In Search of Territoriale Integriteit and the Société Distincte: A Comparative Study of Separatism in Belgium and Canada and Recommendations for the Exportation of Institutions

Posted on April 15, 2012 by Kristin Zuhone

Geographically incomparable – insomuch that one occupies 30,528 square kilometers and the other constitutes the second largest country in the world by total area – yet politically and culturally analogous to the extent that both contain significant French-speaking minorities, the federal parliamentary constitutional monarchies of Belgium and Canada present ideal cases for comparison.[1] [2] Moreover, in both instances, the development of nationalist conflict and separatist movements since the nineteenth century has conformed to the following paradigm of five steps: mutually beneficial accord, cultural-linguistic grievances, risk management via federalization, renewed liability, and potential resolution. With regard to the last step, this analysis proposes that the two states engage in a reciprocal transfer of institutions, particularly in the fields of electoral methods, representation, intergovernmental relations, and language policy, to ensure the prompt cessation of political and civil strife by tactics commonly satisfactory to the parties concerned.

Definition of Terms
Due to their possibly ambiguous meanings, frequent use within this study, and pertinence to its argument, several concepts – namely ethnic groupautonomyseparatism,nationalism, and institution – necessitate clarification. Ethnic group remains preferable to esoteric terms such as substate national group or constituent of a robust multinational society in reference to the Flemings, Walloons, and French-speaking residents of Quebec because it functions as “convenient cognitive shorthand” for communicating differences in “important determinants of humans’ life chances,” which include their linguistic cleavages and customs.[3] [4] [5] The autonomy that the above ethnic groups seek ordinarily assumes the forms of a federal arrangement in which state boundaries correspond to linguistic ones and the right to administer schools in their language with the support of public funds.[6] Separatism, which comprises the specific tendencies of secessionism, sovereigntism, and autonomism, typifies the ambitions of a nationalist movement, or a “regionally concentrated group that conceives of itself as a nation within a larger state” and mobilizes to guarantee acknowledgement of its nationhood.[7] Finally, institutions consist of the “interrelated rules and routines that define appropriate actions” by restricting the number of alternatives to them, largely formulating the preferences of participants, and creating a structure by which to interpret historical events.[8]

Accord: The Origins of Federation
Two dynamics – that of “coming together” in which a constructive impulse joins states and that of “holding together” in which a preservative impulse functions accordingly – indicate the reasons for which and the stages in which federations form.[9] Whereas the appearance of a federal structure within Belgium required that the Flemings and Walloons possess only the motive of “coming together,” the equivalent process in Canada involved elements of both dynamics as the first united the French- and English-speaking Canadas and the second incorporated the Maritime Provinces after the colonial and regional governments had negotiated sufficient incentives.[10]

The unitary constitutional monarchy of Belgium emerged from aborted linguistic reform in 1830, a brief war of secession in 1831, and the Treaty of London in 1839, all of which articulated the inveterate antagonism between the dominant Dutch-speaking population of the Flemish provinces and the French-speaking Walloons in the south of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands.[11] While the “overwhelming salience” of language had primarily distinguished these two groups, debate concerning relations between the Catholic Church and the Belgian state matured amid the receding threat of Dutch intervention in the 1840s and generated a two-party system of Catholic and Liberal factions.[12] The formation of the Labour Party in 1885 indicated that class problems and workers’ rights had eclipsed religious concerns as paramount issues in the electorate. Since the introduction of proportional representation in 1900 and especially World War I, nearly all governments have “combined the center with either the left or conservative parties.”[13] In 1962, such a coalition between Social Christians and Socialists linguistically defined the Walloon and Flemish areas and promulgated bilingualism in Brussels.[14] Consecutive revisions to the constitution in 1970, 1980, 1988, and 1993 allocated power to three political orders – the central government, the three Regions, and the three Communities – and thus produced a formal federation.[15]

