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The Canadian Identity. By Eric Tolman. The Roots of Quebec Nationalism. From 1936-1939 and again from 1944-1959, Quebec was controlled by Premier Maurice Duplessis and his party the Union Nationale

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the roots of quebec nationalism
The Roots of Quebec Nationalism
  • From 1936-1939 and again from 1944-1959, Quebec was controlled by Premier Maurice Duplessis and his party the Union Nationale
  • Duplessis was a strong nationalist who was devoted to Quebec as a distinct society and he introduced the fleur-de-lis as Quebec’s flag
  • The Roman Catholic Church was the main defender of Quebec culture praising farm ,faith and family and exerted tremendous influence in society through the control of schools and hospitals
  • Duplessis encouraged foreign investment while keeping foreign culture out-labour was cheap since Duplessis had banned most union activity
  • The expectation from business was that they would give financial contributions to his party resulting in corruption and bribery
the quiet revolution
The Quiet Revolution
  • In 1960, after Duplessis died, Jean Leage and the Liberals came into power moving to stamp out corruption, awarding jobs and contracts according to merit, wages and pensions were raised and restrictions on unions were removed
  • The gov’t took control of education , social services and added more science and technology to curriculums
  • Quebeckers were happy with the changes toward modernization, but the RCC would see its power and influence decrease significantly
  • This period of change became known as the Quiet Revolution
  • In 1962 the Liberals went further by strengthening Quebec’s control of it’s own economy like nationalizing several hydro companies and turning them into one powerful provincially owned company- Hydro-Quebec
birth of separatism
Birth of Separatism
  • Despite the great achievements of the 1960’s many Q’s became angry by what they perceived as injustices at the hands of English-speaking CDNs
  • Why was the national capital overwhelmingly English speaking, why were Q’s seldom holding key cabinet positions and why were FCs not given access to French schools outside Quebec while English speakers enjoyed those rights in Quebec?
  • For some the solution was separation of Canada, and some young radicals joined terrorist groups like the FLQ (Front de liberation du Quebec)
  • Most Qs disapproved of such tactics, but in 1967 the influential Quebec cabinet minister Rene Leveque left the Liberal Party and formed the Parti Quebecois (PQ)
  • Leveque sought a peaceful divorce from Canada
  • Pearson became PM during height of the QR and believed that Canada should become officially bilingual
  • To make this official, Pearson sought to create a new flag, free of the Union Jack which angered Qs
  • The result was the maple leaf And on Feb 15, 1965 it was raised on Parliament Hill but the French remained bitter and and continued to fly the fleur-de-lis
trudeau and quebec
Trudeau and Quebec
  • In 1969 Trudeau passed the Official Languages Act making Canada an officially bilingual nation and now all federal gov’t agencies were required to provide services in both languages- consumer products would also be packaged in both languages
  • Many embraced bilingualism but the farther west you got, the more resistance there was to it- in addition some Qs thought Trudeau had not done enough and they wanted “special status” in Confederation
  • Trudeau said that Quebec is an equal partner just like everyone else
  • On October 5th 1970, members of the FLQ kidnapped James Cross, a British diplomat from his home and both federal and Quebec authorities agreed to many demands but not the release of FLQ prisoners from jail
  • As a result, the FLQ kidnapped Quebec labour minister Pierre Laporte
  • Trudeau declared martial law through the War Measures Act making membership in the FLQ a crime
  • Laporte’s body was found in a trunk of a car and two months later Cross was found in a Montreal house- in exchange the captors were given passage to Cuba where they were granted asylum
  • 25 of the 450 detained during the WMA were charged and the crisis was over
the pq in power
The PQ in Power
  • In 1976, Rene Levesque and PQ were voted into power in Quebec with promises of a peaceful referendum to determine Quebec’s place in Canada-Quebec had voted in a party with an ultimate goal of separation from Canada
  • First step was passing bill 101- making French the only official language of Quebec
  • All government employees had to speak in French and all visible signs had to be in French-children of immigrants were required to attend French rather than English schools
  • English Quebeckers felt threatened and they looked to the FG for support
  • In 1980 a referendum was held- Levesque pleading Quebeckers to vote a new association with Canada based on the sovereignty – association and Trudeau making an equally impassioned speech to remain part of a forward looking unified Canada with promises of a new constitution should the “no” side win
  • The no side won 60-40 and Levesque had to accept defeat- Trudeau would have to follow through on his promises to Quebeckers
the new constitution
The New Constitution
  • True to his promise, Trudeau wanted to bring the BNA Act of 1867, under British jurisdiction, home to Canada
  • First step was to establish an amending formula which would determine how many provinces would have to be in agreement for a change in the constitution
  • The provinces supported the Charter with a “notwithstanding clause” allowing the F or P governments to opt out of some of the clauses in the Charter
  • Levesque felt the Charter did not identify Quebec as a distinct society and as a result Quebec did not sign the Charter
  • On April 17, 1982, the Act was signed by Trudeau and Queen Elizabeth outside Parliament in Ottawa
