Article Title

“A Man Without a Country”: Experiences of Francophone Migration during the Quiet Revolution


There are numerous studies on shifting Francophone-Anglophone relations during the Quiet Revolution, and migration studies tend to focus on Anglophones who sought opportunity outside Québec (Pettinicchio 2012). However, less attention has been paid to the experiences of Francophones who migrated to English Canada during this period. Undeniably, these people had their own unique political, economic and social motivations for leaving Québec at this time. Their adopted communities brought experiences of cultural assimilation and language loss, which have been previously explored in relation to First Peoples in Canada and the indigenous groups of other countries (e.g. Hallett et al. 2007; Wanhalla 2007).

Using the oral history of a Francophone whose family migrated from Québec to British Columbia during the 1960s, I reveal the roles of motivation, alienation, assimilation and language in his migration experience. I argue that (1) the motivations of these Francophone migrants were complex, involving not only politico-economic reasons but also social and personal ones, (2) their subsequent experiences of alienation and assimilation were intimately connected to language and were sometimes self-enforced to prevent low-level persecution, (3) this partial assimilation resulted in a lack of belonging in both their original and adopted communities. My informant’s narrative cannot speak for all interprovincial Francophone migrants, but it does provide insight into the intimate nuances and complexities of the situation that are often overlooked in generalized statistical approaches.

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