In accordance with the Durham Report, an investigation of dissident activity in Quebec which recommended that the “Catholic, conservative French-speaking community … [assimilate] into a British identity and British political institutions,” the lower French and upper English colonies formed the Province of Canada by means of the Act of Union, 1840.[16] Yet an impasse of French and English relations, the necessity of economic development to counteract the flight of British capital, and the vulnerability of separate colonies before the resurgent United States provided sufficient rationale for “confederation,” or the process of carving out and joining Canadian provinces within afederal structure, in 1867.[17] [18] [19]The federation initially consisted of four provinces – Quebec and Ontario with their respectively French- and English-speaking majorities, as well as Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in the Maritimes – and chartered six others from western and Atlantic territories by 1949.[20] In 1999, the addition of Nunavut, the first jurisdiction with an aboriginal majority, to the Yukon and Northwest Territories established the current bounds of Canadian geography and federalism.[21] Nevertheless, the arrangement demonstrates a high degree of asymmetry, as evinced in the Constitution Act, 1867 regarding language, education, and civil law in Quebec and in subsequent provisions for the distinctiveness of that province.[22]

Grievance: The Birth of Separatism
The course by which secessionist tendencies arose among the Dutch- and French-speaking populations in Belgium differs from that perceptible within the only Canadian province of a Francophone majority in several ways. Most basically, the Belgian conflict articulated the motives – linguistic in addition to economic ones – of two peoples, while that of the Québécois expressed the concerns – principally cultural-linguistic in nature – of a single ethnic group. Modes of separatism aside from those aspiring to formal independence, including the potential for partition in Belgium and the rival positions of sovereigntism and autonomism in Quebec, have materialized in these cases as well.[23][24]

On the one hand, nationalist conflict between the Flemings and Walloons emanated from linguistic inequality. Nineteenth-century Flemish intellectuals sought recognition of individual language rights for Dutch-speakers since French had received official status despite constitutional guarantees otherwise.[25] Following its victory with the Equalization Act of 1898, the movement resisted portraying the tensions as Flemish-Francophone;[26]however, additional language laws in the 1930s reinforced territorial unilingualism to assuage fears that “nationwide bilingualism would take jobs away from French speakers,” the Flemish movement perceived encroachments on its borders, and the federalistVolksunie party entered parliament.[27] On the other hand, economic disparity led to mutual antagonism between the Flemish and Walloon populations. Because robust Belgian companies withdrew capital from Wallonia’s steel and coal industries in favor of foreign investments or Flemish urban centers, the standard of living in Flanders, as well as its GNP per capita, consequently surpassed that of the rival territory.[28] Likewise to the Flemish nationalists, the Walloons mobilized under the radical socialist platform of theMouvement populaire Wallon, which entered parliament in 1965.[29] A complementary party specific to Brussels, the Front démocratique des francophones, emerged as the two movements disputed opposing federal models – one consisting of two cultural communities and another of three economic regions.[30]

Since their defeat in the Seven Years’ War, the Francophones have conceived of their national identity in a fashion that fails to align with that of the English-speaking population.[31] Political circumstances, namely the subjection of Quebec to the preferences of other provinces and a “fear of extinction” arising from demographic inferiority, rapid assimilation, and legislative rebuffs, have transformed these French-speakers from the original Canadiens to French Canadians, “defined primarily by language and religion,” and finally to the Québécois, a national identity “centered on the Quebec state.”[32] [33] [34]Moreover, the commitment to nonterritorial minority rights that Canada proclaimed in its Charter of Rights and Freedoms has threatened to relegate Francophones to the commons status of aboriginal leaders, immigrants, and social movements.[35] This multicultural representation of Canada, like the provincialist notion in which each is “distinctive in its own way,” contradicts the historic model of dualism to which Francophones still aspire. Such an interpretation also accounts for the election of the Parti Québécois, which promotes a “sovereign Quebec” and sustained “association” with the rest of the country, in 1976, 1981, 1994, and 1998.[36][37] [38] The Bloc Québécois, its counterpart in the House of Commons, has received 38 to 54 seats since 1993 and prior to 2011.[39]

Risk Management: The Preservation of Unity
To the extent that neither the hostilities between Flemings and Walloons nor the struggle for recognition of cultural distinctiveness in Quebec has generated widespread violence or regularly employed acts of terrorism, the two instances of nationalist conflict are analogous. Similarly, the expansion of intergovernmental relations and near absence of concurrent competencies from the national government and subnational units have produced comparable models of “dual” and “interstate federalism” in Belgium and Canada.[40] [41] Nevertheless, the first “give[s] each group control over those central policies that matter most to them” and the second is “structured as a highly competitive relationship” among provinces seeking resources.[42] [43]

