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A Portrait of Québec Its People/Culture, Politics, and Relation with the United States Frédérick Gagnon Professor, Political Science, Université du Québec.

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A Portrait of Québec Its People/Culture, Politics, and Relation with the United States Frédérick Gagnon Assistant Professor, Political Science, Université

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Presentation on theme: "A Portrait of Québec Its People/Culture, Politics, and Relation with the United States Frédérick Gagnon Professor, Political Science, Université du Québec."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Portrait of Québec Its People/Culture, Politics, and Relation with the United States Frédérick Gagnon Professor, Political Science, Université du Québec à Montréal Director, Centre for United States Studies, Raoul Dandurand Chair

2 Plan A short description of the population/culture of Québec A quick overview of Québec politics A brief overview of Québec-U.S. relations

3 A short description of the population/culture of Québec

4 Source: Government of Canada Web site

5 In 2011, population of Québec is 8 million (Virginia = 8 million; 13 EV) Québec is about 23% of Canadas population

6 Why Study Québec? Québec is 83% French speaking / 10% English Québec is a living, working francophone society (the largest in the Americas)

7 Spoken languages in Canada Source: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census Profile of Federal Electoral Districts.

8 A diverse population


10 The two most important cities Québec city Montréal

11 Québec city Provincial capital of Québec Turned 400 in 2008! Pop.: 491,142 (city); 728,924 (metro) 95% speak French at home; 1% English

12 North Americas European City?

13 Montreal Largest city in Québec (2nd in Canada after Toronto) Pop.: 1,854,442 (city); 3,635,571 (metro) 70% speak French at home; 19% English (more than 40 ethnic communities)

14 A bilingual / bicultural city 60% of the pop. speak both English and French (compared with 17% in Canada)

15 So what does it mean to be Québécois? Is Québec: An extension of France? A Canadian province like the others? An americanized francophone society? A country in the making?

16 According to Yvan Lamonde (1996) This formula is helpful to understand what Québec is: 2 Q + Fr + GB + (USA) - R Quebecs history and identity (Q) are made up of less France (F) than we believe, more Great Britain (GB) than we want to admit, a much larger American influence than we think, and much less imput from Rome (R) and the clergy than thought

17 How to tell if you are from Québec (According to Valérie If you are religious, you are probably a non- practicing Catholic. The Catholic church used to have a strong influence politically and socially, practically controlling the province, but thats not true since the Révolution Tranquille in the 60s which brought separation of church and state.

18 Traditional Québec cuisine is rustic and sticks to the ribs. Poutine, tourtiere (meat pie), ragoût de pattes de cochon (pigs feet stew), oreilles de christ (deep-fried salted pork fat yum) and maple syrup are familiar dishes that are usually only eaten around the holidays or on a trip to the cabane à sucre (where they make the maple syrup, dontcha know).

19 You speak French, at home, at work and at school, but you're bilingual or you at least know a little English.

20 French spoken in Québec is different from French from Europe, with distinct local expressions and accents. Pushed to the rural extreme, Québec French is called joual and is almost completely unintelligible to Europeans.

21 You mostly get your news and information from French newspapers and TV. RDI is a 24-hour news channel, the French equivalent of CNN.

22 Québec TV culture is immensely popular, if not cult-like. You watch all the téléromans (high-quality dramatic miniseries usually only lasting one season) with passion. You love sitcoms and comedy programming, and support the hundreds of local stand-up comics and comedians when they tour the province. You have watched Les Filles de Caleb, Lance et Compte, La Petite Vie, Chambre en Ville, Scoop and you never miss the Bye Bye on New Year's Eve.

23 You are vaguely aware of an Anglo culture, but you are more familiar with American products. Even then, your exposure to English media is limited unless your English is very good.

24 American movies are dubbed in Québec. Many Québécois have never heard Tom Cruise's real voice. If your English is good, however, you prefer to see the original version. You see (…) many of the imports from France.

