The 26th premier of Quebec, Jacques Parizeau, who died June 1, was a critical catalyst in the transformation of French Canadians into Québécois. Photo/Wikimedia Commons via Jotru [http://bit.ly/1IJUTfZ]

Quebec took wrong path

By 
  • June 11, 2015

Claims of Jacques Parizeau’s grand stature as a statesman might seem exaggerated to some outside Quebec but the pomp around his funeral was expected and understandable.

From his bureaucratic days in the Quiet Revolution through the political twilight that followed his performance during the 1995 referendum, Parizeau, who died June 1, was a critical catalyst in the transformation of French Canadians into Québécois. Quebecers love to send off their own with panache, and the former premier was indisputably one of their own.  

What is less comprehensible is the lack of fanfare in the same week to mark the centenary of Saul Bellow, a native Quebecer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976, the only Canadian-born writer to gain the honour until Alice Munro in 2013.

True, Bellow’s family moved to Chicago when he was nine. His first novelistic triumph, The Adventures of Augie March, opens with the famous declaration: “I am an American, Chicago born — Chicago, that somber city — and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style, and will make the record in my own way: first to knock, first admitted; sometimes an innocent knock, sometimes a not so innocent.”

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