Context of Quebec

Quebec ( k(w)ih-BEK; French: Québec [kebɛk] (listen)) is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada. It is the largest province by area and the second-largest by population. Much of the population of Quebec lives in urban areas along the St. Lawrence River, between its most populous city, Montreal, and the provincial capital, Quebec City. The province is the home of the Québécois nation. Located in Central Canada, the province shares land borders with Ontario to the west, Newfoundland and Labrador to the northeast, New Brunswick to the southeast, and a coastal border with Nunavut; in the south it borders Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York ...Read more

Quebec ( k(w)ih-BEK; French: Québec [kebɛk] (listen)) is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada. It is the largest province by area and the second-largest by population. Much of the population of Quebec lives in urban areas along the St. Lawrence River, between its most populous city, Montreal, and the provincial capital, Quebec City. The province is the home of the Québécois nation. Located in Central Canada, the province shares land borders with Ontario to the west, Newfoundland and Labrador to the northeast, New Brunswick to the southeast, and a coastal border with Nunavut; in the south it borders Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York in the United States.

Between 1534 and 1763, Quebec was called Canada and was the most developed colony in New France. Following the Seven Years' War, Quebec became a British colony: first as the Province of Quebec (1763–1791), then Lower Canada (1791–1841), and lastly Canada East (1841–1867), as a result of the Lower Canada Rebellion. It was confederated with Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick in 1867, beginning the Dominion of Canada. Until the early 1960s, the Catholic Church played a large role in the social and cultural institutions in Quebec. However, the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s to 1980s increased the role of the Government of Quebec in l'État québécois (the state of Quebec).

The Government of Quebec functions within the context of a Westminster system and is both a liberal democracy and a constitutional monarchy. The Premier of Quebec, presently François Legault, acts as head of government. Québécois political culture mostly differs on a nationalist-vs-federalist continuum, rather than a left-vs-right continuum. Independence debates have played a large role in politics. Quebec society's cohesion and specificity is based on three of its unique statutory documents: the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, the Charter of the French Language, and the Civil Code of Quebec. Furthermore, unlike elsewhere in Canada, law in Quebec is mixed: private law is exercised under a civil-law system, while public law is exercised under a common-law system.

Quebec's official language is French; Québécois French is the regional variety. The economy of Quebec is mainly supported by its large service sector and varied industrial sector. For exports, it leans on the key industries of aeronautics, hydroelectricity, mining, pharmaceuticals, aluminum, wood, and paper. Quebec is well known for producing maple syrup, for its comedy, and for making hockey one of the most popular sports in Canada. It is also renowned for its culture; the province produces literature, music, films, TV shows, festivals, folklore, and more.

More about Quebec

Basic information
Population, Area & Driving side
  • Population 8831257
  • Area 1542056
  • Driving side right
  • Indigenous peoples and European expeditions (pre-1608)
    A depiction of Jacques Cartier by Théophile Hamel, 1844

    The Paleo-Indians theorized to have migrated from Asia to America between 20,000 and 14,000 years ago, were the first...Read more

    Indigenous peoples and European expeditions (pre-1608)
    A depiction of Jacques Cartier by Théophile Hamel, 1844

    The Paleo-Indians theorized to have migrated from Asia to America between 20,000 and 14,000 years ago, were the first people to establish themselves on the lands of Quebec, arriving there after the Laurentide Ice Sheet melted roughly 11,000 years ago.[1][2] From them, many ethnocultural groups emerged. At the time of the European explorations of the 1500s, there were eleven Indigenous peoples: the Inuit and ten First Nations – the Abenakis, Algonquins (or Anichinabés), Atikamekw, Cree, Huron-Wyandot, Maliseet (also known as Wolastoqiyik or Etchemin), Miꞌkmaqs, Iroquois, Innu (or Montagnais) and Naskapis.[3] At the time, Algonquians organized into seven political entities and lived nomadic lives based on hunting, gathering, and fishing.[4] Inuit, on the other hand, fished and hunted whales and seals along the coasts of Hudson and Ungava Bays.[5]

