Author Tags: Politics

Since he co-edited Essays in B.C. Political Economy (New Star, 1974), Philip Resnick of UBC has written several books on Canadian politics, including Parliament vs. People (New Star, 1984), Letters to a Quebecois Friend (with Daniel Latouche), The Masks of Proteus and Toward a Canada-Quebec Union. He believes the unwillingness of many English-Canadians to talk about the federal Constitution since the defeat of the Charlottetown Accord in 1992 is due to denial, not fatigue. In Thinking English Canada (1994) the political science professor urges English-speaking Canadians to emulate their French-speaking counterparts and talk about who they are and what they want from their country. He examined the bleatings of West Coasters in The Politics of Resentment (UBC Press, 2000), a compilation of quotes mainly gleaned from ‘opinion makers’ (journalists and politicians). “The collapse of Marxism-Leninism as a rival paradigm has given capitalism and markets a whole new lease on life,” he wrote in Twenty-First Century Democracy (McGill-Queen’s 1998 $55), a frequently optimistic view of democracy in the future. In 2004 he co-edited Insiders and Outsiders: Alan Cairns and the Reshaping of Canadian Citizenship (UBC Press) with Gerald Kernerman, a scholarly assessment of the contributions of Canadian social scientist Alan Cairns.

Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
The Politics of Resentment: British Columbia Regionalism and Canadian Unity
Essays in B.C. Political Economy
The Labyrinth of North American Identities


Parliament vs. People (New Star, 1984)
The Masks of Proteus (McGill-Queen's Press, 1990)
Toward a Canada-Quebec Union (McGill-Queen's Press, 1991)
Thinking English Canada (Stoddart Publishing Company, 1994)
Twenty-First Century Democracy (McGill-Queen’s 1998 $55)
The Politics of Resentment: British Columbia Regionalism and Canadian Unity (UBC Press, 2000)


Letters to a Quebecois Friend (McGill-Queen's Press, 1990) with Daniel Latouche.


Essays in B.C. Political Economy (New Star, 1974)
Insiders and Outsiders: Alan Cairns and the Reshaping of Canadian Citizenship (UBC Press, 2004) with Gerald Kernerman.

[BCBW 2012] "Politics"

The Politics of Resentment

Having gained access to Vancouver Sun archives to ex-tract comments about B.C. regionalism—mostly from ‘opinion-makers’ (journalists and politicians)—Philip Resnick has taken the notion of B.C. separatism just seriously enough to produce The Politics of Resentment (UBC $34.95).

Resnick makes the obvious conclusion that British Columbia would have a pivotal role to play if Quebec ever voted ‘Yes’ to separation. More provocative is his penultimate chapter in which he examines the immaturity of British Columbia: The resentment many British Columbians feel towards Quebecois society is essentially envy.

In his opening sentence Resnick wonders what accounts for British Columbia’s ‘peculiarities’. Readers who are fervently aware of the economic and political reasons for B.C.’s alienation, in turn, might wonder if The Politics of Resentment is essentially a long-distance report to the people who really matter, the people in Ontario and Quebec. “I would argue,” Resnick writes, “that the desire for recognition as a self-standing region of Canada articulated by a number of different B.C. governments stems from a pent-up resentment over the relatively backseat role British Columbia has been playing in Confederation ever since 1871.”

Well, duh. Unfortunately The Politics of Resentment doesn’t provide any historical summation of the causes of British Columbia’s disaffection.

“To be honest,” Resnick confides in his preface, “I found, and still find, the minutiae of B.C. politics of little interest. My horizons are more Canadian than British Columbia.” Does a psychiatrist ignore the childhood of a patient? And would he justify his failure to do so on the grounds that he can’t be bothered?

Just as newspaper publishers are routinely parachuted into Vancouver to decide what’s news in branch-plant dailies and the big ad agencies give us Vince Carter on our billboards outside B.C. Place instead of Shareef Abdur-Rahim, British Columbians are continually asked to take seriously the views of academics whose roots are elsewhere. It’s an old story, 129 years old.

Yes, peculiarities abound here. Resnick’s text refers to Peter Newman as a ‘transplant’ even though Newman has lived in B.C. for almost 20 years; at the same time no mention is made of the fact that Resnick is a more recent newcomer. Is it irrelevant minutiae? If, after living in Quebec for ten years, a transplanted British Columbian wrote a book about Quebecois separatism, would it be seriously considered?

Philip Resnick says British Columbians have been at the back of the bus since 1871; Resnick also says B.C.’s resentment mustn’t be taken seriously. This is tantamount to the parental voice talking to the kids in the back seat. If we shut up and be good, we might get an ice cream cone. 0-7748-0804-7


Footsteps of the Past (Ronsdale $15.95)
Article (2015)

from BCBW (Autumn)
Footsteps of the Past (Ronsdale $15.95) by Philip Resnick is a meditation on the modern human condition. Resnick uses critical political insights and cultural and philosophical ideas to reflect on the wounds that chronic illness and disability instill. He even references “Je suis Charlie.”