[Marxism] FW: Quebec independence a key to building the left in Canada

Richard Fidler rfidler at ncf.ca
Wed Aug 30 09:53:40 MDT 2017



The 2017 edition of the Université populaire (the People’s University), meeting
in Montréal August 17-19, included a panel of speakers from Quebec and English
Canada on the possibilities for building a convergence of left forces in both

It was chaired and introduced by Andrea Levy, a Montréal-based editor of
Canadian Dimension, and included André Frappier, a former president of the
Montréal postal workers and now a leader of Québec solidaire; Kevin Skerrett, a
leading activist in Solidarity Ottawa; Corvin Russell, a Toronto solidarity
activist and recently co-author with Andrea Levy of an excellent paper, “Mapping
the Canadian Left: Sovereignty and Solidarity in the 21st Century;”[1] and
myself. I am a member of both Solidarity Ottawa and Québec solidaire.

The conference program introduced the topic as follows:

“The Canadian State is a common obstacle faced by progressive forces in Québec
and Canada that makes the creation of alliances as much a necessity as a virtue.
However, both in Québec and Canada, the left is mired in narrow ideological
perspectives and lacking real involvement in day-to-day struggles. The growing
resistance of Indigenous peoples is a game changer for both sides as it calls
into question the very foundations of the Canadian State. This session proposes
to look at how we might build toward a new convergence of forces. - How can the
Canadian left support the struggle for national and social emancipation in
Québec? - What are the weak points in the Canadian State and among the elites
seeking to maintain power. What sorts of struggles can we engage in jointly? -
How can progressive organizations in Canada and Québec develop a common strategy
of international solidarity with Indigenous peoples in Canada? - What means can
we use to fulfill these aims?”

Levy and Frappier spoke in French, the rest of us in English, with simultaneous
interpretation. The panelists’ contributions were followed by some stimulating
exchanges with members of the audience. Unfortunately, the session was not

The following is a slightly expanded and edited version of my presentation.
Readers will note that, contrary to some assertions in the above note by the
conference organizers, I make some important distinctions between the lefts in
the two nations. – Richard Fidler

* * *

The program introduction speaks of “convergence” as the goal. And it speaks of
an impasse between the lefts in Quebec and Canada, implying a divergence. So
I’ll begin by exploring this. In what follows I will focus on what can be termed
the political left, seeking political solutions to the problems addressed more
generally by the various social movements. And I will treat the NDP as a part of
the broad “left” in English Canada, for reasons I explain later.


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