Lecture 23 December 3,
Quebec a distinct story?
- How distinct?
- Quebec was hostile territory for the labour movement. Unions had a tough time making
progress in French Quebec.
- Catholic unions (ran a lot of social programs, health and education system. Did a lot of
the purchasing, contracting etc.)
• Very much different
• Unions organized by the catholic church and controlled by them
• Effort by the church to make themselves powerful and relevant in the workplace
• Made things much more difficult for unions to get established
• Not independent, controlled by the church
- Duplessis and union nationale
• Duplessis is a politician who was an openly authoritarian figure
• Duplessis passed a law called the Padlock Law
• Allowed a padlock law to be placed on any establishment that was seen to be
• Asbestos strike; biggest source of asbestos. Huge strike in front of the mine, and
does not succeed. Got quite violent.
• Catholic unions started to bring in people who wanted change because of the
- “the Great Darkness” = 1950s
• Quebec remains under the thumb of Duplessis and union nationale
• While the rest of North America is making leaps forward, Quebec doesn’t change
• Duplessis advertises Quebec to big employers, labour is cheap and the government
is in control
- The Quiet Revolution – 1960’s
• Liberals are elected under Jean Lesage
• Jean Lesage launches the quiet revolution • It doesn’t happen from the bottom up, it is government lead and is an attempt to
modernize Quebec and take education and health care out of the hands of the
catholic church and into the hands of other people
• Education is taken out of the hands of the catholic church
• Modernism and Liberalism = Trudeau
• Trudeau said that Quebec had to prove it was up to the task of modernizing and
• Vs. Nationalism and Leftism
• Up until this point, nationalism was right-wing and dominated by the Catholic Church.
It was a conservative, religious society.
• Nationalists say that French Canada has been getting screwed all this time, they
have been getting paid bad wages, etc.
• Leftism and socialism eventually makes its way into Quebec
• Becomes secular and a radical society
• Catholic unions didn’t call themselves catholic anymore
• Catholics grow 400 % in the 60’s and become radical
Quebec: a distinct story
- Late 1960’s Radicalism
- Radical socialist and union organizations emerging
• Front for the Liberation of Quebec (trying to create liberalism through violence,