies had bigger targets in mind. Chief of these was the PQ, which in the Quebec elections earlier that year had won 23% of the popular vote, although getting only seven seats, its leader René Lévesque being defeated. Founded in 1968, the PQ sought sovereignty for Quebec albeit in “association” with the Rest of Canada. Its strategy was in part shaped by the pattern of federal-Quebec relations throughout most of the 1960s, Ottawa responding with concessions at each stage to increasing Quebec demands for autonomy. Quebec desires for recognition going beyond its status as “a province like the others” were met with ongoing negotiations in search of constitutional adjustments (the Fulton-Favreau formula). When the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) was established, Quebec was allowed to constitute its own plan, the QPP, and to use the invested pension funds to build a Francophone bourgeoisie through the Caisse de Dépôt et Placements. A federal royal commission on “Bilingualism and Biculturalism” published detailed studies on the inferior ranking of Francophone Quebeckers in Canada’s economic and social order and proposed a reworking of Confederation to recognize the “equality of the two founding peoples.” Quebec was even given some representation in international diplomacy.

The PQ leaders hoped to push this further with their quest for sovereign status within a fundamentally reorganized pan-Canadian state that would afford them space in which to build an independent Francophone bourgeoisie, “Quebec Inc.,” looking primarily to the Quebec government to defend its interests.

However, with the election in 1968 of Pierre Trudeau as federal Liberal leader and prime minister, Ottawa’s approach veered sharply toward confrontation with Quebec. The Bi-Bi commission was shut down. And Trudeau seized on the FLQ’s actions to inflict some lasting political damage on the PQ and set the scene for strengthening the federal state in the face of the “separatist” threat. Successor legislation to the War Measures Act (introduced by the recently deceased John Turner, the Justice minister) reproduced most of its features and laid the basis for establishing a new security police force as recommended by the Royal Commission on Security in 1968.4 During the 1970s the RCMP’s Security Service engaged in break-ins, thefts of PQ membership lists and the files of left-wing publications, fingered left activists to employers and landlords, and even firebombed a barn frequented by left activists.5 The scandal-ridden Security Service was later replaced by an “independent” agency, the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), which has recently added surveillance of Indigenous self-determination activists to its mandate.

A major step in Ottawa’s offensive was the 1982 “patriation” of Canada’s constitution, until then an Act of the British parliament. Overriding opposition from Quebec’s National Assembly, the new constitution included an amending formula that entrenched Quebec’s “equal” status as a province, not its reality as a nation, and imposed a Charter of Rights and Freedoms that was subsequently used by the courts to overrule key provisions of Quebec’s Charter of the French Language (Law 101). And the federal Liberals later helped to sabotage the Meech Lake Accord, designed to win Quebec’s assent to the new constitution, and still later, in the late 1990s and beyond, poured millions in federal funds into illegal campaigns to subvert Quebec nationalist expression (the “sponsorship scandal”).6

These “sticks” have of course been accompanied by the “carrot” of promoting major Quebec firms, especially in the engineering sector, through generous federal subsidies and legal protection to them in their many dubious transnational activities. Quebec Inc. is today characterized above all by its close interrelationship with Canadian, U.S. and other international capital. It can be relied on to oppose Quebec independence.

In 1998, the Supreme Court of Canada, responding to a request by the federal government for an opinion on Quebec’s right to “unilateral secession,” ruled (with little or no reference to previous jurisprudence) that while secession might be legal provided it was determined by a “clear majority” on a “clear question” (both terms undefined) in a referendum, this would entail an amendment to the existing Constitution the terms of which would have to be negotiated among “all parties to Confederation” – meaning Ottawa and the other provinces.7 This was followed by adoption of the Clarity Act, which established that the federal Parliament alone would determine the “clarity” of the question and a possible majority in a future Quebec referendum. Ottawa continues to hold the upper hand; when Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, a staunch federalist, attempted to discuss current constitutional arrangements, in 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was quick to dismiss any attempt “to re-open Canada’s constitution.”8

Both referendums held by PQ governments conditioned Quebec sovereignty implicitly on a negotiated agreement with the federal regime. In 1980, voters were asked to support a Quebec government “proposal to negotiate a new agreement with the rest of Canada, based on the equality of nations.” In 1995, they were asked “Do you agree that Quebec should become sovereign, after having made a formal offer to Canada for a new economic and political partnership....” Although it indicated that failure to achieve such an agreement within a year could trigger unilateral secession, the reality was that any such partnership or agreement remained purely hypothetical, and unlikely to say the least.

In effect, the Parti Québécois longstanding strategy of creating a new sovereign bourgeois state in symbiotic partnership with Canada has been decisively undermined, although the party’s discomfiture has not yet resulted in the alienation of its major institutional allies such as the Quebec union centrals. Many years have gone by since the last popular mobilizations for sovereignty provoked by the demise of both the Meech Lake Accord and its follow-up, the 1992 Charlottetown Accord. In this sense, the shift in federal strategy that began with such dramatic effect in October 1970 was successful. This blockage of the traditional sovereigntist movement has understandably chilled pro-independence sentiment among Quebec’s population.

