Quebec Separatism

Submitted By emadkhan1
Words: 1765
Pages: 8

Canada was founded by the British North American Act or the BNA Act which was an act founded by the British Parliament. This was the written contract or rules and regulations which the four founding Provinces (Upper Canada, Lower Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia) had agreed to in conjunction with the British government. The new Canadian government and its citizens also accepted the tradition and rights of the people from the British system as it had been developed over the centuries. Since that time Canada has been able to create a strong and powerful nation. Nation building refers to the process of constructing or structuring a national identity using the power of the state. This process aims at the unification of the people within the state so that it remains politically stable in the long run. Nation building can involve the use of major infrastructure development to promote social harmony and economic growth within the nation. One significant event which occured in the process of Canadas nation building is the issue of Quebec separatism. Every society experiences at every moment social conflicts social conflicts is ubiquitous. Quebec separatism had a profound impact on Canada as a country but also more importantly it affected Canadas relationship with partnering countries including the United States of America in the late 1970s. As this essay will support, it was an important issue for Canada and relations with the United States of America between the years 1976 and 1980. This issue raised many fears in the United States because the threat of separation in Canada raised the threat of the collapse of unity in he United States. This essay will also support the idea that it was in fact the most important issue impacting the relationship between Canada and the United States in the years between 1976 and 1980. The threat of Quebecs separation came into full effect in 1976, which could not have happened at a worse time for the United States. This was the time of the sharp rising of oil prices, causing oil prices to be on the minds of all Americans including the minds of their leaders. At the time, Jimmy Carter had just become president and he was highly aware of the hidden dangers stemming from the oil price crisis. The problem was that it was leading to a threat in the United States that the nation might also divide in some way. The United States of America was then showing strong divisions between oil producing areas like Texas and consuming areas like the northwest (Lisee 150). The industrial north had been dubbed the rust belt, while the southern states, which were doing very well out of the rise in oil prices, were calling themselves the sun belt (Lisee 150). Therefore America had its own issues to worry about and resolve. The problem for the United States relationship with Canada was that Quebec independence could worsen the tensions, which were threatening to divide the United States. Some analysts thought that if a separation was seen to happen in Canada, which was perceived as a marvel of multicultural reconciliation and tolerance, then it would become much more likely to happen in the United States (Lisee). These sort of tensions in the United States had a long history dating back to the American Civil War, which had made the United States acutely aware that unity could not be taken for granted, not even in a country such as the United States of America with a fairly homogeneous culture (Barry, Dickerson and Gaisford). Tensions about regional sensitivities were especially high at the time. Carter was the first Southerner to go directly into the White House since the Civil War and therefore James Reston wrote that After a hundred years, the US is just beginning to go the other way and bring the American South into the Union under Carter (Lisee 150). Another reason why this issue was so important between Canada and US relations, is that a united Canada would offer a great partnership and more specifically be a