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What we have in common
Ce que nous avons en commun

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This text is about Scotland. ...or is it about Quebec? Everyone of these statements can be applied to both nations. Let us review some aspects of "this" nation...



  • This people inhabited the land before the English arrived (the arrival of the French forefathers of Quebec in North America preceded by five years the Anglo-American Pilgrim Fathers of the Mayflower).
  • National identity and conciousness had risen in this nation before being united with England.
  • This nation suffered sustained military attacks by England for long periods of time, and had its heroes and defenders publicly shamed and executed. Resistance has been violently crushed.
  • At one point, AN ACT OF UNION WAS PASSED, uniting the nation with its English neighbour, after an earlier attempt had failed (Scotland and Ireland’s A.O.U.s actually INSPIRED the Act of Union of 1840 for Quebec, seeing how “well” assimilation and domestication was working there).
  • The Act of Union ended the parliament of the nation and consecrated a political union of parliaments with a set proportion of seats for the nation’s representatives. The nation’s parliament would be returned eventually.
  • The nation’s union with its English neighbour was eventually cemented by a national elite, without the consent of the people (the Confederation for Quebec, the Act of Union for Scotland).
  • Arguably, scorn from the English neighbour has been historically suffered by this nation.
  • This nation has historically counted on France as an international ally.
  • This nation’s language has been subjected to attempts of eradication. The struggle for its survival in the face of the English language continues to this day. This nation’s language is spoken more in rural areas than in its greatest urban center.
  • At the turn of the 20th century, this nation suffered massive emigration to the United States due to unemployment. Many Americans today, including public figures, have some heritage from this nation and many still hold the original patronymns.
  • In the 20th century, after a number of years of support for conservative politicians, this nation became a bastion of progressive politics.
  • The people of this nation that some would call “old-stock” has had a history of inferior social status to the English, under the union with their neighbour.
  • In the past, the industrial development of this nation was lagging compared to its English neighbour.
  • This nation has a history of having higher unemployment rates than their English neighbour.



  • The main modern nationalist party is born out of the union of a left-wing party and a right-wing party (the Mouvement-souveraineté association and the Ralliement national in Quebec; the National Party of Scotland, and the Scottish Party in Scotland).
  • This nation has had in its history a nationalist party simply named after the national demonym, in a relatively rare fashion (Scotland had the Scottish Party; Quebec has had two examples, which are the Parti canadien, named after how French Quebecers called themselves in the 19th century, and later of course the Parti Québécois).
  • The modern independence movement of this nation has been relatively more peaceful than others.
  • The modern independence movement has moderate and hardline factions, which have debated in the past on the method to be used to gain independence (in Quebec, there are the “étapistes” and the so-called “purs et durs”; in Scotland, there are the “gradualists” and the “fundamentalists”).
  • The modern independence movement has chosen the referendum as a way to obtain popular consent for independence.
  • The main nationalist party has to deal with third-parties taking votes from pro-independence voters. A socialist-leaning party is one of them (Quebec has “Québec solidaire”; Scotland has the Scottish Socialist Party and now... “Solidarity”). There is also a Green Party taking some of these votes (the Green Party of Quebec is neutral on independence, but gathers a lot of its support from the movement’s followers).
  • The sovereign entity this nation belongs to is, or has been recently, lead by one of its own as Prime Minister (Gordon Brown for the United Kingdom, Jean Chrétien for Canada).
  • This nation has a party with a history of being the party of progressive politics. However, in recent times, the main nationalist party has moved to its left and the former has been seen as closer to the center-right (the Parti libéral in Quebec; the Labour Party in Scotland).
  • The last elections in this nation showed the prospect of the main nationalist party holding a minority government. Pundits, journalists and politicians debated on if and how the main nationalist party, to hold a referendum, would gain the voting support of the party in favour of more autonomy, that is third in the opinion polls (the PQ and the Action démocratique in Quebec; the SNP and the Liberal Democrats in Scotland).
  • After the decolonisation movement, some amongst the nationalist movement of this nation drew analogies with their own national situation.
  • Seats at the parliament of the sovereign state this nation belongs to are held by nationalist representatives of this nation (Bloc Québécois is in Ottawa; the SNP is in Westminster).
  • Opponents of the independence movement speak of “divorce”, of “separation”, of great economic perils, in case of independence, and suggest that “separating” while the world “unites” in greater ensembles would be reactionnary.
  • Opponents of the independence movement raise the fear of people losing their pensions.
  • While being center-left, the main nationalist party has a policy of reducing tax on corporation to help business.
  • When nationalist elected members of parliament take their Oath of Allegiance, to be “faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth”, nationalist representatives tend to mock or tamper with the oath (the pompous phrasing is the same in Quebec and Scotland).
  • Additionally to identity and history-related reasons, the nationalist movement has, in recent times, developped economic arguments based on a fiscal imbalance putting their nation at a disadvantage (Quebec has the so-called “Déséquilibre fiscal” and service-doubling costs arguments; Scotland has the “Scotland’s oil” argument).
  • The modern nationalist movement tends to gravitate around the Social Democratic center-left.
  • Scandinavian countries have been of notable inspiration for the progressive and pro-independence movements of this nation.
  • The nationalist movement has, in recent times, been in support of supranational unions respectful of nations (the SNP is for European Union membership; the PQ is for “Sovereignty-Association” or a similar agreement).
  • Article One of the party programme of the main nationalist party is independence.
  • The main nationalist party, drawing from past electoral experiences of high popular vote but low seats, has campaigned in the past for proportional representation.
  • The main nationalist party has released a “WHITE PAPER” outlining plans for independence (in 2007, Alex Salmond’s government released the “White Paper”; in 1979, René Lévesque’s government released the “Livre blanc”).
  • The main nationalist party has drafted a referendum question asking for a parliamentary mandate to “negotiate a new settlement” with the central government (exact phrasing for the SNP in 2007; same basic phrasing in French for the PQ in 1980 and 1995).
  • The main nationalist party has proposed a non-partisan “National Conversation” on the nation’s future (the PQ has in 2008 released a first draft of a new platform calling for a “Conversation nationale”, also, the Bélanger-Campeau Commission of the 1990s in Quebec is reminescent of the “National Conversation” enterprise of the Salmond SNP government in Scotland).
  • To put the nation’s people in confidence, before the first time they won power, the main nationalist party promised a good government first, with the promise of holding a referendum.