The PQ, its membership once a quarter-million but reduced today to just over 35,000, has reverted in recent years to an identitarian ethnic nationalism that fails to recognize let alone accommodate the polyethnic reality of modern Quebec. In the party’s recent leadership contest, all four candidates supported additional limits on immigration, and the party – along with its federal counterpart the Bloc Québécois – supported the Legault government’s Bill 21, imposing dress codes on public sector employees, a measure aimed primarily at hijab-wearing Moslem women. As Québec solidaire activist Benoit Renaud says in his recent book, “This is a nationalism that is in fact content with the limited powers of a provincial state and is perfectly compatible with Quebec’s remaining in this Canadian state that consistently refuses to recognize us.”9

It is a quite different story on the left, however. As another QS leader François Saillant documents in his excellent new book, Brève Histoire de la Gauche Politique au Québec,10 since the 1960s, and particularly since the early 1980s, with the demise of the old Mao-Stalinist parties,11 the left in Quebec has tended to support Quebec independence largely because any progressive program of fundamental social change is unrealizeable within the current federal regime. This central state has exclusive jurisdiction over finance, banking, regulation of trade and commerce, issuance of currency, foreign affairs, the military, criminal law, the appointment of judges of the superior courts, etc. The provinces are generally limited to powers of a “merely local or private nature.” And Ottawa holds residual power over all matters not specifically allocated by the Constitution to the provinces, including Quebec. Thus it is a commonplace on the Quebec left to combine social emancipation with national emancipation.12

This is a lesson often lost on progressive opinion in English Canada, including by some Anglophone progressives in Quebec. Almost 20 years ago I attempted to explain this in replying to a critique of the Union des forces progressistes, a forerunner of today’s Québec solidaire. Although a bit dated on a few of its particulars, such as the level of popular support for independence, I think the substantive argument holds true today. It was first published in Canadian Dimension.13

* * *

In Defence of Quebec’s UFP

Eric Shragge and Andrea Levy (“The Union des forces progressistes in Quebec: Prospects and Pitfalls,” CD March-April 2003) cite a number of difficulties confronting the new left-wing political formation. Among these are lack of trade union support, diffidence by some activists in the “social left,” an “old-Left” style and rhetoric, etc.

But their main criticism of the UFP — that it is fundamentally wrong on the national question because it supports Quebec independence —  tells us more about the authors’ bias than it does about the UFP or the Quebec left.

Shragge and Levy argue that support for Quebec independence (1) curbs the UFP’s appeal to young activists, new immigrants and native peoples because (2) it fails to reflect the reality, that the Québécois are already “masters in their own house.” This error, they say, will be “decisive” to the UFP’s “political fate.”

Let’s begin with the second point. Yes, Quebec has made great strides in recent decades in enhancing the status and role of French and the Francophone majority within the province’s institutions and society as a whole. French is now the language of work. Income differentials between French and English have been sharply reduced. Quebec’s education and health systems now rank with the best in Canada. And all of this largely through the initiatives and efforts of Quebecers themselves, often in the face of resistance and even outright opposition by big business, the federal government and their courts.

These developments, themselves the product of a nationalist upsurge that began with the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s, far from eliminating national consciousness, have redefined it and stimulated a powerful pride in the accomplishments and capacities of Quebec society. The change is reflected in the way Quebecers describe themselves: as Québécois and no longer as “French Canadians.” Although many Quebecers — a small majority — still favour being part of Canada, most Quebecers look to the government in Quebec City as their first line of defence of their language and culture, the key defining features of this distinct society, and most want to enhance its role along these lines.

Quebec, while only a province under Canada’s constitution, is sociologically a nation and is seen as such by the vast majority of its residents. This nation is more than its language and culture, its “ethnicity”; it is the product of a long historical evolution of the peoples who inhabit the territory of Quebec. This new nation is not narrowly ethnic. As the UFP platform says, it is “the human community residing in Quebec province, having French as its official language of institutional and working communication, sharing a single set of laws and social conventions, and rich in its cultural diversity.”

Shragge and Levy seem to have a reductionist view of Quebec nationalism that conflates nation with language and ethnicity alone. There is no longer a national question in Quebec, they argue: “French is the official language, the economic elite bears names like Desjardins, Tellier and Martin, as do the members of the bureaucracy that runs Quebec’s state institutions. These issues are settled....” It is simply the “memory of English domination that fuels the longing for independence.”

