The Rise of Quebec Nationalism

The Rise of Quebec
The Duplessis Era
Duplessis and his Union Nationale
Party controlled Quebec from 1936
to 1959.
During this era, Quebec was:
Economically controlled by English-Canadians
The Roman Catholic Church had a lot of power
and it acted as the protector of French Canadian
It encouraged people to reject materialism.
It praised traditions such as farming, faith, and
It controlled schools where French Canadian
children were given only a basic education.
It controlled hospitals.
How important would education be to him?
Duplessis allowed English Canadians and Americans to
take over most of Quebec’s economy:
Duplessis encouraged foreign investment as a way of
creating jobs in Quebec.
He offered businesses from Ontario and the USA
Cheap labour (unions were discouraged)
Low taxes
In return, he expected that these businesses would
reward him by giving “kickbacks” or gifts to his Union
Nationale Party.
People in Quebec became increasingly unhappy
with the Duplessis government.
After he died in 1960, the Liberals took over
the government of Quebec, under the
leadership of Jean Lesage.
The Liberals announced that it was “time for a
Jean Lesage had one main
To modernize Quebec
His efforts to change Quebec
became known as
The Quiet Revolution.
The Quiet Revolution
•The government took control over education, medical
care, and social services away from the Catholic Church.
•The government decided to make the Quebecois
“Masters in their Own House” by taking over
(nationalizing) important businesses that had been owned
by English Canadians.
•The most significant example of this, was the creation of
Hydro Quebec after the take over of several private
hydropower companies.
•Quebec became more modern.
•French Canadians became more educated.
•French Canadians now had control over their own
•Quebecers were now more confident in their ability to
take care of themselves.
•The French in Quebec now began to focus their anger
on the injustices they believed they were suffering at the
hands of the English Canadians.
The Birth of Separatism
•During the 1960s , French Canadians began to notice
that they were being treated unfairly:
•Our capital city, Ottawa, was English speaking.
•Politicians from Quebec were almost never
appointed to the cabinet.
•English Canadians had English schools in Quebec, but
French Canadians did not have French schools
outside of Quebec.
•English was the language of business, even in
•For many, the only solution was a Quebec that was
separate from Canada
•Two organizations were formed with the hope of achieving
Quebec independence:
•FLQ: Formed by young radicals. They used methods
such as fire bombings, kidnappings and murder to
achieve their aims!
•Parti Quebecois: A provincial political party formed by
Rene Levesque. Its goal was to become the government
of Quebec and to hold a referendum in which people
would be given a choice:
•Stay with Canada or become independent!
Canadian Response:
•Lester Pearson took two steps to try and stop to
separatist movement:
•His government created the new Canadian flag, so that
Quebecers wouldn’t complain that our symbols were
too British.
•He put together the Bi and Bi Commission, whose
purpose was to find a way to make Canada a bilingual
and bicultural country.
Canadian Response:
•When Trudeau came to power in 1968, the Bi and Bi
Commission was ready with its proposals, and he acted on
• Official Languages Act: This law made French and
English equal in every province across Canada!
•Canada was now a bilingual country from coast to
•Both languages were treated the same way in every
How did People Respond?
•People in Quebec still preferred their provincial flag to the
maple leaf flag.
•English Canadians were angered by the new flag.
•Canadians outside of Quebec felt that French was being
forced on them to satisfy Quebec.
•French Canadians in Quebec were angered by the Official
Languages Act because ...
•They believed that French should have special status in
Quebec (it should not be equal but more important
than English).
The Consequences
•All the anger and tension eventually resulted in the
October Crisis of 1970:
•Members of the FLQ kidnapped a British diplomat
named James Cross.
•In exchange for his release, they demanded the release
of FLQ members being held in prison.
•The Trudeau government refused to do this.
•What do you think the FLQ did next?
The October Crisis
•Five days later, the FLQ kidnapped a second person:
Quebec Cabinet Minister, Pierre Laporte.
•Alarmed at the situation, Pierre Trudeau passed the War
Measures Act:
•Civil rights were suspended.
•Membership in the FLQ became a crime.
•People were searched and arrested without being
charged with a crime.
•The army was sent into Montreal and Ottawa to
protect politicians and public buildings.
•Many people were worried about the future of Canada.
•When asked how far he was willing to go to defeat the
FLQ, Pierre Trudeau responded, “Just watch me.”
•One day later, the body of Pierre Laporte was found in the
trunk of a car!
•This horrified Canadians and increased support for
•Two months later, the house where James Cross was being
held was surrounded by police. The kidnappers released
him in return for safe passage to Cuba.
The Crisis Ends
•After the release of James Cross, the crisis ended.
•The FLQ died as an organization, because its actions were
not accepted by the vast majority of Quebec separatists.
•After 1970, all efforts to bring independence to Quebec
have been peaceful and democratic.

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