  • Canada celebrated, but Quebec flew flags at half mast and Levesque led an angry demonstration through the streets of Quebec City
the constitution debate
The Constitution Debate
  • In 1984 election campaign, Brian Mulroney promised to repair the damage of 1982 by obtaining Quebec’s consent to the Constitution with “honour and enthusiasm”
  • When Levesque retired, the pro-federalist Liberal party took office with Robert Bourassa, Mulroney began negotiations
  • However, opening this debate just brought other concerns from Alberta and Newfoundland who wanted greater control of their resources
  • With continuing western alienation, the Reform Party is formed in 1987 to be the voice of western Canada
  • In 1987 Mulroney called the Premiers to a conference at Meech Lake where he proposed a package of amendments to the Constitution
the meech lake accord
The Meech Lake Accord
  • Among other provisions the MLA offered to recognize Quebec as a distinct society and proposed giving more power to other provinces in Canada
  • Trudeau, now out of office, argued this designation would create “two solitudes” by making them less part of a collective experience
  • Many westerners did not like the distinct society clause and FNs asked are we too not a distinct society?
  • Others argued that CDNs did not have enough time to process and participate in these monumental changes
  • Manitoba and NFL withheld their support and the MLA disintegrated in June 1990
  • Quebeckers felt humiliated and by late 1990, 64% favoured separation
  • Lucien Bouchard, a powerful member of Mulroney’s cabinet, resigned in protest and formed the Bloc Quebecois-the separation debate was renewed
the charlottetown accord
The Charlottetown Accord
  • Mulroney continued the debate and to avoid previous mistakes, his government set up a “Citizens Forum”- a committee that travelled across Canada to hear views from CDNs on the future of the Constitution
  • Mulroney proposed reforming the Senate by making it an elected body with equal representation from all Provinces
  • It also addressed and supported Aboriginal self gov’t to draw support from FNs
  • 54.5% of voters rejected it as it the CA had so many clauses
  • BC made the greatest opposition as the clause which gave Quebec 25% of the seats in the H of C regardless of it’s size of population, angered them
  • Quebeckers protested that most senate seats were given up to the West
  • In addition, Quebec feared Aboriginal self-government because it would effect a large portion of Northern Quebec
referendum 1995 and after
Referendum 1995 and After
  • Angered by these debates, Quebec elected the separatist Parti Quebecois again in 1994
  • A referendum was held while CDA held it’s breath and astonishingly 49.4 voted yes and 50.6 said no
  • By the end of the century no solution was clear and when Jean Chretien became PM he said that should Quebec ever seek sovereignty the cost would be high
  • By 2000, the move toward separation was waning in Quebec and more recent leadership have sought a restructuring of CDN confederation into something resembling the European Union
a multicultural nation
A Multicultural Nation
  • From WW1 until the 1960’s, CDA had a fairly restricted immigration policy preferring British and Northern Europeans
  • In 1962, new regulations removed limits on African, Asian and other peoples of color- by 1967 legislation made policy officially “color blind” and education and skills became primary requirements
  • In 1971, Trudeau introduced multiculturalism encouraging different ethnic groups to express their cultures
  • Community folk festivities and multi-cultural activities were organized across the country
  • In 1976, policies allowed immigration of family members with relatives already in CDA- especially those fleeing persecution or war zones
  • By the 1980’s most were Asian, and they predominantly entered the larger cities like Vancouver and Toronto
multiculturalism pros and cons
MulticulturalismPros and Cons
  • In 1988 the FG established the department of MC and Citizenship to promote MC in all areas of gov’t policy
  • Most believed the policy was constructive by promoting a welcome atmosphere of tolerance which encouraged national unity and mutual respect
  • Some believed that MC prevented a common identity by encouraging groups to maintain their own identity
  • Some preferred the US “melting pot” model of assimilation-giving up identities to some degree and taking on the mainstream culture to a greater extent
  • In BC, traditional holidays like Easter and Christmas based on the Christian faith, posed a challenge for schools with large ethnic groups
  • Most schools opted to focus on multicultural holidays instead of removing traditional CDN holidays
first nations
  • When FN obtained the vote in 1960, it did little to improve their living conditions-those that tried their luck in the urban areas faced discrimination and hostility
  • In the growing activism of the late 1960’s, Trudeau proposed a “white paper” in 1969 which called for an end to the protective attitude of gov’t policy and FNs should be treated exactly like other citizens
  • The gov’t believed that more assimilation with the mainstream would solve their problems- this made many FN groups furious
  • FNs would present their “red paper” which outlined self-government and Jean Chretien, the Indian Affairs minister at that time, decided to shelve the “white paper” but offered no new policy in its place
educational concerns
Educational Concerns
  • FNs saw education as primary, especially on the heels of the cultural impact of the residential schools which were, for the most part, abandoned by 1969
  • Band schools emerged in various parts of the country focusing on language, culture and traditions, but a lack of secondary schools near the reserves caused problems-requiring high school kids to leave home and attend schools in urban centres leading to loneliness and isolation-again!