    In the 15th century, the Byzantine Empire fell, prompting Western Europeans to search for new sea routes to the Far East.[6] Around 1522–1523, Giovanni da Verrazzano persuaded King Francis I of France to commission an expedition to find a western route to Cathay (China) via a Northwest Passage. Though this expedition was unsuccessful, it established the name New France for northeastern North America.[7] In his first expedition ordered from the Kingdom of France, Jacques Cartier became the first European explorer to discover and map Quebec when he landed in Gaspé on July 24, 1534.[8] The second expedition, in 1535, included three ships: the Grande Hermine, the Petite Hermine and the Emérillon. That year, Jacques Cartier explored the lands of Stadacona and named the village and its surrounding territories Canada (from kanata, 'village' in Iroquois). After wintering in Stadacona, Cartier returned to France with about 10 St. Lawrence Iroquoians, including Chief Donnacona. In 1540, Donnacona told the legend of the Kingdom of Saguenay to the King of France. This inspired the king to order a third expedition, this time led by Jean-François de La Rocque de Roberval; it was unsuccessful in its goal of finding the kingdom.[9]

    After these expeditions, France mostly abandoned North America for 50 years because of its financial crisis; France was involved in the Italian Wars and there were religious wars between Protestants and Catholics.[10] Around 1580, the rise of the fur trade (particularly the demand for beaver pelts) reignited French interest; New France became a colonial trading post.[11] In 1603, Samuel de Champlain travelled to the Saint Lawrence River and, on Pointe Saint-Mathieu, established a defence pact with the Innu, Maliseet and Micmacs, that would be "a decisive factor in the maintenance of a French colonial enterprise in America despite an enormous numerical disadvantage vis-à-vis the British".[12] Thus also began French military support to the Algonquian and Huron peoples against Iroquois attacks; these became known as the Iroquois Wars and lasted from the early 1600s to the early 1700s.[13]

    New France (1608–1763)
    Three Huron-Wyandot chiefs from Wendake. New France had largely peaceful relations with the Indigenous people, such as their allies the Huron. After the defeat of the Huron by their mutual enemy, the Iroquois, many fled from Ontario to Quebec.

    In 1608, Samuel de Champlain[14] returned to the region as head of an exploration party. On July 3, 1608, with the support of King Henry IV, he founded the Habitation de Québec (now Quebec City) and made it the capital of New France and its regions (which, at the time, were Acadia, Canada and Plaisance in Newfoundland).[11] The settlement was built as a permanent fur trading outpost, where First Nations traded their furs for French goods, such as metal objects, guns, alcohol, and clothing.[15] Several missionary groups arrived in New France after the founding of Quebec City, like the Recollects in 1615, the Jesuits in 1625 and the Supliciens in 1657. Coureurs des bois and Catholic missionaries used river canoes to explore the interior of the North American continent and establish fur trading forts.[16][17]

    The Compagnie des Cent-Associés, which had been granted a royal mandate to manage New France in 1627, introduced the Custom of Paris and the seigneurial system, and forbade settlement in New France by anyone other than Roman Catholics.[18] In 1629, Quebec City surrendered, without battle, to English privateers led by David Kirke during the Anglo-French War; in 1632, the English king agreed to return it with the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Trois-Rivières was founded at Samuel de Champlain's request in 1634.[19] Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve founded Ville-Marie (now Montreal) in 1642.

    In 1663, the Company of New France ceded Canada to King Louis XIV, who officially made New France into a royal province of France.[20] New France was now a true colony administered by the Sovereign Council of New France from Quebec City. A governor-general, assisted by the intendant of New France and the bishop of Quebec City, governed Canada and its administrative dependencies: Acadia, Louisiana and Plaisance.[21] The French settlers were mostly farmers and were known as "Canadiens" or "Habitants". Though there was little immigration,[22] the colony still grew because of the Habitants' high birth rates.[23][24] In 1665, the Carignan-Salières regiment developed the string of fortifications known as the "Valley of Forts" to protect against Iroquois invasions and brought along with them 1,200 new men.[25] To redress the severe gender imbalance and boost population growth, King Louis XIV sponsored the passage of approximately 800 young French women (King's Daughters) to the colony.[20] In 1666, intendant Jean Talon organized the first census and counted 3,215 Habitants. Talon also enacted policies to diversify agriculture and encourage births, which, in 1672, had increased the population to 6,700.[26]