Even at its peak in the 1970s, territorial conflict involved more disruptiveness than violence and became associated with nonterritorial issues like the monarchical question, religious education, and industrial crises; however, the Flemish boycott of census inquiries about language, demonstrations concerning the linguistic border, and riots at the Catholic University of Leuven present significant exceptions.[44] The diminished scope and frequency of territorial conflict, for it has most recently beset Voeren and thefaciliteitengemeenten surrounding Brussels, coincided with the shift from a unitary to a federal state in 1993.[45] As supporters of major parties demanded federalist platforms or defected to nationalist movements and the central decision load remained high,[46] [47]power-sharing mechanisms did not provide effective channels for managing territorial conflict and thus obligated elites to “hollow out the center.”[48] In contrast, the constitutional revisions responsible for federalization “put language usage as an issue to sleep” by several means.[49] Namely, members of Parliament represented cultural interests in Dutch- and French-speaking Community councils, Regional and Community executives exercised exclusive competencies in a jurisdictional division of labor,[50] and a bureaucratic network encouraged consultation between national and subnational governments.[51] The Regions rejected partition and secession because such processes would weaken the domestic market and terminate transfers through taxation respectively.[52]

During a period of extensive social and political change called the Quiet Revolution, the formation of a Canadian welfare state and increasing license for Quebec to “opt out of … programs with full financial compensation” heightened economic prosperity and nationalist sentiment.[53] Consequently, the Front de libération du Québec bombed Montreal in 1967 and kidnapped representatives Pierre LaPorte and James Cross in the October Crisis.[54][55] These events, which disturbed both the mass and elite levels,[56] present the only acts of violence attributable to separatism in Quebec and demonstrate that conflict instead occurred in the “framework of democratic politics.”[57] In the 1980s, the central government sought to convince Quebecers of the likelihood that secession would prove a difficult task.[58] Despite its province’s exemption from the national pension plan and separate income tax system,[59] [60] the Parti Québécois negotiated “sovereignty with continued association” by referendum in 1980 but secured only 40 percent support.[61]Following its exclusion from the decision on constitutional repatriation in 1982, the rejection of the Meech Lake Accord, and the defeat of the Charlottetown Accord, the Quebec government attempted a second referendum in 1995 but narrowly lacked majority support. Thereupon, it sought options that “did not involve constitutional change,”[62] primarily a reliance on intergovernmental relations to coordinate national and regional interests.[63]

Liability: The Remnants of Conflict
The newly settled political crisis in Belgium distinguishes the probable course of separatism in that state from the future durability of nationalist movements in Quebec. Analysts of the situation in Belgium concur that the federal government should mistrust further devolution as “changes … to the political build-up of a country have a long-term snowballing effect” and may weaken the central mandate, national unity, and territorial integrity of Brussels.[64] On the contrary, the faltering of national support for sovereigntism in 2011 and the remarkable emanation of provincial support for autonomism four years prior signal a potential transition in the objectives and strategies of Quebec nationalism.[65] [66]

Under the leadership of prime minister Yves Leterme, the Flemish Christian Democrats and New-Flemish Alliance (N-VA) negotiated a coalition with the Flemish Liberal Democrats (Open VLD) and several French-speaking parties for 196 days following the 2007 general election. Nevertheless, the incipient regime collapsed after the parties futilely debated the constitutionality of the Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde (BHV) electoral district, the Open VLD withdrew its support, and Leterme resigned.[67] In the aftermath of their nearly equal electoral gains in 2010, the N-VA and Socialist Party negotiated a coalition for 541 days but failed to form a government.[68] The Francophone Elio Di Rupo assumed the premiership on 6 December 2011 – one month after Belgium’s credit rating suffered a downgrade – and thereby concluded the political crisis that nevertheless underscores three areas of deficiency and instability in the federal system.[69] Firstly, the country’s sustained operations despite the impasse at its center forebodes that national institutions no longer serve indispensable purposes amidst considerable devolution to subnational units.[70] Secondly, the cultural distinction between Flemings and Walloons, as well as the disparity of their opinions regarding economic and constitutional reform, remain salient, centrifugal forces.[71] Thirdly, separatist tendencies may intensify within the two Regions as they “wage intensive struggles for the control of … the smallest partner in the Belgian federation: Brussels.”[72]

