Letters to a Québécois Friend


136 pages
ISBN 0-7735-0777-9
DDC 971.4'04




Reviewed by Alexander Craig

Alexander Craig, a journalist in Lennoxville, Quebec, was a professor of
Political Science at the University of Western Ontario.


Relations between Quebec and troc (The Rest of Canada) are once again
the top of the nation’s agenda. Are there new ways of looking at the
matter? And, almost as important, are there relatively painless ways?

This book’s authors and publishers seem to think so, and they provide
a fairly persuasive case. The book was originally written to an
imaginary Québécois friend, but asking the prolific and argumentative
Latouche to add a no-holds-barred response, emotional and intellectual,
of more than 30 pages, was a good idea.

The main part of the book—Resnick’s ten letters or short essays,
setting out his views on such topics as national identity—would by
itself be in danger of being pedantic when not petulant: “You in
Quebec betrayed us on the Free Trade Agreement, after all that sympathy
we on the Canadian left showed to you.” As Latouche demonstrates, this
approach too easily leads to a dialogue of the deaf.

Resnick’s honest statements of his opinions elicit equally honest, if
rather more barbed, responses from Latouche. The latter says, for
instance, “As someone who has had to live for years with a host of
reactionary, xenophobic, ethnocentric and occasionally openly racist
Quebec nationalists, let me welcome you to the nationalist club. A word
of warning for you: it is not easy living and you will soon come to miss
your former detachment. . .”

This book is at once stimulating and entertaining.


Resnick, Philip., “Letters to a Québécois Friend,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 18, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/29174.