Why Canadian Unity Matters and Why Americans Care: Democratic Pluralism at Risk


300 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-8020-4873-0
DDC 971.4'04




Reviewed by Edelgard E. Mahant

Edelgard E. Mahant is a professor of political science at York
University. She is the co-author of Invisible and Inaudible in
Washington: American Policies Toward Canada and An Introduction to
Canadian–American Relations.


Why do Americans care about the possible secession of Quebec from
Canada? According to the author of this book, they care because if
democratic pluralism cannot successfully contain cultural nationalism in
a democratic country like Canada, then there is little hope for the rest
of the world. Doran explores the likelihood of Quebec secession and
examines its cost in terms of the security of the North American
continent and the economic losses Quebec might suffer. He also attempts,
not too successfully, to relate Quebec secession to theories of
nationalism and democracy.

The most interesting part of the book is the description of what
Washington would do if Quebec did attempt to secede from Canada. With
cool dispassion the author contemplates what he calls the unraveling of
Canada. The United States, he writes, would offer “regional
affiliation” to each of the remaining parts of Canada. Each of these
new entities could be economically integrated with the United States and
would not need armies, since the Americans could supply security. The
fact that Doran has worked for several American administrations raises
the question of whether this chilling scenario is based on inside

Whether the book’s target audience is Canadians or Americans (or
both), the author should have included a short historical section and
glossary of names and terms. How many Canadians, let alone Americans,
remember the Charlottetown Accord or have heard of the Calgary
Declaration? As it stands, the book is of limited use to knowledgeable
Canadians, but assumes too much from all but a handful of American
Canada specialists.


Doran, Charles F., “Why Canadian Unity Matters and Why Americans Care: Democratic Pluralism at Risk,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 13, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/7647.