In view of recent election results, the trajectory of Quebec sovereigntism appears significantly more propitious in the provincial rather than the federal arena. Although theParti Québécois has not secured a majority since 1998, it earned more than 25 percent of National Assembly seats in 2003 (36.0 percent), 2007 (28.8 percent), and 2008 (40.8 percent) despite the unprecedented gains of the autonomist party Action Démocratique du Québec in the penultimate election.[73] [74] Such competition between autonomist and sovereigntist preferences in Quebec confirms that “opinion is grouped around either renewed federalism or sovereignty-partnership.”[75] On the contrary, the Bloc Québécoisreproduced its breakout electoral performance by obtaining 54 seats in the 2004 election, but its success diminished in 2006 (51 seats), in 2008 (49 seats), and particularly in 2011 (4 seats), which deprived it of official party status in the House of Commons.[76] [77] At the federal level, the political dynamic has thus rejected the vision of a nation “functioning within a fundamentally reformed Quebec-Canada economic and political union.”[78]Because collective cultural identity continues to achieve primacy among Quebecers,[79]“there is little reason to proclaim the death of Quebec nationalism” but instead to expect that it will retreat from secessionist claims and consider a mutually advantageous position within the asymmetrical federal system.[80]\

Resolution: The Exportation of Institutions
Considering the parallel development of separatism in Belgium and Canada, in addition to the structural congruities and institutional particularities of their federal systems, the two governments would most effectively manage the residual strains of nationalist conflict by “exchanging” constitutional and customary features in four operational areas. These domains include traits of the electoral system; representation in the judiciary, legislative, and executive branches; the bearing of intergovernmental relations; and the objectives of language policy at the regional and national levels. Targeted constitutional engineering would necessarily precede such a transfer.

Constitutional Entrenchment
Before undertaking the reciprocal exportation of institutions, a means by which to extinguish separatist tendencies among and ensure the accommodation of ethnic groups who seek autonomy within their borders, the Belgian and Canadian governments must each satisfy one condition: the codification of Brussels’ territorial integrity and of Quebec’s status as a distinct society. Because ethnic groups effectively share power only after agreeing upon the inviolable boundaries of the place that they occupy,[81] respect for the constitutional definition of Brussels as a Region, the sole bilingual area, and the capital of Belgium will prove essential to the stability of a federation incorporating Flemings and Walloons.[82] [83] By substantiating or enhancing the decrees that specify Brussels as a constituent unit and not a contestable territory, the central government would dispel beliefs in the contingency of its borders,[84] moderate anxieties about Francophone infiltration, and mitigate disputes, such as those regarding the BHV.[85] [86] Similarly, recent attempts to “recognize the reality of Quebec’s distinctiveness by increasing constitutional asymmetry” have encountered the counterarguments of prosperity, cultural security, and flexibility under federal rule, languished before the prevalent notion of provincial equality, and obtained credence exclusively in statements of principle like the Calgary Declaration, a “much watered down” version of the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords.[87] [88]Indeed, the central government has perpetuated “constitutional silences and ambiguities” with the intention of avoiding conflict and has supported adjustments to the federal structure that do not require institutional reform, typically an enforcement mechanism in the face of devolution.[89]

Electoral Systems
Among the characteristics in which democracies correspond to the consensus and majoritarian models of government stand those related to the electoral system: the number of parties, the dimensions of the party system, and single- versus multiple-winner voting methods.[90] From 1971 to 1996, Belgium and Canada exhibited contrasting degrees of consensus democracy, 1.42 and -1.07, in which positive values directly correlate with the consensus model. Consequently, the exportation of majoritarian institutions to Belgium would decrease the incidence of deadlock among parties and that of consensus institutions to Canada would better align parliamentary composition with voter preferences.[91] The introduction of single-member constituencies in Belgium and the promotion of “organizational, financial, personnel, or ideological linkages” between the federal and provincial wings of parties in Canada present two obvious, though impracticable options.[92] [93] Although the Belgian constitution declares that “matters of municipal or provincial interest can be the subject of a referendum,” regional governments rarely employ that procedure and instead directly elect councils to rule upon the concerns, albeit in a less immediately conclusive fashion than the referendum allows in Canada and would achieve in the BHV electoral district.[94] [95] In the absence of compulsory voting, which has enabled Belgium to maintain the highest voting records in Europe, average turnout rates and popular cabinet support remain pervasively low – 33 and 45.8 percent respectively – in Canada. By obligating its citizenry to participate in elections, the Canadian government would reduce the dependence of voter turnout upon variable factors, such as the salience of issues, that occasion either apathetic or – as in the 1995 referendum on the sovereignty of Quebec – enthusiastic responses.[96]

