Moreover, he argued that Quebec’s independence would help neutralize the province’s simmering far right by expunging easy nationalism and xenophobia in favor of cultural affirmation and human rights. Having an independent country, Mr. Nadeau-Dubois said, would mitigate against fear of the other.
I’d be interested to hear what younger Canadians think of the separatist movement today. Please share your thoughts with me here, as well other ideas you might have for people I should meet and places I should visit to gain a richer sense of Quebec’s identity today.
Mr. Nadeau-Dubois embodies a new strain in Quebecois politics, seeking to tap into the younger generation’s appetite for radicalism and change even as voters worldwide look for alternatives to mainstream political parties. He is a Quebecois anti-Trump for the digital age, using social media to mobilize his legions of young supporters.
“We support feminism, indigenous and LGBT rights; we are pro-choice; and we believe that the state must regain control over parts of the economy, including some natural resources,” he said.
The son of a unionist activist father and a labor lawyer mother, Mr. Nadeau-Dubois said he received his political education at a young age, at union protests with his parents. Political apathy was not an option.
Today, to unwind, he makes couscous and plays floor hockey. He also wrote “In Defiance,” a book about his experiences during the 2012 demonstrations.
Asked about his feelings about another young and charismatic politician named Justin Trudeau, Mr. Nadeau-Dubois became visibly agitated, dismissing Mr. Trudeau as a talented retail politician who has little substance.
“His progressivism is a facade,” he said. “It is nice words. It is bling bling.”
Mr. Nadeau-Dubois said the most emotional moment of the 2012 protests came when a young Lebanese-Canadian woman in a head scarf approached him at a protest where 300,000 people had massed in the streets. He said the young woman told him that, while the strike had divided her family, her mother had come to appreciate its importance as a struggle for accessible education for everyone.
“She told me that it was the strike that had made her mom a Quebecois,” he recalled, his face bursting into a smile.
My meeting with Mr. Nadeau-Dubois capped two days in Montreal, where I visited Martin Picard’s Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon for decadent dishes including a three-layer almond foie gras cake; compiled a playlist of music for my journey with songs suggested by readers; and met with Phyllis Lambert, the 91-year-old architect and philanthropist. The daughter of Samuel Bronfman of the Seagram distillery empire, she, at age 27, persuaded her father to build the towering Seagram Building on Park Avenue in New York, a transformative work of 20th-century architecture.
As you read this, I am on my way to Maniwaki, where I am going to reconnect with Cezin Nottaway, a boisterous Indigenous chef. I plan to meet her on the Indigenous reserve of Kitigan Zibi, where the Algonquin tribe has been living for generations.
Ms. Nottaway is a passionate advocate for Indigenous rights, and I plan to talk to her about the anguish after the killing of Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old Indigenous man shot dead by a Saskatchewan farmer, Gerald Stanley, who was found not guilty of murder.
She and I will join my colleagues from The New York Times’s Race/Related team in a Facebook Live chat at 9 p.m. Eastern Time. Please join us at facebook.com/nytimes.
If you have questions for her, or ideas for places I should go to understand Quebec’s Indigenous communities, I’d love to hear from you.