Quebec and Alberta: the Clash of Perceptions (2003-2012)

Frédéric Boily, Brent Epperson


This study examines the evolution of the perception of Quebec in Alberta through the analysis of four events: the 2003 Quebec provincial election of Jean Charest and the Liberal party, the Harper government’s 2006 motion recognizing Quebec as a nation, the 2008 parliamentary prorogation and coalition attempt and, lastly, the 2012 Quebec provincial election of Pauline Marois and the Parti québécois. In our qualitative analysis of 202 articles in Alberta’s two principal dailies (the Edmonton Journal and the Calgary Herald), we demonstrate the evolution of the representations of Quebec political life in the Alberta media. We bring to light the ways in which depictions of Quebec became more critical after the 2003 Charest victory. Notably, we reveal that many commentators developed a “hostage thesis” of Quebec; in other words, they affirmed that Quebec behaves as an abductor, holding Canada captive and extorting money from the federal government (and thus from Alberta) to finance its generous social services. We equally demonstrate that the majority of articles concerning Quebec are simply informative or indifferent news stories and that some authors defend or praise Quebec.


Quebec; Alberta

Full Text:


@Canadian Political Science Review (CPSR). ISSN 1911-4125