Representation and Its Aims
Furthermore, another characteristic of consensus democracy – proportional representation – guarantees that “each party’s number of deputies will be exactly proportional to that of its voters;”[97] however, its application within two-unit federations, which the predominance of the Flemish and Walloon Regions in Belgium and the subset of relations between the Canadian government in Ottawa and the provincial one in Quebec exemplify informally, often evolves into an “insistence upon parity in all matters” susceptible to political impasse.[98] As the third Region in the Belgian federation, Brussels exercises few competencies independently and its sovereignty alongside Flanders and Wallonia therefore diminishes for two principal reasons. Firstly, the central government is able to function as Brussels’ executive for the promotion of its international and national role as capital. Secondly, because they possess judicial review of Brussels’ legislation, the courts can refuse to enforce its ordinances. [99] In contrast, the Canadian Supreme Court Act, 1985 ensures provincial autonomy and judicial equality – for the attorney general must be aware of hearings that question the constitutional validity of Acts passed by the provinces and at least three judges on the Supreme Court must advocate for Quebec – and would consequently prove ideal for exportation to Belgium.[100] Both the Canadian Senate, in which provinces suffer disproportional representation and “hence feel frozen out of political power at the center,” and the House of Commons, seventy-five members of which express the interests of Quebecers but not Francophones in particular, would benefit from the safeguards of regional proportionality and linguistic parity embedded in the Belgian Constitution.[101] [102]

Intergovernmental Relations
Three factors determine the nature of interactions between regions and the center, as well as among regional interests at the center: the distribution of resources, the division of labor, and checks on authority. In the event that resources appear at the center and the regions decide to share them, the process “unties actors’ hands as groups agree to go separate ways” and merits the description unlocking. In the opposite case, that is, one in which the regions carve up policy-making responsibilities and establish mutual checks on the others’ powers, the process “increase[s] interdependence among actors” and earns the designation interlocking.[103] The arrangement of the federal capital in Belgium, which exists simultaneously as a Region with local self-government,[104] a unifying force within a country of high cultural and linguistic heterogeneity,[105] and the political center of the European Union and N.A.T.O.,[106] offers ample opportunity for institutionalized reform in favor of the unlocking dynamic. If one of the two remaining Regions were to absorb Brussels, it would function – like Ottawa in the province of Ontario – “in a manner broadly similar to other cities within that state” and thereby interfere less in the association of Flanders and Wallonia.[107] [108] Canada could instead enhance the interlocking aspects of its governmental relations by coordinating its local and provincial elections as Belgium does,[109] by approving an alarm bell procedure for Quebec comparable to that of the 1970 Belgian state reform,[110] and – in view of current provisions for that province’s magnified influence over immigration and education – by devolving all competencies regarding language policy to Quebec.[111] [112]

Language Policy
Techniques by which to manage salient ethnic differences within a society assume one of three forms. Accommodation promotes multiple public identities, whereas integration encourages a single public identity but permits variation in private contexts and assimilation eliminates multiplicity and variation among public and private identities alike.[113] Insomuch that ethnic groups aspire “to express and celebrate their language, history, and culture in public space and public institutions,” accommodation presents the sole option in congruence with group preferences and necessarily precludes both integration and assimilation, evident in unrealized attempts to enforce unilingualism or partition the French- and English-speakers within Quebec. It also demonstrates that “the least conflictual state structure” would bequeath some cultural prerogatives by means of asymmetrical federalism.[114] [115] Thus, the Belgian government could satisfy the demands of Francophone minorities in the Flemish Region for unilingual instruction and facilitate travel between Flanders and Wallonia – since railway tickets are printed in Dutch above the Regional boundary and in French below it – in several ways. Most significantly, it could import the Canadian model of minority-language education,[116] [117] [118] as opposed to the occasional transfer of facilities in response to territorial dispute,[119] and the clauses that proclaim bilingualism in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.[120] A hybrid of the First Ministers’ Conferences, in which the Canadian prime minister and provincial premiers already debate constitutional matters,[121] and the Belgian Communities with their expanded competencies regarding language policy would likewise complement the official commitment to multiculturalism in Canada and ensure continuous representation of Francophone interests in the federal arena.[122] [123]