25 You don't consider yourself a socialist, and definitely not a communist, however you enjoy socialized health care despite all the problems inherent in the system. (…) You expect very strong measures to be taken to save very ill babies or people in their eighties.

26 School is free through high school, unless you go to private school. Colleges and universities are subsidized by the government, but they're by no means free (tuition can be up to $5000 a year). You can get a scholarship, but only an academic one, not for athletics.

27 You know the words to the (Canadian) national anthem in French because they teach it in school, but you dont find yourself singing it very often unless youre a sports fan. You might know some of the words in English too.

28 The day for fireworks, bonfires and parades is June 24 (Fête Nationale du Québec, also known as La St-Jean Baptiste). You get some good ones on July 1st too for Canada Day (but you care much less about July 1st…)

29 A quick overview of Québec politics

30 How our system works The (very) basics… 2 levels of government: provincial and federal Both follow the Westminster (British) model of government

31 The very basics… At the head is the Prime Minister of Canada, and there is a prime minister for each province There is a multi-party system on each level, but only a few major parties ever get elected

32 Our political parties Federal Parties (in Ottawa) Provincial Parties (in Québec)

33 In Québec, as Valérie Bourdeau explains: You have a firm opinion on the sovereignty debate, reduced to "Oui" and "Non" camps (the question is "Do you want to separate from Canada?"). You like to discuss it at great length. Regardless of where you stand, you probably agree that Québec is a distinct society that deserves protection from assimilation.

34 Among our parties, 3 are for the separation of Québec Federal Parties (in Ottawa) Provincial Parties (in Québec)

35 - Founded by René Lévesque in An icon of the separatist movement, Lévesque was Premier of Québec Between 1976 and Pierre Trudeaus political opponent (Trudeau was Prime Minister of Canada between 1968 and 1979; and 1980 and 1984)

36 May 20, 1980 Referendum on sovereigny-association The Question: « The Government of Quebec has made public its proposal to negotiate a new agreement with the rest of Canada, based on the equality of nations; this agreement would enable Quebec to acquire the exclusive power to make its laws, levy its taxes and establish relations abroad in other words, sovereignty and at the same time to maintain with Canada an economic association including a common currency; any change in political status resulting from these negotiations will only be implemented with popular approval through another referendum; on these terms, do you give the Government of Quebec the mandate to negotiate the proposed agreement between Quebec and Canada? »

37 Referendum #1: 1980

38 2nd attempt 1995 referendum (Oct. 30) « Do you agree that Québec 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 Québec and of the agreement signed on June 12, 1995? »

39 Referendum #2: 1995

40 Arguments of those who favor the separation of Québec -« Because we are different than the ROC » (a nation within a nation, with a different history, culture, language) -« Because being a country would allow us to be masters in our own house » -« Because Québébois have different values than other Canadians and because Ottawa often makes decisions that contradict these values »

41 Canada should bring troops home from Afghanistan immediately

42 Should Canada spend more or less for military defense?

43 Canada should have a carbon tax

44 Mariage should only be between a man and a woman

45 The federal gov. should have its say in matters related to culture in Québec

46 Québec should become an independent country

47 Public Support for Quebec independence (March 2012 Léger Marketing Survey) 44.5% of Quebeckers would still support separating from Canada 39% said the province should stay in the federation 16.8% were undecided

48 A brief overview of Québec-U.S. relations

49 Montreals proximity to the U.S. - 1 hour drive Plattsburgh, NY - 1 ½ hour to Burlington, VT - 3 ½ hours to Albany, NY - 5 ½ hours to Boston, MA - 6 hours to NYC

50 Louis Balthazar (2004) The most important, pressing, and immediate relation for Québec is that which must be maintained with its giant neighbour, the United States. This is an undeniable reality (…) Not only is the US a superpower that any international actor cannot ignore, it is also the only state (with the exception of the Canadian provinces) with which Québec shares a border

51 1- A multifaceted/transnational relationship (« The 4 Connections ») a)Historical/Cultural Connection b) Political Connection c) Security Connection d) Economic Connection

