Paper Haglund

Québec and Canadian Foreign Policy

David G. Haglund, Queen's University, Kingston

Historically, it is not hard (in fact it is easy) to make the argument that an ethnic divide existed in Canada on matters strategic, especially when prospects of overseas intervention loomed.  From the Boer war through the two world wars of the twentieth century, Québec appeared to be on a decidedly different page from the rest of Canada when it came to foreign and security policies that would have military implications, with the greatest divisiveness being encountered, not surprisingly, at those moments when Ottawa was confronting the need to contribute to the collective defence of imperial/commonwealth interests.  It was thought that with the end of the era in which Britain served as the principal organizer of Canadian overseas military activities -- i.e., with the rise of America and its panoply of security organizations to international prominence -- the old ethnic divide in grand strategy would become a thing of the past.

Recently, there have been signs of its reemerging, and these have been associated with an apparent change of attitude in Québec toward the United States.  This paper explores that mooted re-emergence, and analyses potential consequences it might have in three dimensions: 1) Canada-US relations, 2) relations between Québec and the "rest of Canada" (the ROC) and 3) the role of the US in any future referendum on sovereignty.