    New France's territory grew to extend from Hudson Bay all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, and would also encompass the Great Lakes.[27] In the early 1700s, Governor Callières concluded the Great Peace of Montreal, which not only confirmed the alliance between the Algonquian and New France, but also definitively ended the Iroquois Wars.[28] From 1688 onwards, the fierce competition between the French and British to control North America's interior and monopolize the fur trade pitted New France and its Indigenous allies against the Iroquois and English in a series of four successive wars called the French and Indian Wars by Americans, and the Intercolonial Wars in Quebec.[29] The first three of these wars were King William's War (1688–1697), Queen Anne's War (1702–1713), and King George's War (1744–1748). In 1690, the Battle of Quebec became the first time Quebec City's defences were tested. In 1713, following the Peace of Utrecht, the Duke of Orléans ceded Acadia and Plaisance Bay to Great Britain, but retained Île Saint-Jean (Prince Edward Island), and Île-Royale (Cape Breton Island) where the Fortress of Louisbourg was subsequently erected. These losses were significant since Plaisance Bay was the primary communication route between New France and France, and Acadia contained 5,000 Acadians.[30][31] In the siege of Louisbourg in 1745, the British were victorious, but returned the city to France after war concessions.[32]

    Montcalm leading his troops into battle. Watercolour by Charles William Jefferys.

    The last of the four French and Indian Wars was called the Seven Years' War ("The War of the Conquest" in Quebec) and lasted from 1754 to 1763.[33][34] In 1754, tensions escalated for control of the Ohio Valley, as authorities in New France became more aggressive in their efforts to expel British traders and colonists from the area.[35] In 1754, George Washington launched a surprise attack on a group of sleeping Canadien soldiers, known as the Battle of Jumonville Glen, the first battle of the war. In 1755, Governor Charles Lawrence and Officer Robert Monckton ordered the forceful Deportation of the Acadians. In 1758, on Île-Royale, British General James Wolfe besieged and captured the Fortress of Louisbourg.[36] This allowed him to control access to the Gulf of St. Lawrence through the Cabot Strait. In 1759, he besieged Quebec for nearly three months from Île d'Orléans.[37] Then, Wolfe stormed Quebec and fought against Montcalm for control of the city in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. After a British victory, the king's lieutenant and Lord of Ramezay concluded the Articles of Capitulation of Quebec. During the spring of 1760, the Chevalier de Lévis besieged Quebec City and forced the British to entrench themselves during the Battle of Sainte-Foy. However, the loss of the French vessels sent to resupply New France after the fall of Quebec City during the Battle of Restigouche marked the end of France's efforts to try to retake the colony. Governor Pierre de Rigaud, marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnial signed the Articles of Capitulation of Montreal on September 8, 1760.

    While awaiting the results of the Seven Years' War in Europe, New France was put under a British military regime led by Governor James Murray.[38] In 1762, Commander Jeffery Amherst ended the French presence in Newfoundland at the Battle of Signal Hill. Two months later, France secretly ceded the western part of Louisiana and the Mississippi River Delta to Spain via the Treaty of Fontainebleau. On February 10, 1763, the Treaty of Paris concluded the war. With the exception of the small islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, France ceded its North American possessions to Great Britain.[39] Thus, France had put an end to New France and abandoned the remaining 60,000 Canadiens, who sided with the Catholic clergy in refusing to take an oath to the British Crown.[40] The rupture from France would provoke a transformation within the descendants of the Canadiens that would eventually result in the birth of a new nation.[41]

    British North America (1763–1867)
    The Province of Quebec in 1774

    After the British officially acquired Canada in 1763, the British government established a constitution for the newly acquired territory, under the Royal Proclamation.[42] From this point on, the Canadiens were subordinated to the government of the British Empire and circumscribed to a region of the St. Lawrence Valley and Anticosti Island called the Province of Quebec. With unrest growing in the colonies to the south, the British were worried that the Canadiens (the majority of the Quebec population) might support what would become the American Revolution. To secure the allegiance of Canadiens to the British crown, Governor James Murray and later Governor Guy Carleton promoted the need for accommodations, resulting in the enactment of the Quebec Act[43] of 1774. This act allowed Canadiens to regain their civil customs, return to the seigneural system, regain certain rights (including the use of the French language), and reappropriate their old territories: Labrador, the Great Lakes, the Ohio Valley, Illinois Country and the Indian Territory.[44]

    As early as 1774, the Continental Congress of the separatist Thirteen Colonies attempted to rally the Canadiens to its cause. However, its military troops failed to defeat the British counteroffensive during its Invasion of Quebec in 1775. Most Canadiens remained neutral, although some patriotic regiments allied themselves with the Americans in the Saratoga campaign of 1777. When the British Empire recognized the independence of the rebel colonies at the signing of the Treaty of Paris of 1783, it conceded Illinois and the Ohio Valley to the newly formed United States and denoted the 45th parallel as its border, drastically reducing Quebec's size.

