Since the fall the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War the theme for international politics has been redefined. In the wake of the BI-polar conflict ethnic battles have come to shape the international political landscape of the 1990's and early 21st century. Example of this change can be found all over the world in places like the former Yugoslavia, Russia, Spain, East Timor, and Africa. Yet there is example of ethnic conflict that is much closer to the United States than you think, Quebec. The French speaking providence of our neighbors to the north Canada has in the past 20 years voted twice on secession from the Canadian union with support growing each time. It comes to a shock to most Americans that Canada, an advanced industrialized western nation, could be facing the possible treat of partition. Yet the possibility is very real and shows no sign of going away. The Canadian government has shown no signs of allowing Quebec independence if a future referendum should happen to pass. In the following look at Quebec's quest for sovereignty the three major paradigms of international politics will be used to study the events of the last referendum for sovereignty held in 1995. By using the Realist, Liberal, and Marxist views of international events we will gain a better perspective of the Quebec move for independence and it's goals. With ethnic conflict being the climate of international politics today, the Quebec secessionist movement has picked up steam. What does the Quebec referendum mean for Canada's and the rest of the western democracies when an ethnic group chooses succession?.
To understand the dramatic differences in culture between Quebec and the rest of English Canada a look at the country's past is necessary. English explorer John Cabot stumbled onto Canada in 1497 while searching for a Northwest Passage to Asia (Hiebert p1). Shortly after that in 1539 to keep pace with the English, King Francis I of France commissioned Jacques Cartier to also seek a Northwest Passage to Asia (Hiebert p1).