The Patriot Game (book)

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The Patriot Game: National Dreams and Political Realities is a book originally published in 1986 by British-American author Peter Brimelow. It was later re-released in 1988 under the title The Patriot Game: Canada and the Canadian Question Revisited

The book consists of Brimelow's self-described attempt to "provide a general theory of Canada," the country where he had lived and worked for several years in the 1970s. In it, he consciously echoes the comments of 19th century author Goldwin Smith in his book Canada and the Canadian Question and argues that modern Canada is largely a farce, an unnatural country without a clear guiding purpose or reason for existence. He attributes this to the decline of English Canadian imperial nationalism, common during the Victorian times and the first decades of the 20th century, but subsequently removed from the national consciousness in the post-WW2 era. In the place of this old form of nationalism, he writes that Canada has come to be dominated by the partisan nationalism of the Liberal Party of Canada that seeks to redefine Canadian values according to its own political philosophy.

Brimelow is also harshly critical of Quebec's role in modern Canada, and expresses support for Quebec separatism, arguing that there is no rational basis for keeping the French-speaking province in an overwhelmingly English-speaking state. He criticizes Liberal leader Pierre Trudeau for introducing bilingualism, which he portrays as an ill-conceived scheme which has created a new bilingual class of governing elites, and kept the vast majority of English-speaking Canadians virtually disenfranchised.

The book is notable in that it successfully predicted two of the major shakeups of the Canadian political system that occurred in the 1990s. Arguing that the political status quo of the 1980s was inherently unstable, Brimelow predicted that sooner or later Canada would see the rise of two new federal political parties, one a right-wing, western-based one, and the other a Quebec-based separatist one. This indeed proved to happen with the rise of the Reform Party and the Bloc Québécois, both of which captured a great number of parliamentary seats in the 1993 federal election. Brimelow also predicted that western Canadian separatism was likely to emerge as a vibrant political force in the coming decades, but this prediction has not yet shown signs of coming true. Instead, Western Canadians led by the prime minister, Stephen Harper, have dominated the federal Conservative Party and won the 2006, 2008, and 2011 federal elections.