Politique provinciale et territoriale au Canada et au-delà

J19 - Heterogeneity, Minority Nationalism in Scotland, Catalonia, Canada Australia

Date: Jun 14 | Heure: 01:45pm to 03:15pm | Salle:

Chair/Président/Présidente : Nadia Verrelli (Laurentian University)

Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Neil Cruickshank (North Island College)

Should We Stay or Should We Go? Exploring Justifications for Independence and Union in the Scottish Election Study: Paul Anderson (Liverpool John Moores University)
Abstract: Almost two decades after the establishment of the Scottish Parliament, and ten years since the referendum on Scottish independence, the debate on independence is far from settled. Support for Scottish statehood has remained steady since 2014, with polls regularly showing an almost 50:50 split between pro-independence and pro-union voters. Using qualitative data from the 2021 Scottish Election Study, this paper examines the reasons citizens provide for their constitutional preference to either remain or leave the United Kingdom. Making use of this data, the paper analyses the prevalence of the different types of argument among respondents and compares the centrality of these arguments among pro-independence and pro-Union voters. Following an inductive coding process, ten categories were identified, including economic arguments, identity and constitutional arguments, EU/Brexit and Good Governance and Democracy. The aim of the paper is to understand the stated motivation of unionist and independentist voters in the Scottish context.

The Relationship between Regional Language Use in Scotland and Catalonia and Support for Independence: Mare Ushkovska (International Balkan University)
Abstract: Language is closely interlinked with the formation of national identities and the promotion of some regional languages in Europe has been associated with separatist movements, such as those in Corsica, Catalonia, the Basque Region, and Scotland. This paper analyses how regional language use in Scotland and Catalonia relates to support for their national independence. Through survey data and quantitative descriptive method, this research finds that, despite the comparable history of Catalonia and Scotland, use of the regional language affects views on territorial separatism differently in each region. Successive Scottish governments have stated that raising the status of the Gaelic language is important for the promotion of the Scottish cultural heritage and for language preservation. However, disproving widely held beliefs that speaking the Gaelic or Scots language translates into support for Scottish independence, the areas where these languages are most used have overwhelmingly voted against separating from the UK in the 2014 referendum. This indicates that language in Scotland is not a determinant of preference for national independence. Alternatively, this research finds that the dispute on the status of Catalonia, is not only political, but also demographical and anthropological. The increase in Catalan language users among the younger generations in the past decades and the rising number of descendants of Spanish immigrants in Catalonia self-identifying as Catalan correspond to a growing support for Catalan independence in recent years.

“Don’t Touch the Third Rail!” Explaining the Puzzling Divergence Between Australian and Canadian Rail Metworks.: Patrick Desjardins (University of Ottawa)
Abstract: Though both continental sized Westminster federations, Australia and Canada’s rail transportation network diverge significantly. Australia’s is exceptionally fragmented for an advanced industrial country, featuring three major, and largely incompatible, track gauges, yet Canada has, by contrast, developed a highly integrated rail network based on a single gauge. This is a counterintuitive outcome given a longstanding assumption held by many scholars of comparative federalism that the presence of linguistic heterogeneity and minority nationalism is expected to lead to constituent-unit policy divergence and political decentralization (Simeon 1972; Erk 2008), suggesting that, as a largely unilingual country, it is Australia, and not Canada, that should have the more centralized rail network. This paper thus presents an alternate explanation for this counterintuitive policy divergence, one based on the concept of the infrastructural capacity (Ziblatt 2006) of constituent units at the time of federation. Using a comparative historical methodology, this paper argues that the relatively more developed capacities of Ontario and Québec at confederation meant they could impose a standard on the much weaker provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. By contrast, in Australia, the infrastructural capacities of South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland at the time of the federation were equivalent, meaning neither could impose its preferred standard on the other’s. These patterns of policymaking, it is argued, can be understood to have had a lasting influence on the dynamics of Australian and Canadian federalism, illuminating the tendency of egalitarian centralization in Australia, and of somewhat resentful decentralization in Canada.