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Quebec and Canada Question

The birth of national consciousness in French Canada dates back to the 1800s when the Canadians began to see themselves as a nation culturally distinct from the French even during the New France era. Throughout their history, nationalism conceptions that Canadian provinces propagated have undergone significant changes. For instance, Quebec nationalism during the post World War II period has transformed itself from nationalism of resentment to nationalism of self-affirmation.

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The post-World War era in Quebec history is marked by a remarkable awakening of Quebecers’ sense of self. The rural and conservative Canadian province of the XIX-the beginning of the XX century transformed into a confident and cosmopolitan province with the citizens seeing themselves as a unique nation with a culture worth preserving.

In 1960 the Quebec Liberal Party started the ideological and technological modernization of the province through the Quiet Revolution. Though the province acquired more and more distinct features of independent nationalism within Canada, the paternalistic federal government prevented it from adequate development. Income, emplacement, and general standards of living in Quebec were far from being called satisfactory. The number of supporters of the idea of political secession from Canada increased because Quebecers believed it to be the only solution to their problems.

1963 witnessed the formation of a Quebec terrorist organization known as the Front de Liberation du Quebec. The establishment of a sovereign Quebec by any means necessary was the ultimate goal of the organization. Many French-Canadians suffered from bombings, robberies, murders, and vandalism that the Front organized. The organization’s activity resulted in an unprecedented terror of 1970 known as the October Crisis. The War Measures Act encouraged by Prime Minister Trudeau empowered the government to quell the terrorist threat. As a result, hundreds of Quebecers were arrested for being suspected in connection with the terrorist organization. The latter responded by killing the Vice Premier and a series of assassinations. When a lot of people had been arrested the organization collapsed with its leaders gone to Cuba. In this case, Quebec nationalism does not seem justified as its radical manifestations caused too much trouble to innocent people.

Later, new tendencies in Quebec nationalism appeared, there were three directions in it: the liberal movement favored greater autonomy for the province but remained federalists; the independence movement that significantly grew in size and the socialist movement that worked in a trade union framework. The supporters of independence lost the 1980 Quebec referendum and the new Canadian Constitution demonstrated a defeat of advocates of Quebec within Confederation.

The current situation with Quebec nationalism arouses numerous debates concerning its nature: there are advocates of both ethnic and territorial nationalism in Quebec. The latter has been promoted by all Quebec premiers since Jean Lesage and finds support with the sovereignists and federalist nationalists. The advocates of ethic nationalism have different views on the problem: some support the multi-ethnic movement, whereas others do not see themselves as a part of a Quebecois nation. This way or another, during the post-World War II period and up to the present days, all Quebecers became unanimous in their seeing themselves as a unique people with strivings to preserve the culture that unites them.

Works Cited

Finkel, A. & Conrad, M. History of the Canadian Peoples: 1867 to the Present. Toronto: Copp Clark Pitman, 1993.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, October 15). Quebec and Canada Question. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/quebec-and-canada-question/

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StudyCorgi. (2021, October 15). Quebec and Canada Question. https://studycorgi.com/quebec-and-canada-question/

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"Quebec and Canada Question." StudyCorgi, 15 Oct. 2021, studycorgi.com/quebec-and-canada-question/.

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