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A Portrait of Québec Its History, People and Politics Frédérick Gagnon Assistant Professor, Political Science, Université du Québec à Montréal Director,

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Presentation on theme: "A Portrait of Québec Its History, People and Politics Frédérick Gagnon Assistant Professor, Political Science, Université du Québec à Montréal Director,"— Presentation transcript:

1 A Portrait of Québec Its History, People and Politics Frédérick Gagnon Assistant Professor, Political Science, Université du Québec à Montréal Director, Center for U.S. Studies, Raoul Dandurand Chair

2 Source: Government of Canada Web site

3 Why Study Québec? In 2005, Québec had 7.6 million people Québec is about 24% of Canadas population

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

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

6 An ongoing debate

7 French Canadian Emigration to the U.S. ( ) : French Canadians left Canada to emigrate to the United States This has been largely forgotten by people in Québec but is an important event in our history and in U.S. history

8 According to the 2000 U.S. census: 13 million Americans claim to have French ancestors (4% of the pop.) 1,6 million of them speak the French language at home A large proportion of them have ancestors who emigrated from French Canada during the 19th and 20th century



11 Jack Kerouac ( ) American novelist, writer, poet, and artist from Lowell (MA) Born to immigrants Léo-Alcide Kérouac and Gabrielle-Ange Lévesque

12 Kerouac = father Beat movement Beat writers emphasized a visceral engagement in worldly experiences combined with a quest for deeper spiritual understanding; many of them developed a strong interest in Buddhism Echoes of the Beat Generation can be seen throughout many other modern subcultures, such as hippies and punks Kerouac and others inspired the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, etc.

13 First published in 1958 Is a largely autobiographical work that was written as a stream of consciousness creation - based on the spontaneous road trips of Kerouac and his friends across mid- century America

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

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

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





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

22 Plan A brief history of Québec A short description of the population of Québec A quick overview of Québec politics

23 A brief history of Québec

24 It « all » started in 1534 Jacques Cartier ( ) French explorer who landed on the shores of the St. Lawrence River in 1534


26 First Voyage (1534) GASPÉ

27 Second Voyage (1535)

28 Gaspé - July 24, 1534 Cartier: Planted a ten-meter cross bearing the words « Long Live the King of France » Took possession of the territory in the name of France Called it « Canada » Canada became a colony of « New France » (other colonies = Acadia, Louisiana and Newfoundland) « Long Live the King of France »

29 What was New France? The area colonized by France in North America during a period extending from the first voyage of Jacques Cartier (1534) to the cession of New France to Spain and Britain in (1763)

30 France expanded its influence in America Goal: to exploit valuable natural riches Ex.: Beaver fur, as the European beaver had almost been driven to extinction It was a very hard time for me!

31 Early attempts to establish permanent settlements… Sable Island (1598) Tadoussac (1600) Île-Saint-Croix on Baie François (Bay of Fundy) (1604)

32 Then this man founded Québec city (1608) Samuel de Champlain ( )

33 …and established a fur trading post on the Island of Montreal (1611)

34 Then this man founded Montreal (1642) Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve ( )

35 Montreal (1642)

36 Montreal (1680)

37 « Coureurs de bois » (Runner of the woods) Individuals who engaged in the fur trade without permission from the French authorities By 1681, France realized the traders had to be controlled so that the industry might remain profitable Many « coureurs des bois » became « voyageurs »

38 France then began a policy of expansion in an attempt to dominate the fur trade French influence extended west, north and south Forts and trading posts were built with the help of explorers, traders and Catholic missionaries Treaties were negotiated with native groups, and fur trading became very profitable and organized

39 New France (1645)

40 New France at its apogee (1750)

41 But in 1754 A war between Britain and France began over the control of North America

42 Battle of the Plains of Abraham (1759) Within four years, nearly all of France's possessions in eastern North America would be ceded to Great Britain

43 French Surrender at Montreal 1760

44 France Surrenders to England (Québec)

45 New France at its apogee (1750)

46 New France after the Treaty of Paris (1763)


48 After the Conquest The British tried to assimilate the 65,000 Canadiens into their own system (that did not work) Quebec Act (1774) = concessions on language, religion, territory and legal systems

49 Quebec before Quebec Act (1763)

50 Quebec after the Quebec Act (1774)

51 Constitutional Act (1791)

52 rebellions Louis-Joseph Papineau Patriots Flag

53 Durham Report (1839) Recommended that Upper and Lower Canada be united into one province, which would give British Canadians a slight advantage in population Encouraged immigration to Canada from Britain, to overwhelm the existing numbers of French Canadians and hopefully assimilate them into British culture Lord Durham ( )

54 Canada after Act of Union (1840)

55 But assimilation failed again Between 1840 and 1940, « La survivance » (survival) became the dominant ideology among French Canadians –The idea that the nation would survive foremost through its culture, mainly religion, language, tradition and the remembrance of the things past; –The « revenge of the cradle »: the Catholic Church encouraged French-Canadian families to have as many children as possible

56 In the meantime, British North America Act is adopted (1867) Canada becomes what it is today




















76 And within the 1867 arrangement French Canadians were given a powerful political tool to guarantee the preservation of their language and culture The Provincial Government of Québec / Québec State

77 Most Québec leaders hesitated from using this tool aggressively Maurice Duplessis (Leader of Union Nationale) Premier of Québec ;

78 Jean Lesage (Leader of Liberal Party of Québec) - Premier of Québec Was pragmatic and inspired by keynesian theories of the 1940s and 1950s

79 Lesages vision: « the Quebec State is the collective lever of the French-Canadian community » « Québécois have only one power institution: their government. And they now want to use this institution to build a new era to which they could not formerly aspire »

80 It was the Quiet Revolution a period of rapid change in Quebec as institutions and attitudes were swept away, transforming state, economy, family, and society –New role for the Québec state –A New Economic Consciousness –A New International Role for Quebec –The Secularization of Quebec Society

81 Some wanted to go a step further

82 René Lévesque Premier of Quebec ( ) - Founder of the Parti Québécois - An icon of the separatist movement - Pierre Trudeaus political opponent (Trudeau was Prime Minister of Canada between 1968 and 1979; and 1980 and 1984)

83 Bill 101 (passed in 1977) Law in the province of Québec defining French, the language of the majority of the population, as the only official language of Québec and framing fundamental language rights of all Quebecers

84 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? »

85 Referendum #1: 1980

86 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? »

87 Referendum #2: 1995

88 A short description of the population of Québec

89 A diverse population

90 The two most important cities Québec city Montréal

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

92 Québecs ramparts

93 North Americas European City?

94 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)

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

96 Montreals proximity to the U.S. an hour from Plattsburgh, NY an hour and a half from Burlington, VT 3 and a half hours from Albany, NY 5 hours from Boston, MA 6 hours from NYC

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

98 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

99 A quick overview of Québec politics

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

101 2008 Canadian (Federal) Elections

102 Separatist BQ is strong in Quebec

103 2008 Results in Quebec

104 2008 Quebec (Provincial) Elections

105 Ongoing debate in our politics What road ahead for separatists?

106 Public Support for Quebec independence (June 2009 Angus-Reid Survey) 34% support independence 54% oppose 74% think it is very unlikely or not at all likely to ever occur 28% want outright independence 30% want more autonomy from Canada 32% are content to have Quebec remain a province of Canada

107 Concluding thoughts

108 Thank you!

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