Quebec 1936

The New idea of the Nation

Source: Les Grands texts indépendantistes by André Ferretti 7 Gaston Miron. Editons de l’Hexagone, Montreal, 1992;
Written: March 28 1936;
Translated: for by Mitch Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2005.

Nationalism in Quebec in the 1930’s was not only largely clerical, leaning heavily on the notion of a French-Catholic messianic role, but strongly influenced by Italian fascism. Paul Bouchard was a founding editor of La Nation and an organizer for the dictatorial Prime Minister of Quebec, Maurice Duplessis.

Basing ourselves on a close analysis of its historical evolution and the present situation, we present to the nation, like a block of irrefragable logic, the most coherent and daring of programs of political, economic and social reconstruction. In addition re-adapting the nationalism of Abbé Groulx to the needs of the present and to current circumstances, we confront the social question and the economic crisis through corporatism. This is the most constructive and complete project for national renovation ever presented to French-Canadians. Through it we have the courage to confront the prejudices and the very flaws of the nation. Through the renewal of Italy, implacable Mussolinian logic has demonstrated to us that when a people has descended to a certain degree of degeneration only a program of totalitarian action can raise it up and save it. In grouping together all the demands of our people we are bringing it the needed remedies.

The economic crisis, at the same time that it justified the conclusions of the inquiry in L’Action française on the spreading domination of foreign capital and our gradual impoverishment, complicated our national problems by adding a serious social and economic problem. This has forced the nation to a useful revision of its scale of political values and has opened its eyes to the great dangers that threaten its existence and its survival.

The final flowering of our nationality through the foundation of a free French state, which our patriotism alone should have us desire, will henceforth be imposed on us for economic reasons. Seeing that any program of reforms or reformist half-measures is inane because of the great obstacle posed to their realization by the existing division of powers and the growing centralization that are part of the federal state, our people should surrender to the obvious fact that only a free state, sovereign master of its commercial legislation, of its immigration and customs, can radically reconstruct the nation anew, based on a modern plan in conformity with the needs of the century. It will than demand separation.

This is why while all the time maintaining the mystique of a French state as the term of our political evolution, we affirm that it is the only remedy to all of our social and economic ills.

We thus give the formation of a French national state as an offering to the nationalist ideal.

And to the economic and social questions that preoccupy the nation as much as nationalism we offer corporatism as a solution once separation has occurred.

To people whose clothing is in rags we don’t offer to stitch them together: we offer them new ones. For there is more to be done than merely reducing the gas or electric bill. The people must be given again the conquering spirit of our discoverers and pioneers: this will erase the mentality of the defeated. They must be given an education that will render them daring and capable, seconded in their efforts by a national government. Through the development of their natural qualities and a renewal of French civilization in America they must take in hand the reins of their economy and destiny.

The program of logical nationalism of “La Nation” solves all of our problems with a radical step beyond which it is impossible to go without falling into a leveling antinationalism and communism. Separation first, corporatism afterwards. A question of life or death.

Paul Bouchard
La Nation

March 28, 1936