  • Although the residential schools had been dismantled, its legacy continues to haunt many who lived through it
  • Stories of abuse and mistreatment led, in 1998, to the federal government apologizing for it’s role in the problem and they announced a $350 million dollar healing fund
environmental concerns
Environmental Concerns
  • The expansion of CDN industries of hydroelectricity and natural gas drew concern form FNs that their traditional activities of hunting, fishing and trapping were threatened
  • In the 1970’s Inuit, Metis and Denes groups in the North opposed a pipeline through the Mackenzie Valley and they demanded a study to determine the impact on their lands-the FG agreed
  • The Berger Commission conducted hearings all over the North, listening carefully to FNs concerns
  • The commission recommend a 10 year hold on development to allow for thoughtful study, but it was not until 2000 that FNs became open to the idea
  • FNs wanted control and some ownership of the project
  • In Quebec after a long dispute in the 80’s and 90’s, Cree residents of the north managed to halt construction of a James Bay hydro project which threatened flooding of ancestral territories
self government
  • In 1980 the Assembly of FNs was formed to represent them in their dealings with the FG
  • Leaders pressured for FNs rights which would be entrenched in the Charter
  • The increase in band council powers begged the question, “What other powers should be transferred from the FG to band councils?”
  • Self government would give them rights to manage their own resources, education, culture and justice systems
  • Specific claims arose in areas where treaties between FN and the FG had been signed, but their terms not kept
  • Comprehensive claims questioned the ownership of land in large parts of Canada that were never surrendered by treaty
the oka confrontation
The Oka Confrontation
  • Land claims occurred largely behind the scenes, but in the summer of 1990 in a small Quebec town called Oka, events made headlines across Canada
  • When the Oka town council decided to expand a golf course into land disputed because the Mohawk considered it sacred, the FNs decided to block roads to prevent development
  • The mayor of Oka called on Provincial police to remove the blockade and on July 11th, gunfire broke out leading to the death of an officer
  • Both sides set up blockades and violent confrontations occurred between Quebec communities, police and Mohawks
  • Federal troops were called in and under pressure from other bands, the Mohawks of Kanesateke, ended the blockade
  • The FG would purchase the land and then give it to the Mohawks
land claims in bc
Land Claims in BC
  • The vast and remote character of BC, in addition to being a late addition to the British Empire, meant that many areas were never officially claimed
  • As early as 1887, the Nisga’a people of the Nass Valley asserted their land rights and in 1912 became the first to lay a claim against the CDN gov’t
  • In 1993 the Nisga’a won a partial victory when the Supreme court agreed they were entitled to land
  • In 1996 they were offered a settlement that gave them to 8% of their original claimed land, ownership of forests, and partial profits from salmon fisheries and hydro development
  • They also won the right to develop their own municipal gov’t and policing, and they received $190 million over 15 years in compensation for lost land- and they agreed to be taxpayers, giving up their tax- exempt status under the Indian Act
  • The creation of Nunavut in 1999 resulted from the largest treaty ever negotiated in Canada, giving the Inuit control of 1.6 million square kms on the eastern Arctic