A Fractured Identity: The 1980 Referendum and the Italians of Montreal

Type of resource
A Fractured Identity: The 1980 Referendum and the Italians of Montreal
The author notes that the City of Montreal has long served as a hub for political and social change and agitation within Canada. Home to numerous currents of migration in Canada, these waves of migrants exercised their political agency within Montreal to carve out their own form of autonomy and identity. He points out that Italian Canadians had a unique impact on the sociopolitical fabric of Montreal; by contrast, events such as the Quiet Revolution, October Crisis, and the 1980 Quebec Referendum split the community regarding Québécois nationalism and their decision to engage with it. The author contends that despite their monolithic perception by the general public, the Italian Canadian community in Montreal was not as opposed to the 1980 referendum or Quebec nationalism as popular sentiment indicates. In fact, he maintains, generational differences and migration patterns influenced the degrees of support or dissent that arose during debates of Quebec nationalism and the idea of sovereignty. The author notes that the Italians of Montreal had unique ways of propagating their views through community organizations and documents. Italian-language newspapers in particular disparaged Québécois nationalist groups. He points out that despite this prevailing outlook, there was engagement with the separatist movement by Italians, many of them either from earlier generations that had migrated to the city in the interwar period and integrated within Quebec society, or the children of those who arrived in the postwar period. Language legislation was also considered by Italians as part of the sovereigntist project, and the Italian-Canadian community had differing views on the subject of linguistic education. Press outlets clamored against linguistic consolidation through language legislation such as Bills 22 and 101, while certain notable members of the community supported these bills as extensions of the sovereigntist project. The author argues that overall, the Italian Canadian community in Montreal was engaged within the referendum both as agents of separatism and federalism, involved both with the Parti Québécois and the Liberal Party of Quebec.
Master's Thesis
McGill University
# of Pages
Pannunzio, Anthony. “A Fractured Identity: The 1980 Referendum and the Italians of Montreal.” Master’s Thesis, McGill University, 2023. https://escholarship.mcgill.ca/concern/theses/ft848w449.
Find in a library