Since the points at which Belgium and Canada emerged from colonial domination as independent entities in 1831 and 1867 respectively, asymmetrical models of federalism have increasingly accommodated the claims of ethnic groups within their borders. The expansion of cultural-linguistic autonomy has progressively reconciled the sustained unity of the Belgian and Canadian states with separatist tendencies among the Flemings, Walloons, and Francophone population. Nevertheless, this comparative study assumes that the deployed processes and mechanisms have failed to extinguish the present nationalist ambitions in their entirety. In view of this paper’s findings, the Belgian and Canadian federations would benefit from and eventually resolve their internal conflicts by reciprocally exporting institutions concerning electoral methods, representation, intergovernmental relations, and language policy. These strategies could possibly apply to other regions, such as Alsace and the Caucasus, that tensions between ethnic groups or the ambitions of separatist movements currently plague.

[1] “Europe: Belgium,” The World Factbook, December 1, 2011, accessed December 19, 2011,
[2] “North America: Canada,” The World Factbook, November 15, 2011, accessed December 19, 2011,
[3] Will Kymlicka, Multicultural Odysseys: Navigating the New International Politics of Diversity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 177.
[4] Alfred Stepan, Juan J. Linz, and Yogendra Yadav, Crafting State-Nations: India and Other Multinational Democracies (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011), 262.
[5] Henry E. Hale, The Foundations of Ethnic Politics: Separatism of States and Nations in Eurasia and the World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 243.
[6] Arend Lijphart, Thinking About Democracy: Power Sharing and Majority Rule in Theory and Practice (New York: Routledge, 2008), 46.
[7] Kymlicka, Multicultural Odysseys, 68.
[8] Liesbet Hooghe, A Leap in the Dark: Nationalist Conflict and Federal Reform in Belgium(Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1991), 49.
[9] Richard Simeon, “Canada: Federalism, Language, and Regional Conflict,” inFederalism and Territorial Cleavages, eds. Ugo M. Amoretti and Nancy Bermeo (Baltimore: John Hopkins, 2004), 117.
[10] Stepan, Crafting State-Nations, 26.
[11] Alvin Rabushka and Kenneth A. Shepsle, Politics in Plural Societies: A Theory of Democratic InstabilityLongman Classics in Political Science (New York: Pearson/Longman, 2009), 108.
[12] Ibid., 109.
[13] Ibid., 112.
[14] Ibid.
[15] Ronald L. Watts, Comparing Federal Systems, 2nd ed. (Kingston, Ontario: Institute of Intergovernmental Relations/Queen’s University, 1999), 45.
[16] Simeon, “Canada: Federalism, Language, and Regional Conflict,” 95.
[17] Thomas O. Hueglin and Alan Fenna, Comparative Federalism: A Systematic Inquiry(Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2006), 122.
[18] Simeon, “Canada: Federalism, Language, and Regional Conflict,” 94.
[19] Watts, Comparing Federal Systems, 32.
[20] Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982, art. 6-7, Canadian Department of Justice, December 13, 2011, accessed December 19, 2011,
[21] Simeon, “Canada: Federalism, Language, and Regional Conflict,” 94.
[22] Watts, Comparing Federal Systems, 32.
[23] Liesbet Hooghe, “Belgium: Hollowing the Center,” in Federalism and Territorial Cleavages, eds. Ugo M. Amoretti and Nancy Bermeo (Baltimore: John Hopkins, 2004), 72.
[24] Ian Austen, “Seeking Majority, Quebec’s Premier Sets Election,”, November 5, 2008, accessed December 19, 2011, scp=12&sq=Quebec&st =nyt.
[25] Hooghe, “Belgium: Hollowing the Center,” 57.
[26] Hooghe, A Leap in the Dark, 40-41.
[27] Hooghe, “Belgium: Hollowing the Center,” 58-59.
[28] Hooghe, A Leap in the Dark, 15.
[29] Hooghe, “Belgium: Hollowing the Center,” 60.
[30] Hooghe, A Leap in the Dark, 16.
[31] Thomas O. Hueglin and Alan Fenna, Comparative Federalism: A Systematic Inquiry(Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2006), 122.
[32] Elizabeth Crighton and Martha Abele MacIver, “The Evolution of Protracted Ethnic Conflict: Group Dominance and Political Underdevelopment in Northern Ireland and Lebanon,” in Comparative Politics, vol. 23, no. 2 (January 1991), 139.
[33] Hueglin, Comparative Federalism, 81.
[34] Simeon, “Canada: Federalism, Language, and Regional Conflict,” 96.
[35] Ibid., 103.
[36] Ibid., 98.
[37] Hueglin, Comparative Federalism, 124.
[38] Simeon, “Canada: Federalism, Language, and Regional Conflict,” 104-6.
[39] Andrew Heard, “Canadian Election Results: 1867-2008,” accessed December 19, 2011.
[40] Hooghe, “Belgium: Hollowing the Center,” 75.

