Sleeping Dogs: Quebec and the Stabilization of Canadian Federalism after 1995
Published: August 2023© 2023
210 Pages, 6.25 x 9.25 x 0.85 in
What happened to the Quebec sovereignty movement after 1995? In Sleeping Dogs, Andrew McDougall reveals how a change in federalist strategy, combined with an improving political context, helped Canada stabilize its federal system and bury the "Quebec question" for the foreseeable future.
The book identifies five potential reasons the Quebec sovereignty movement lost momentum and argues that all contributed to a political environment that benefited federalists. McDougall explores topics of elite accommodation, generational change, changing identity politics, economic globalization, and constitutional fatigue. He argues that Canada’s federalist political elites have capitalized on these developments to stabilize the country by dropping the national question – even when they might still hold very different visions of the Constitution. Building on "constitutional abeyance" theory, the author conceives of this strategic change as the restoration of a constitutional abeyance among federalist actors. Considering recent history in light of subsequent developments, Sleeping Dogs is a timely and important attempt to understand the evolving situation in Quebec and Canadian federalism.
2. An Abeyance Restored: The “Quebec Question” as the New Taboo
3. Constitutional Fatigue
4. Non-constitutional Accommodation
5. Quebec’s Changing Identity Politics
6. Generational Change
7. Economic Globalization
"Andrew McDougall offers a penetrating look at the decline of the Quebec independence movement and majestically considers a range of factors that have as much to do with the choice of political elites to look away from the unresolved dispute between Quebec and Canada as they do with the profound social, cultural, and economic transformations that have taken place in these societies over the past three decades. This book reminds us that the ‘Quebec conundrum’ remains an inescapable reality of Canadian political dynamics and that the remnants of an unsettled past do not necessarily presage a tension-free future."François Rocher, Professor of Political Studies, University of Ottawa
"The declining salience of the Quebec sovereignty issue is perhaps the most intriguing puzzle of contemporary Canadian politics. Students and scholars of Canadian and Quebec politics now have a new tool to make sense of it all. Andrew McDougall offers a remarkably well-informed, analytically sophisticated, and compelling account of the reasons the political project of an independent Quebec has lost its appeal. This is a most welcome and lucid contribution."Daniel Salée, Professor of Political Science, Concordia University
"In this important book, Andrew McDougall shows that the Quebec sovereignty movement lost traction once Canada’s federal elites stopped trying to reconcile competing national visions through mega-constitutional change and steered toward less contentious issues. Its core insight is that de-escalating nationalist conflict might require going against that most human of impulses – to do something about it. This book should be read by not only students of Canadian politics but anyone interested in the dynamics of self-determination struggles."Karlo Basta, Lecturer of Politics and International Relations, University of Edinburgh