    United Empire Loyalists from the US migrated to Quebec and populated various regions, including the Niagara Peninsula, the Eastern Townships and Thousand Islands.[45] Dissatisfied with the many rights granted to Canadiens and wanting to use the British legal system to which they were accustomed, the Loyalists protested to British authorities until the Constitutional Act of 1791 was enacted, dividing the Province of Quebec into two distinct colonies starting from the Ottawa River: Upper Canada to the west (predominantly Anglo-Protestant) and Lower Canada to the east (predominantly Franco-Catholic). Lower Canada's lands consisted of the coasts of the Saint Lawrence River, Labrador and Anticosti Island, with the territory extending north to the boundary of Rupert's Land, and extending south, east and west to the borders with the US, New Brunswick, and Upper Canada. The creation of Upper and Lower Canada allowed Loyalists to live under British laws and institutions, while Canadiens could maintain their familiar French civil law and Catholic religion. Furthermore, Governor Haldimand drew Loyalists away from Quebec City and Montreal by offering free land on the northern shore of Lake Ontario to anyone willing to swear allegiance to George III. During the War of 1812, Charles-Michel de Salaberry became a hero by leading the Canadian troops to victory at the Battle of the Chateauguay. This loss caused the Americans to abandon the Saint Lawrence Campaign, their major strategic effort to conquer Canada.

    The Battle of Saint-Eustache was the final battle of the Lower Canada Rebellion.[46]

    Gradually, the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada, who represented the people, came into conflict with the superior authority of the Crown and its appointed representatives. Starting in 1791, the government of Lower Canada was criticized and contested by the Parti canadien. In 1834, the Parti canadien presented its 92 resolutions, a series of political demands which expressed a loss of confidence in the British monarchy. Discontentment intensified throughout the public meetings of 1837, and the Lower Canada Rebellion began in 1837.[47] In 1837, Louis-Joseph Papineau and Robert Nelson led residents of Lower Canada to form an armed resistance group called the Patriotes. They made a Declaration of Independence in 1838, guaranteeing human rights and equality for all citizens without discrimination.[48] Their actions resulted in rebellions in both Lower and Upper Canada. The Patriotes forces were victorious in their first battle, the Battle of Saint-Denis. However, the Patriotes were unorganized and badly equipped, leading to their loss against the British army in their second battle, the Battle of Saint-Charles, and their defeat in their final battle, the Battle of Saint-Eustache.[46]

    In response to the rebellions, Lord Durham was asked to undertake a study and prepare a report offering a solution to the British Parliament.[49] In his report, Lord Durham recommended that Canadiens be culturally assimilated, with English as their only official language. In order to do this, the British passed the Act of Union 1840, which merged Upper Canada and Lower Canada into a single colony: the Province of Canada. Lower Canada became the francophone and densely populated Canada East, and Upper Canada became the anglophone and sparsely populated Canada West. This union, unsurprisingly, was the main source of political instability until 1867. Despite their population gap, both Canada East and Canada West obtained an identical number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada, which created representation problems. In the beginning, Canada East was under-represented because of its superior population size. Over time, however, massive immigration from the British Isles to Canada West occurred, which increased its population. Since the two regions continued to have equal representation in the Parliament, this meant that it was now Canada West that was under-represented. The representation issues were frequently called into question by debates on "Representation by Population". In this period, the Loyalists and immigrants from the British Isles appropriated the term "Canadian", referring to Canada, their place of residence. The "Old Canadians" responded to this appropriation of identity by henceforth identifying with their ethnic community, under the name "French Canadian".

