Quebec Sovereignist Movement (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: Sympathies for a separate Quebec begin to grow, leading to the establishment of a new Canadian political party.
Summary of Event
In 1960, Canada’s Liberal Party, led by Jean Lesage, won a narrow victory in Quebec’s provincial election. Once in power, the Liberals initiated a period of considerable reform and unintentionally unleashed nationalist forces that would bring the issue of sovereignty for Quebec to the forefront. For much of the period between 1944 and 1960, this province, where 85 percent of the people spoke French, had been in the grip of Maurice Duplessis and his Union Nationale Party. The Duplessis regime was marked by political corruption and ruthless intimidation of opponents. A powerful combination of political bosses, the Roman Catholic church, and big business successfully suppressed trade unions, radical organizations, and any liberating ideas that challenged the established conservative order. Intellectuals later labeled this era the Great Darkness. Anglo-Canadians and the United States controlled the economy, while most French-speaking Quebecers (Québécois) were relegated to a subservient status within their homeland. While the province became increasingly urban, industrial, and secular, Duplessis still defended the values of a rural, religious, traditional-minded people. In short, Quebec’s institutions had become outmoded and no longer conformed to social and economic...
(The entire section is 1513 words.)
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