I think this is a fundamental misreading of the reality. What fuels Quebec independence sentiment today in Quebec is not some distant “memory” of English domination but a deeply felt awareness that Canada’s current constitution and political system do not recognize Quebec for what it is —  a modern, vibrant, progressive nation that is open to the world, and not just a “province like the others” — and a determination to put an end to the constant, politically debilitating conflicts with Ottawa that this entails in terms of jurisdictional bickering, duplication and overlapping of social programs, fiscal deficit offloading, etc. Far from being settled, these issues continue to nag. In the last two decades alone, Quebec has seen the addition to the Canadian constitution of an amending formula that virtually rules out any change in its status through the normal negotiating process; a Charter of Rights that directly targets Quebec’s popular language legislation; and [Parliament’s adoption of] a federal “Clarity Bill” that would effectively dictate the terms of any future Quebec referendum on sovereignty, to name only the most egregious assaults on Quebec’s right to self-determination.

The Shragge-Levy trivialization of these issues is of absolutely no use in helping us understand the challenges facing the UFP as it seeks to broaden its support. For example, the UFP’s support for Quebec independence does not isolate it from Quebec’s trade unions, most of which are on record in support of sovereignty. That is why the unions support the Parti québécois! The PQ’s independentism is what primarily distinguishes it from the other capitalist parties, the Liberals and the ADQ.14

Most activists in the social movements are likewise sympathetic to sovereignty. Support for Quebec sovereignty in recent years has remained over 40% in poll after poll, and is strongest among the working people and youth to whom the UFP addresses its message. As for recent immigrants and minorities, the UFP’s star candidates in the recent election included such people as Amir Khadir, Omar Aktouf, Jill Hanley and David Fennario. They have no problem with the UFP’s pro-sovereignty position. In the left milieu, in fact, support for sovereignty is simply taken for granted; for most activists, that “issue is settled.”

There are some issues of nation and nationalism that are not settled, of course. An important one is the relationship between Quebec sovereignty and aboriginal self-government. The UFP platform, cited by Shragge and Levy, confines itself to recognizing “the right to self-determination of the First Nations up to and including their independence.” Possible approaches might entail formal recognition of full or partial sovereignty of Native peoples in those parts of the province — geographically very extensive — in which they are the majority. It is worth noting that Quebec is the only province in Canada to recognize in law the existence of a dozen aboriginal “nations,” and it is the only province to be signing modern-day treaties with its native people.

The UFP is aware that these and many other issues need further debate, both within the left and within the population as a whole. That is why its platform states that “independence is not an end in itself: rather, it is a means of making our goal for society a reality. This sovereignty of the people will find its expression in the election of a Constituent Assembly, mandated to draw up and to propose to the population, via referendum, a Constitution for a progressive, republican, secular and democratic Quebec.”

Finally, like many readers, I am sure, I am struck by the weird contrast between Canadian Dimension’s chronic campaign for “Canadian sovereignty” and its equally chronic inability to identify with the only mass democratic and progressive movement for sovereignty within the Canadian state: that of the Québécois.

The UFP is by far the most advanced expression in North America of a worldwide process now under way of “rebuilding the left.” It needs our solidarity, not our misunderstandings.

1 Jean-François Lisée, Insurrection appréhendée: le grand mensonge d’October 1970.

2 Just this month, Justin Trudeau incredibly reaffirmed this allegation. Asked by a journalist if he would apologize for the hundreds of arrests in 1970, Trudeau denounced “these revolutionaries who wanted to overthrow the government.” (Le Devoir, 8 October, 2020). Ironically, Ryan was later leader of the Quebec Liberal party and led the federalist opponents of the PQ in the 1980 referendum.

3 The FRAP program (including a proposal for free public transit) was published in a 138-page book, Les Salariés au Pouvoir (not on-line).

4 See Robert Dumont, “Entire Left is Target of Bill.”

5 See Richard Fidler, “An anniversary that Ottawa would prefer not to celebrate.”

6 Michel David, “La première guerre,” Le Devoir 26 September, 2020.

7 Reference re Secession of Quebec, [1998] 2 S.C.R. 217, clause 88.

8Canada's Quebec wants constitutional talks despite Trudeau opposition.”

9 Benoit Renaud, Un Peuple Libre: Indépendance, laïcité et inclusion (Ecosociété 2020), p. 182.

10 Ecosociété 2020.

11 Primarily En Lutte/In Struggle and the Parti communiste ouvrier/Workers Communist Party, both of which opposed Quebec independence as a “bourgeois project.”

12 For more on this, see “Quebec independence a key to building the left in Canada.”

13 July 2003, Vol. 37 (4), at p. 7. In fairness to Andrea Levy, it should be noted that she is now an active member of Québec solidaire. When a similar criticism was levied against Québec solidaire’s independentism in the U.S. magazine Jacobin during the 2018 Quebec election, Levy joined with André Frappier in asking me to consider writing a reply to it. I regret that I did not.

14 Action démocratique du Québec, a forerunner of today’s Coalition Avenir Québec, the party that now forms the Quebec government.