    As access to new lands remained problematic because they were still monopolized by the Clique du Château, an exodus of Canadiens towards New England began and went on for the next one hundred years. This phenomenon is known as the Grande Hémorragie and greatly threatened the survival of the Canadien nation. The massive British immigration ordered from London that soon followed the failed rebellion compounded this problem. In order to combat this, the Church adopted the revenge of the cradle policy. In 1844, the capital of the Province of Canada was moved from Kingston to Montreal.[50]

    Political unrest came to a head in 1849, when English Canadian rioters set fire to the Parliament Building in Montreal following the enactment of the Rebellion Losses Bill, a law that compensated French Canadians whose properties were destroyed during the rebellions of 1837–1838.[51] This bill, resulting from the Baldwin-La Fontaine coalition and Lord Elgin's advice, was a very important one as it established the notion of responsible government.[52] In 1854, the seigneurial system was abolished, the Grand Trunk Railway was built and the Canadian–American Reciprocity Treaty was implemented. In 1866, the Civil Code of Lower Canada was adopted.[53][54][55]

    Canadian province (1867–present)
    George-Étienne Cartier, co-premier from Canada East and a Father of Confederation

    In 1864, negotiations began for Canadian Confederation between the Province of Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. There were two conferences that year: the first conference, the Charlottetown Conference, and the second, the Quebec Conference at Quebec City.

    After having fought as a Patriote, George-Étienne Cartier entered politics in the Province of Canada, eventually becoming one of the co-premiers and an advocate for the union of the British North American provinces. He became one of the leading figures at the Quebec Conference, which produced the Quebec Resolutions, the foundation for Canadian Confederation.[56] Recognized as a Father of Confederation, he successfully argued for the establishment of the province of Quebec, initially composed of the historic heart of the territory of the French Canadian nation and where French Canadians would most likely retain majority status.

    The Quebec Resolutions were implemented as the British North America Act, 1867, passed by the British Parliament at the request of the governments of the Province of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, following the London Conference of 1866. The British North America Act, 1867 was brought into force on July 1, 1867, creating Canada. It was composed of four founding provinces: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec. These last two came from the splitting of the Province of Canada, and used the old borders of Lower Canada for Quebec, and Upper Canada for Ontario. On July 15, 1867, Pierre-Joseph-Olivier Chauveau became Quebec's first premier.

    From Confederation until the First World War, the omnipresence of the Roman Catholic Church was at its peak. The objective of clerico-nationalists was promoting the values of traditional society: family, the French language, the Catholic Church and rural life. Also during this time period, events such as the North-West Rebellion, the Manitoba Schools Question and Ontario's Regulation 17 turned the promotion and defence of the rights of French Canadians into an important concern.[57] Under the aegis of the Catholic Church and the political action of Henri Bourassa, various symbols of national pride were developed, like the Flag of Carillon, and "O Canada" – a patriotic song composed for Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day. Many organizations went on to consecrate the affirmation of the French-Canadian people, including the caisses populaires Desjardins in 1900, the Catholic Association of French-Canadian Youth [fr] in 1904, the Club de hockey Canadien in 1909, Le Devoir in 1910, the Congrès de la langue française in 1912, L'Action catholique [fr] in 1915, and L'Action nationale in 1917. In 1885, liberal and conservative MPs formed the Parti national out of anger with the previous government for not having interceded in the execution of Louis Riel.[58]

    In 1898, the Canadian Parliament enacted the Quebec Boundary Extension Act, 1898, which gave Quebec part of Rupert's Land, which Canada had bought from the Hudson's Bay Company in 1870.[59] This act expanded the boundaries of Quebec northward. In 1909, the government passed a law obligating wood and pulp to be transformed in Quebec, which helped slow the Grande Hémorragie by allowing Quebec to export its finished products to the US instead of its labour force.[60] In 1910, Armand Lavergne passed the Lavergne Law, the first language legislation in Quebec. It required the use of French alongside English on tickets, documents, bills and contracts issued by transportation and public utility companies. At this time, companies rarely recognized the majority language of Quebec.[61] Clerico-nationalists eventually started to fall out of favour in the federal elections of 1911. In 1912, the Canadian Parliament enacted the Quebec Boundaries Extension Act, 1912, which gave Quebec another part of Rupert's Land: the District of Ungava.[62] This extended the borders of Quebec northward all the way to the Hudson Strait.

