Quebec Separatist Movement
The Canadian confederation brought promise and opportunity to a newly independent nation, this nation consisted of Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Quebec. As the only province in Canada with a French speaking minority Quebec faced discrimination and anguish. Its individuals often felt forced to assimilate to English culture causing conflict between the English and French communities. Throughout Canadian history it has been difficult for Quebec to attain the treatment it deserved. It is a result of this treatment that Quebec has previously attempted two referendums for separation. Quebec should not separate from Canada. Quebec, despite being one of the founding provinces wants independence from Canada. Reasoning’s for sovereignty include the preservation of culture and language, not getting unique status, and having an abundance of natural resources to sustain itself economically. However, the Canadian constitution makes it difficult for a province to be a sovereign nation; although if it was possible there would be numerous implications on society, politics, and the world economy; depending on the type of sovereignty used. As a founding province of Canada Quebec should not want to separate; however, after enduring years of discrimination Quebec is striving for independence. Although a large portion of Quebec’s population wants to separate, not all individuals agree on the type of sovereignty. There are three common types of sovereignty; total independence, sovereignty-association, and federalism. Total independence would entail that Quebec sever all ties with the rest of Canada. Sovereignty-association would involve an independent political system but Quebec would maintain an economic relationship with Canada. Lastly there is federalism which is not a type of separatist movement but rather a movement for change. Federalist strive for a strong government with supporting provincial governments, each level of government would provide a check on the use and misuse of power by another. In spite of the different kinds of separatists, they all share the same reasoning’s.
Since the confederation there has been an increase in hostility between English and French Canadians. Despite the laws the Canadian government put forth, Quebec’s language and culture is not being protected. In 1912 Ontario banned French language schools jeopardising francophone communities; this ban was not lifted until 1944 at which point the damage had already been done (Fishman and Garcia 32). It was not until 1967 that the Official Language Act was introduced cementing French as the second national language of Canada; “ this ensured equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all federal institutions” (Gov. of Canada Justice laws website). Quebec’s French culture is a symbol to its people; it reminds the Québécois of their French heritage and gives light to how the English in Canadian history have continuously oppressed them. Over time Quebec has maintained its French language and unique culture, however aspects of this culture has been changed due to previous attempts at assimilation. Quebec having originally been a French colony; believes its customs are unique to its province and therefore should be subject to special treatment.
The idea of separation is drastic, although it is merely a last resort for the people of Quebec. For years the Quebecois people felt as though they were not getting what they deserved. In the 1960’s Quebec entered the quiet revolution, people were beginning to reject and question their place within Canada. Throughout the next 20 years the quiet revolution became a social upheaval with the birth of the FLQ, and the Partie Québécois going into power (Canadian History). By 1980 when Quebec held its first referendum its intentions were clear, sovereignty- association. Despite the 1980 referendum being a failure Quebec maintained its...
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