52 a) Historical/Cultural Connection One example… : French Canadians emigrated to the United States French Canadian immigrants in the Northeastern United States



55 French Canadian Cities in Size (1900) 1- Montreal 2- Québec 3- Fall River (MA) 4- Lowell (MA) The New England area contained 10 cities with a French Canadian population in excess of 10,000, while Quebec only had five, most of them barely above 10,000

56 Today 13 million Americans claim to have French ancestors (4% of the pop.) A large proportion of them have ancestors who emigrated from French Canada during the 19th and 20th century

57 First candidate with a Franco-American name to win a major office in Maine in at least a century - and perhaps ever


59 Jack Kerouac ( ) American novelist, writer, poet, and artist from Lowell (MA) Born to immigrants Léo- Alcide Kérouac and Gabrielle-Ange Lévesque Father of the Beat movement; inspired Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, etc. 1958

60 Battle of Iwo Jima (Japan - Feb. - March. 1945) Joe Rosenthal photographed five Marines: Ira Hayes, Mike Strank, Franklin Sousley, Harlon Block, René Gagnon, and a U.S. Navy corpsman, John Bradley, raising the U.S. flag atop the 166 meter (546 ft) Mount Suribachi

61 René Gagnon ( ) Born in Manchester (NH), the only child of French Canadian immigrants from Saint-Luc, Quebec, Henri Gagnon and Irene Marcotte

62 U.S. Marine Corps Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery Clint Eastwood movie (2006)


64 Her mother, Dorothy Emma Howell, has French Canadian ancestors who immigrated to Nouvelle-France in the 17th Century!!!

65 b) Political Connection + are members of various bilateral and multilateral channels of collaboration –Conference of the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers (NEG/ECP) (CT; ME; MA; NB; N-L; NH; NS; PEI; QC; RI; VT) –Council of Great Lakes Governors (WI; OH; IN; MI; NY; MN; IL; PA; ON; QC) –… 2 U.S. Consulates in Québec (Montreal and Québec city) + 6 Québec offices in the U.S. (General Delegation in New York; four Delegations in Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago; one Office in Washington)

66 Security Connection Québec-U.S. Border Crossings

67 d) Economic Connection Over 100 million consumers are within a 600-mile radius of Québec New York State = 19 million Pennsylvania = 12 million New Jersey = 8.7 million Massachusetts = 6.5 million Maryland = 5.7 million Connecticut = 3.5 million New Hampshire = 1.3 million Maine = 1.3 million Rhode Island = 1 million Delaware = Vermont =

68 If U.S. States Were Countries… GSP/GDP Comparisons (2000) © Earl Fry

69 d) Economic Connection = leading trade partner –2008: trade in goods between Québec and the U.S. totaled CDN $78,5 billion –2009: 57.5% of Québec exports = world 42.5% = ROC –2008: 75% of Québecs international exports = U.S. (BC = 51%; AB = 85%; SK = 67%; MB = 67%; ON = 79%) –In the 2000s, Québec has often exported more to the U.S. than to the ROC (2009: 30% U.S.; 42.5% ROC)

70 Economic Connection –2010: Québec = 6th larger exporter to the U.S., outpacing the UK and South Korea –Main destinations of Québec exports: New York State ($6,1 billion), Vermont ($3,2 billion), Pennsylvania ($3,1 billion), Tennessee ($3,1 billion) and Illinois ($2,6 billion) –60% of Québecs international tourist revenues come from the U.S. – jobs in Québec depend on access to U.S. markets

71 Economic Connection U.S. Jobs: Québec = 13 th largest market for U.S. exports (2 nd for Vermont, 6 th for New Jersey, 8 th for Pennsylvania and 10 th for New York) Energy: Québec = leading producer of hydroelectricity in North America (8 th in the world) –2008: Québec exported $1,5 billion in electricity to the U.S.

72 Concluding thoughts


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