September 21, 2012
Quebec has a long history of political turbulence sprinkled with feelings of alienation and indifference from the nation surrounding it. Quebec’s provincial government quarreled with the federal government of Canada, demanding special privileges and rights, for decades. Quebec’s feelings of alienation from Canada forced Quebec to threaten separation, however Quebec’s future is dependant on Canada’s financial support and resources, thus making separation a near impossible feat.
During the 1930’s, Quebec was feeling the depression along with the rest of Canada, and was in search of some hope and guiding light. They found the light in the form of Maurice Duplessis, who took the spotlight as the leader of the Union Nationale with the promise of reform. After he was elected in 1936, however, those promises seemed to slip his mind as he created notorious laws, including the infamous Padlock Law, but also anti-striking laws to suppress workers among other things. He lost power once, but only once, until his death. During his reign he managed to bring Quebec into what is referred to as “The Great Darkness” with a dictatorship-like rule, surrounding the Quebeckers with the so-called “Unholy Alliance” of the church, government, and anglophone business leaders until he died and his party finally lost the vote after a total of 18 years in power.
After the dark ages of Quebec, the population finally started looking up. The Union Nationale lost the vote and the Liberal party came to power with Jean Lesage at the forefront of the campaign. Through improvements in the economy, social services, education, and the autonomy of the province, he brought a period of great rapid change in Quebec which came to be known as “The Quiet Revolution”.
The separation of church from government, bringing an end to the patronage that was rampant in the previous government, and the creation and establishment of Quebec-Hydro were just a few of the events that took Quebec out of the depths of darkness and despair.
This so-called revolution was a beginning to a path which took Quebec towards the thought of separation. To bring about the changes they wanted, Lesage and the Liberals demanded more powers and more money from the federal government.# The province was becoming self-sufficient with all the advancements brought about from the Quiet Revolution, and the question of just how far Quebec should go started being asked by the political leaders. Not everyone agreed upon a single answer, especially not Rene Levesque. Formerly a minister in the Liberal party, he thought that Quebec needed to separate from Canada altogether, so in 1967 he broke off and formed his own party, the Parti Quebecois, which had its sights set on the separation of Quebec from Canada. This action would ultimately fail, because even with all of Quebec’s growth and prosperity, it was still dependent on Canada and its resources. This reason has carried on and will probably always be the deciding factor of Quebec’s place in Canada.
Quebec had long been feeling alienated from the rest of Canada, but this was not brought to light to the federal government until the Prime Minister Lester Pearson called upon the Royal Commision of Bilingualism and Biculturalism in 1963 to examine the relationships between English and French in Canada. When the report came back several years after, it had some shocking news to the government. It found that Quebeckers were alienated from the rest of Canada, in large part because the French language was not considered equal to English throughout the country. #
The Official Languages Act raised a furore among some English-speaking Canadians who preferred to think of Canada as an English country with a French-speaking minority, and not as a country in which both language groups enjoyed equal status.# The act was passed by Prime…