  • This nation secured systems and institutions in matters of law, education and religion that are seperate from its English neighbour.
  • This nation has one of the oldest parliaments in world history.
  • The way this nation’s parliament works is partly inspired by the British parliamentary system.
  • This nation is currently run by a minority government.
  • The nation has its own National Library.



  • This nation is part of a larger family of nations in the continent (Scotland has the Celtic nations, Quebec has French America; that it to say Acadia, Cajuns, the Metis, the Brayons, the diaspora of Franco-Ontarians, of Franco-Americans, etc.) This nation is one of the best known of its family and one of the most politically important.
  • In this nation, “Robert Burns” is a local figure (the nationalist PQ minister in Quebec, of Irish roots, and the poet in Scotland).
  • This nation has Celtic roots (many came to Quebec from Brittany during the French Regime and from Ireland afterwards; also, the French have faraway roots in Gaul).
  • This nation plays curling.
  • This nation has a language law and a language regulating body (Quebec has Bill 101 and the Office québécois de la langue française; Scotland has the Gaelic Language Bill and the Bòrd na Gàidhlig, and the Scots language has the similar organization called Scots Tung).
  • This nation has a national tartan.
  • This nation gives great symbolic value to its poets.
  • This nation gives great symbolic value to its folkloric music.
  • This nation’s folkloric includes “reels”.
  • This nation has a “language continuum” (from Standard Quebec French to Joual; from Standard Scottish English to Scots).
  • This nation’s patron saint is of symbolic significance, even outside religion. The feast of this saint is observed as the official National Day.
  • The national flower of this nation also has a noted symbolic and patriotic significance for its people.
  • This nation’s capital is not the most populous. A city not so far to the west surpassed it at some point in history.
  • Many in this nation have faraway roots in Ireland, since some of the people from there immigrated to this nation’s territory at some point in history. Ireland has notably influenced this nation’s culture.
  • In the center of this nation’s largest city, in a major square, is a statue of Robert Burns the poet (Dorchester Square in Montreal, George Square in Glasgow).
  • This nation is populated by about half a dozen million people.
  • This nation has a national flag showing a cross upon a blue field. This flag has deep history and is very emotionally significant to the people. This flag has military history.
  • This nation has more than one popular national anthems, but none is official.
  • A meal typical of this nation seems strange to many foreigners (Quebec’s poutine, Scotland’s haggis).
  • Many people think this nation’s weather is just terrible. However, it is part of the cultural fabric of the nation.