[41] Hueglin, Comparative Federalism, 222.
[42] Hooghe, “Belgium: Hollowing the Center,” 78.
[43] Simeon, “Canada: Federalism, Language, and Regional Conflict,” 103.
[44] Hooghe, “Belgium: Hollowing the Center,” 63.
[45] Ibid., 65.
[46] Eric A. Nordlinger, Conflict Regulation in Divided Societies, vol. 29 of Occasional Papers in International Affairs, (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, 1972), 85.
[47] Hooghe, A Leap in the Dark, 32.
[48] Hooghe, “Belgium: Hollowing the Center,” 78.
[49] Ibid., 57.
[50] Ibid.
[51] Hooghe, A Leap in the Dark, 21.
[52] Hooghe, “Belgium: Hollowing the Center,” 72.\
 Simeon, “Canada: Federalism, Language, and Regional Conflict,” 104.
[54] Ibid.
[55] Rabushka, Politics in Plural Societies, 6.
[56] R. Kent Weaver, “Electoral Rules and Party Systems in Federations,” in Federalism and Territorial Cleavages, eds. Ugo M. Amoretti and Nancy Bermeo (Baltimore: John Hopkins, 2004), 253.
[57] Simeon, “Canada: Federalism, Language, and Regional Conflict,” 115.
[58] Simeon, “Canada: Federalism, Language, and Regional Conflict,” 111.