    When the First World War broke out, Canada was automatically involved and many English Canadians volunteered. However, because they did not feel the same connection to the British Empire and there was no direct threat to Canada, French Canadians saw no reason to fight. A few did enlist in the 22nd Battalion, precursor to the Royal 22e Régiment. By late 1916, the number of casualties were beginning to cause reinforcement problems. After enormous difficulty in the federal government, because virtually every French-speaking MP opposed conscription while almost all the English-speaking MPs supported it, the Military Service Act became law on August 29, 1917.[63] French Canadians protested in what is now called the Conscription Crisis of 1917, which eventually led to the Quebec riot [fr].[64]

    In 1919, the prohibition of spirits was enacted following a provincial referendum.[65] But, prohibition was quickly abolished in 1921 due to the Alcoholic Beverages Act which created the Commission des liqueurs du Québec.[66] In 1927, the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council drew a clear border between northeast Quebec and south Labrador. However, the Quebec government did not recognize the ruling of the Judicial Committee, resulting in a boundary dispute which remains ongoing. The Statute of Westminster 1931 was enacted, and it confirmed the autonomy of the Dominions – including Canada and its provinces – from the United Kingdom, as well as their free association in the Commonwealth.[67] In the 1930s, Quebec's economy was affected by the Great Depression because it greatly reduced American demand for Quebec exports. Between 1929 and 1932 the unemployment rate increased from 7.7% to 26.4%. In an attempt to remedy this, the Quebec government enacted infrastructure projects, campaigns to colonize distant regions (mostly in Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Bas-Saint-Laurent), financial assistance to farmers, and the secours directs – the ancestor to Canada's Employment Insurance.[68]

    Maurice Duplessis, premier of Quebec from 1936 to 1939 and during the Grande Noirceur

    French Canadians remained opposed to conscription during the Second World War. When Canada declared war in September 1939, the federal government pledged not to conscript soldiers for overseas service. As the war went on, more and more English Canadians voiced support for conscription, despite firm opposition from French Canada. Following a 1942 poll that showed 72.9% of Quebec's residents were against conscription, while 80% or more were for conscription in every other province, the federal government passed Bill 80 for overseas service. Protests exploded and the Bloc Populaire emerged to fight conscription.[63] The stark differences between the values of French and English Canada popularized the expression the "Two Solitudes".

    In the wake of the conscription crisis, Maurice Duplessis of the Union Nationale ascended to power and implemented a set of conservative policies known as the Grande Noirceur. He focused on defending provincial autonomy, Quebec's Catholic and francophone heritage, and laissez-faire liberalism instead of the emerging welfare state.[69] However, as early as 1948, French Canadian society began to develop new ideologies and desires in response to significant societal changes such as new inventions like the television, the baby boom, workers' conflicts, electrification of the countryside, emergence of a middle class, the rural exodus and urbanization, expansion of universities and bureaucracies, creation of a motorway system, renaissance of literature and poetry, and others.

    Modern Quebec (1960–present)
    "Maîtres chez nous" was the electoral slogan of the Liberal Party during the 1962 election.

    The Quiet Revolution was a period of intense modernization, secularization and social reform where, in a collective awakening, French Canadians clearly expressed their concern and dissatisfaction with their inferior socioeconomic position and the cultural assimilation of francophone minorities in the English-majority provinces. It resulted, among many other things, in the formation of the modern Québécois identity and Québécois nation.[70][71] In 1960, the Liberal Party of Quebec was brought to power with a two-seat majority, having campaigned with the slogan "C'est l'temps qu'ça change" ("It's time for things to change"). This government made many reforms in the fields of social policy, education, health and economic development. It created the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Labour Code, Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Education, Office québécois de la langue française, Régie des rentes and Société générale de financement. In 1962, the government of Quebec dismantled the financial syndicates of Saint Jacques Street. The same year, Quebec began to nationalize its electricity. In order to buy out all the private electric companies and build new Hydro-Québec dams, Quebec was lent $300 million by the US in 1962,[72] and $100 million by British Columbia in 1964.[73]

    The Quiet Revolution was particularly characterized by the 1962 Liberal Party's slogan "Maîtres chez nous" ("Masters in our own house"), which, to the Anglo-American conglomerates that dominated the economy and natural resources of Quebec, announced a collective will for freedom of the French-Canadian people.[74] As a result of confrontations between the lower clergy and the laity, state institutions began to deliver services without the assistance of the church, and many parts of civil society began to be more secular. During the Second Vatican Council, the reform of Quebec's institutions was overseen and supported by the Holy See. In 1965, the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism[75] wrote a preliminary report underlining Quebec's distinct character, and promoted open federalism, a political attitude guaranteeing Quebec to a minimum amount of consideration.[76][77] To favour Quebec during its Quiet Revolution, Lester B. Pearson adopted a policy of open federalism.[78][79] In 1966, the Union Nationale was re-elected and continued on with major reforms.[80]

    René Lévesque, one of the architects of the Quiet Revolution, and the Premier of Quebec's first modern sovereignist government

