Federalism, Citizenship, and Quebec. Debating Multinationalism

The question of multinationalism has largely been treated as an issue that needs to be ‘solved’, implying a negative but temporary situation that threatens the integrity of the political system. In Federalism, Citizenship, and Quebec, Alain-G. Gagnon and Raffaele Iacovino argue that multinationalism has been and continues to be the fundamental socio-political characteristic of the Canadian polity, and that it should guide and structure the negotiating principles and political processes upon which the institutions of federalism and citizenship are constructed.

The authors address future challenges for Canada, including the persistence of competing nationalisms, the federal compact in the global era, the impact of post-national citizenship on minority nations, and a reassessment of the relationship between citizenship and federalism. Drawing on historical accounts and contemporary critical theory, they provide an alternative picture of Quebec’s contribution, presenting a conception of Canada’s potential as an open, multinational federation committed to diverse conceptions of citizenship and a novel approach to constitutional association. In the final analysis, this study suggests a new model of federalism and citizenship that recognizes multinationalism as a cornerstone of belonging to Canada, for both citizens and governments of its respective political communities.

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