Presentation on theme: "FRENCH-ENGLISH RELATIONS 1950 – PRESENT "La Survivance" The survival of Quebec's cultural identity, language and religion."— Presentation transcript:
FRENCH-ENGLISH RELATIONS 1950 – PRESENT "La Survivance" The survival of Quebec's cultural identity, language and religion.
From 1944 – 1969, Maurice Duplessis and the Unione Nationale dominated Quebec. Duplessis tried to create French Canadian Nationalism by challenging all the federal governments' involvement in Quebec's affairs. Duplessis was seen as the protector of Quebec against Communism. Duplessis maintained power by allying with the Catholic Church and a push for a more agrarian society. He allowed English and foreign investment to promote Quebec industry while educating French Canadians to mistrust technology and value rural life. Moreover, Quebec's education system promoted humanities instead of science, business or technology. Duplessis ruled Quebec with an "iron fist" and discouraged all opposition.
In 1959, Duplessis dies and a year later the Unione Nationale is overthrown by the Liberals under the leadership of Jean Lesage. The Quiet Revolution begins.
THE QUIET REVOLUTION The Quiet Revolution was a reformation of education, hospitals, labour code, legal status of women, voting age lowered, modernization of the economy, pension plan, nationalization of Hydro. The goal of the Quiet Revolution was to ensure the Quebecois were to be the "Masters of their own House". Among students, this goal led to an ideology that Quebec was not only a province but a nationality.
Lesage desired change for Quebec in the framework of Confederation while there was a growing movement for separation. In 1963, the Front de Liberation du Quebec (FLQ) was created to achieve independence by any means necessary. They promptly began to plant bombs in mailboxes in English sections of Montreal and in government buildings.
In 1966, Rene Levesque aided in creating the Parti Quebecois. They promoted separation through peaceful negotiation as Quebec's destiny. Their plan was based on sovereignty association, which created an independent Quebec with strong ties to Canada.
Federally, Pierre Trudeau was elected PM in He promptly passes the Official Languages Act making Canada a bilingual nation. He also began to invest in Quebec as a means to undermine the separatist movement.
THE OCTOBER CRISIS In 1970, the FLQ continue bombings (killing 6) and kidnap James Cross, the British Trade Commissioner. They demanded gold, safe passage to Cuba and the release of "political prisoners“ (FLQ members who participated in bombings). The federal government became involved because Cross was a foreign diplomat. Five days later, the FLQ kidnap Pierre Laporte, a Quebec cabinet minister, from the front lawn of his Montreal home.
Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa and his cabinet go into hiding to prevent any more kidnapping. As the crisis continued, the FLQ realized that they would not be dealt with. They killed Pierre Laporte and stuffed the body in the trunk of a car. Bourassa asks Ottawa to send troops into Montreal to maintain order.
Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act, which suspended all civil liberties and gave the police the right to search or arrest without due process of law. This Act has only been invoked twice before (WWI and WWII). A few months later, the murderers are found and Cross is found alive in an apartment. The October Crisis was over.
The imposition of the War Measures Act in peacetime was controversial. Many opponents saw it as excessive and an unnecessary display of government power. Trudeau justified its use by stating that the FLQ was attempting to violently overthrow the government. Many Quebecois are still upset that separatists were arrested and held even though they had no connection to the FLQ or the kidnappers. After the Crisis, the terrorism stopped however separatism became more determined.
THE PARTI QUEBECOIS AND THE 1980 REFERENDUM In 1974, the Bourassa government makes French Quebec's sole official language. He also limits the access to English schools to only those born in Quebec from English families. All others, including immigrants, had to attend French schools. English lessons were greatly reduced or phased out of French schools.
In 1976, Levesque is elected Premier of Quebec. He declared that the Parti Quebecois would soon call a referendum vote to allow citizens to decide Quebec's future. Before calling a referendum, the PQ managed government and the economy very well by improved labour laws, raised minimum wages, introduced maternity benefits and no fault insurance. They also passed Bill 101 declaring that French would be dominant language in Quebec in all areas of life. All signs, public and private, had to be in French and all but a minority would be forced to learn french.
The referendum was called in 1980 to allow Quebecois to vote for a sovereignty association with Canada. PM Joe Clark chose not to interfere with the process. Clark was voted out on a vote of non-confidence and Trudeau was once again the PM. Trudeau took a more active role on the federalist side of the campaign. He made 3 speeches that turned the tide of the campaign. On May 20, 1980, 60% of Quebecois voted no to sovereignty association. This was a major setback for the PQ.
Trudeau met with the first ministers to strike a compromise and receive support for the new Constitution. They were having great difficulty reaching a consensus. The ministers were woken up after midnight to reach a last minute compromise. Levesque was left out and did not find out about the agreement until the morning. In Quebec this is known as The Night of the Long Knives. CONSTITUTION RENEWAL After the federalist win in the 1980 referendum, Trudeau started the process of renewing Canada's constitution. He petitioned the British parliament to patriate the BNA Act and add in an Amending Formula and The Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Quebec felt betrayed. The constitution was supposed to be a way to meet Quebec's needs now the rest of the country was forcing this constitution on them. When the Queen and the first ministers signed the Constitution, Quebec was not present. Flags were lowered to half- mast in Quebec and protest was held in Montreal.
In 1987, PM Brian Mulroney attempted to reconcile Quebec with the rest of Canada during a retreat at Meech Lake. The provinces reached an agreement that would have allowed Quebec to be a distinct society and allow Quebec to have greater powers over their own affairs than the other provinces. The House of Commons passed the Accord but it had to be passed by each province's legislature to be placed in the Constitution. Aboriginal people and the newly elected governments of Newfoundland, Manitoba and New Brunswick scuttled the deal.
Negotiations continued months later at Charlottetown in an attempt to deal with the criticisms of the Meech Lake Accord. They decided on a "Canada Clause" which set out the principles and values that the country was founded on including a distinct Quebec. Ottawa proposed a referendum on the new Charlottetown Accord and it faced a resounding defeat at the hands of the Canadian electorate. The failure to ratify the Accords sent the message to Quebec that Canada did not want them. Quebec decided the only alternative was separation. The Bloc Quebecois was formed, led by Lucien Bouchard, to push the separation agenda on the federal level. In the 1993 election, they won 54 seats and become the Official Opposition.
THE 1995 REFERENDUM In 1994, the Parti Quebecois regained power in Quebec ensuring that would be another referendum. The PQ and Jacques Parizeau felt that Quebec would vote for sovereignty. The separatists argued that Quebec would benefit greatly by separating from Canada but maintaining Canadian currency. Federalists and Aboriginals argued that they did not want to go and they would suffer economically. The question was a confusing one which led to a close 49.4% of Quebecois voting for sovereignty. "Do you agree that Quebec should become sovereign, after having made a formal offer to Canada for a new economic and political partnership, within the scope of the bill respecting the future of Quebec and of the agreement signed on June 12, 1995? Yes/No."