“À partir d’aujourd’hui, demain nous appartient”
A somewhat malicious translation of this most famous of Quebec nationalist songs would be ‘Tomorrow Belongs To Me’. This rather unfortunate title reflects the youth of the movement for an independent Quebec in its early years and the belief that each new generation would be more inclined to support independence than the last. Moreover, these new generations of nationalists would be replacing elderly voters largely hostile to Souverainism. Nearly four decades (and two referendums) later, this optimistic (complacent?) title looks ironic. Quebec’s younger voters – who grew up and came to maturity in the era of the Neverendum – are notably unenthusiastic about separatism, and in recent years the nationalist movement has suffered a series of humiliating defeats in both federal and provincial elections. Generational and cohort politics are more complex – and far less predictable – than is sometimes appreciated. The lazy belief of the Quebec nationalists that all they had to do was wait until all the old people were dead and ultimate victory would be theirs is responsible to a considerable extent for the bedraggled state of the movement today.