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Written by D.F. MacDonald and Jocelyn Cano; directed by
D.F. MacDonald CineFocus Canada, 1992. VHS cassette, 23:00
min., $99.95. Distributed by Lynx Images, 174 Spadina Ave,
Suite 606, Toronto, Ont. M5T 2C2.

Grades 12 and up/Ages 17 and up

Reviewed by Paul Harrison

Volume 21 Number 2
1993 March

Indecision Time/Un Canada Errant deals with one of the fundamental realities of the Canadian experience, the relationship of Francophones and Anglophones within the federal political structure. The material is up to date and factually accurate.

The subject, as old as Canada itself, is investigated in the time frame between the failure of the Meech Lake constitutional accord and the months preceding the recent October constitutional referendum. No attempt is made to analyze any specific proposal for constitutional change, the emphasis being placed rather on the emotions and feelings generated by the search for identity. Chantal Hebert and Graham Fraser in a brief introduction establish a potential framework for class discussion.

In a secondary school setting this video would be appropriate for senior students in Canadian history and possibly senior sociology since the questions of individual and group identity and action are presented. There are no difficulties with vocabulary, either English or French, the necessary French dialogue being translated in clear English subtitles. Students would need to be prepared before the video was shown, since references to the Quiet Revolution, Meech Lake, Quebec nationalism, the Quebec flag incident in Brockville, and so forth come naturally in the dialogue and students unaware of these would lose some of the impact of the video.

The theme is presented through the interaction of two principal actors, a francophone and an Anglophone. From their very different perspectives these friends attempt to explain to each other their particular understanding of what is in fact something of the background of the whole constitutional "thing" our past failures, the need to preserve the French language and culture, national bilingualism, linguistic minorities, and public perceptions on both sides. A portion of one of the public constitutional sessions with comments by some participants is included. The video slops before the October referendum; however, with that failure the need to come to terms with the issues raised here is more pressing than ever.

The technical quality is acceptable: images are focused, the sound is clear and intelligible and is synchronized with the visuals, and the music is suitable. The video and study guide (in production and not available to the reviewer) will sell for $99.95.

Recommended for senior secondary students.

Paul Harrison teaches at John F. Ross Collegiate and Vocational Institute in Guelph Ontario
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