    In 1967, President of France Charles de Gaulle visited Quebec, the first French head of state to do so, to attend Expo 67. There, he addressed a crowd of more than 100,000, making a speech ending with the exclamation: "Vive le Québec libre!" ("Long live free Quebec"). This declaration had a profound effect on Quebec by bolstering the burgeoning modern Quebec sovereignty movement and resulting in a political crisis between France and Canada. Following this, various civilian groups developed, sometimes confronting public authority, for example in the October Crisis of 1970.[81] The meetings of the Estates General of French Canada in November 1967 marked a tipping point where relations between francophones of America, and especially francophones of Canada, ruptured. This breakdown greatly affected Quebec society's evolution.[82]

    In 1968, class conflicts and changes in mentalities intensified.[83] That year, Option Quebec sparked a constitutional debate on the political future of the province by pitting federalist and sovereignist doctrines against each other. In 1973, the liberal government of Robert Bourassa initiated the James Bay Project on La Grande River. In 1974, it enacted the Official Language Act, which made French the official language of Quebec. In 1975, it established the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.

    Quebec's first modern sovereignist government, led by René Lévesque, materialized when the Parti Québécois was brought to power in the 1976 Quebec general election.[84] The Charter of the French Language came into force the following year, strengthening the linguistic rights of Quebecois. Between 1966 and 1969, the Estates General of French Canada confirmed the state of Quebec to be the nation's fundamental political milieu and for it to have the right to self-determination.[85][86] In the 1980 referendum on sovereignty, 60% of the votes were against.[87] After the referendum, Lévesque went back to Ottawa to start negotiating constitutional changes. On the night of November 4, 1981, the Kitchen Accord took place. Delegations from the other nine provinces and the federal government reached an agreement in the absence of Quebec's delegation, which had left for the night.[88] Because of this, the National Assembly refused to recognize the new Constitution Act, 1982, which patriated the Canadian constitution and made numerous modifications to it.[89] The 1982 amendments apply to Quebec despite Quebec never having consented to it.[90]

    Between 1982 and 1992, the Quebec government's attitude changed to prioritize reforming the federation. The subsequent attempts at constitutional amendments by the Mulroney and Bourassa governments ended in failure with both the Meech Lake Accord of 1987 and the Charlottetown Accord of 1992, resulting in the creation of the Bloc Québécois.[91][92] In 1995, Jacques Parizeau called a referendum on Quebec's independence from Canada. This consultation ended in failure for sovereignists, though the outcome was very close: 50.6% "no" and 49.4% "yes".[93][94] The Unity Rally, a controversial event paid for by sponsors outside Quebec, supporting the "no" side, took place on the eve of the referendum.[95]

    In 1998, following the Supreme Court of Canada's decision on the Reference Re Secession of Quebec, the Parliaments of Canada and Quebec defined the legal frameworks within which their respective governments would act in another referendum. On October 30, 2003, the National Assembly voted unanimously to affirm "that the people of Québec form a nation".[96] On November 27, 2006, the House of Commons passed a symbolic motion declaring "that this House recognize that the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada."[97] In March 2007, the Parti Québécois was pushed back to official opposition in the National Assembly, with the Liberal party leading. During the 2011 Canadian federal elections, Quebec voters rejected the Bloc Québécois in favour of the previously minor New Democratic Party (NDP). As the NDP's logo is orange, this was called the "orange wave".[98] After three subsequent Liberal governments, the Parti Québécois regained power in 2012 and its leader, Pauline Marois, became the first female premier of Quebec.[99] The Liberal Party of Quebec then returned to power in 2014.[100] In 2018, the Coalition Avenir Québec won the provincial general elections. Between 2020 and 2021, Quebec took measures to protect itself against the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Territorial evolution of Quebec
    Canada in the 18th century. 

    Canada in the 18th century.

    The Province of Quebec from 1763 to 1783. 

    The Province of Quebec from 1763 to 1783.

    Lower Canada from 1791 to 1841. (Patriots' War in 1837, Canada East in 1841) 

    Lower Canada from 1791 to 1841. (Patriots' War in 1837, Canada East in 1841)

    Quebec from 1867 to 1927. 

    Quebec from 1867 to 1927.

    Quebec today. Quebec (in blue) has a border dispute with Labrador (in red). 

    Quebec today. Quebec (in blue) has a border dispute with Labrador (in red).

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