[59] Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982, art. 94a.
[60] Simeon, “Canada: Federalism, Language, and Regional Conflict,” 116.
[61] Ibid., 106.
[62] Ibid., 111.
[63] Hueglin, Comparative Federalism, 222.
[64] Henri Astier, “Can divided Belgium hold together?,” BBC News, October 20, 2008, accessed December 19, 2011,
[65] Ian Austen, “Canadian Leader Celebrates Victory Over Opposition,”, May 3, 2011, accessed December 19, 2011, &st=nyt.
[66] Ian Austen, “Seeking Majority, Quebec’s Premier Sets Election,”, November 5, 2008, accessed December 19, 2011, &st=nyt.
[67] “Belgium’s king accepts Yves Leterme’s resignation,” BBC News, April 26, 2010, accessed December 19, 2011,
[68] “Belgium’s Flemish separatists make big election gains,” BBC News, June 14, 2010, accessed December 19, 2011,
[69] “Belgium swears in new government headed by Elio Di Rupo,” BBC News, December 6, 2011, accessed December 19, 2011,
[70] Jonty Bloom, “Belgium ‘a boat that will sink anyway’,” BBC News, February 23, 2011, accessed December 19, 2011,
[71] Henri Astier, “Can divided Belgium hold together?”
[72] Hooghe, A Leap in the Dark, 99-100.
[73] “La répartition des sièges aux élections générales,” Assemblée Nationale du Québec, June 10, 2005, accessed December 19, 2011, sieges.html.
[74] Austen, “Seeking Majority, Quebec’s Premier Sets Election.”
[75] Simeon, “Canada: Federalism, Language, and Regional Conflict,” 110.
[76] Heard. “Canadian Election Results: 1867-2008.”
[77] Austen, “Canadian Leader Celebrates Victory Over Opposition.”
[78] Simeon, “Canada: Federalism, Language, and Regional Conflict,” 118.
[79] Hueglin, Comparative Federalism, 67.
[80] Simeon, “Canada: Federalism, Language, and Regional Conflict,” 115.
[81] Brendan O’Leary, “Debating Consociational Politics: Normative and Explanatory Arguments,” in From Power-Sharing to Democracy: Post-Conflict Institutions in Ethnically Divided Societies, ed. Sid Noel (Toronto: McGill Queens University Press, 2005), 26.
[82] The Belgian Constitution, art. 3, Belgian House of Representatives, May 31, 2009, accessed December 19, 2011,
[83] Stepan, Crafting State-Nations, 34.
[84] Arend Lijphart and Bernard Grofman, Choosing an Electoral System: Issues and Alternatives (New York: Praeger, 1984), 238.
[85] Rabushka, Politics in Plural Societies, 116.
[86] Hooghe, “Belgium: Hollowing the Center,” 57.
[87] Watts, Comparing Federal Systems, 32.
[88] Simeon, “Canada: Federalism, Language, and Regional Conflict,” 111.
[89] Ibid., 118.
[90] Arend Lijphart, Democracies: Patterns of Majoritarian and Consensus Government in Twenty-One Countries (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984), 6-7, 24-28.
[91] Lijphart, Thinking About Democracy, 237.
[92] Watts, Comparing Federal Systems, 144.
[93] Simeon, “Canada: Federalism, Language, and Regional Conflict,” 102.
[94] The Belgian Constitution, art. 41.
[95] Simeon, “Canada: Federalism, Language, and Regional Conflict,” 103, 111.
[96] Lijphart, Thinking About Democracy, 132, 209, 214, 211.
[97] Lijphart, Choosing an Electoral System: Issues and Alternatives, 33.
[98] Watts, Comparing Federal Systems, 184.
[99] Hooghe, A Leap in the Dark, 23.
[100] Supreme Court Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. S-26), Canadian Department of Justice, December 13, 2011, accessed December 19, 2011,
[101] Simeon, “Canada: Federalism, Language, and Regional Conflict,” 101.
[102] Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982, art. 37.
[103] Hooghe, “Belgium: Hollowing the Center,” 79.
[104] Watts, Comparing Federal Systems, 80.
[105] Stepan, Crafting State-Nations, 34.
[106] Hooghe, A Leap in the Dark, 95.
[107] Watts, Comparing Federal Systems, 81.
[108] Hooghe, A Leap in the Dark, 95.
[109] The Belgian Constitution, art. 162.
[110] Hooghe, “Belgium: Hollowing the Center,” 70.
[111] Simeon, “Canada: Federalism, Language, and Regional Conflict,” 116.
[112] Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982, art. 23.
[113] Rupert Taylor, ed., Consociational Theory: McGarry and O’Leary and the Northern Ireland Conflict (London: Routledge, 2009), 16, 264.
[114] Kymlicka, Multicultural Odysseys, 214.
[115] Stepan, Crafting State-Nations, 9.
[116] Rabushka, Politics in Plural Societies, 116.
[117] Henri Astier, “Can divided Belgium hold together?”
[118] Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982, art. 23.
[119] Hooghe, A Leap in the Dark, 16.
[120] Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982, art. 16, 20.
[121] Simeon, “Canada: Federalism, Language, and Regional Conflict,” 105.
[122] Hooghe, “Belgium: Hollowing the Center,” 74.
[123] Kymlicka, Multicultural Odysseys, 107.



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About Kristin Zuhone

As a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, Kristin Zuhone is pursuing a triple major in Political Science, French Studies, and Russian Language, Literature, and Culture, as well as a minor in English. The above paper results from her studies with Professor Brendan O’Leary in the course Power-Sharing in Deeply Divided Places, a seminar in the Benjamin Franklin Scholars program of which the author is a member.