POLS 1400 Chapter Notes - Chapter 5 & 7: Indian Act, Jean Charest, Backtracking

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Chapter 5: French Canada and the Quebec Question
The French-English Demographic Profile Today
According to the 2011 census, the number of people in Canada as a whole having
English as their mother tongue was 18,055,685 or 57.8% of the population, while those
with French as their mother tongue numbered 7,172,560 or 21.7%
o Because of the high immigration levels of those having other linguistic
backgrounds, the number of Canadians with another mother tongue rose to
6,811,095 or 20.6%
· The Quebec population is made up of
o Over six million francophones 78.9%
o 65,000 anglophones 8.3%
o Over one million allophones 12.8%
Different Conceptions of French Canada
· The fact that most, but not all, francophones live in Quebec has given rise to two basic models
with which to address the question of how to deal with the distinctiveness of French Canada
o First the territorial principle would recognize Quebec as the homeland of
French Canada and give that province powers and resources to protect and
promote its linguistic and cultural distinctiveness
§ Quebec would be granted some kind of special status, distinct from other
poies ad essetiall e Feh, hile the est of Caada ould
piail e Eglish
o Second the personality principle ould teat Quee as ue poie oe
les autes, eogize the eistece of French Canada across the country, and
promote bilingualism at the federal level and in the other provinces and
· Historically, most francophones in Quebec have wanted protection or autonomy from the
federal government, but until 1960 they did not demand much else from the province
o This all changed in the 1960s with the Quiet Revolution in Quebec and a
wholesale reversal of values
o During this period, a majority of francophone Quebecers aggressively sought
more control over all aspects of Quebec life including the economy and
language policy ad ega to all theseles Queeois
o They increasingly saw themselves as a majority in Quebec rather than a minority
within Canada, as they had in the past
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o The desire of most Quebec francophones for an activist provincial government led
them to demand more autonomy from Ottawa than ever before: in many
aspects of social and economic policy, they wanted to do things their own way
o While most francophones in Quebec sought more provincial autonomy, a small
proportion identified with a French Canada that extended across the country
o Energized by the Quebecois, francophone minorities in the other provinces
developed more positive identities over the past 50 years, sometimes associating
themselves with their brethren in Quebec, but often linking themselves to each
other, as non-Quebecois French Canadians
§ Their demands were mainly in the realm of language and culture,
education and the provision of provincial services in French
Historical Overview of French-English Relations
Pre-Confederation Developments
· As Britain gained dominance over the French colonies in North America, it did not always treat
its new subjects very well
· The most severe example was probably the expulsion of the Acadians in the mid-1750s
o In order to thwart what it perceived as a military threat, the British military
forcibly removed thousands of French-speaking Acadians from their homes in
the present-day Maritime provinces and deported them to Europe and to other
English colonies in North America
· After the British defeated the French on the Plains of Abraham in 1759, the conquerors took
control of the government and economy of Quebec and at first assumed that the population
ould soo eoe Eglish
o Except for the clergy and the seigneurs, the French elite retreated to France, but
the people continued to speak French and attend the Roman Catholic Church,
which became a highly influential and autonomous organization
o It would have probably have been impossible to transform Quebec into an Anglo-
Protestant colony at least without a great deal of coercion and immigration
and the British soon exhibited a policy of tolerance and accommodation
· By the time of the Quebec Act of 1774, the British recognized the inevitable and guaranteed the
French their religious rights and their own system of civil law
· This sepaatio as eogized i the Costitutioal At of . As Eglish iigats
moved into what is now Ontario in the 1780s, especially the United Empire Loyalists from the
new United States, it become logical to divide the colony into two:
o Lower Canada (Quebec) would be essentially French-Catholic
o Upper Canada (Ontario) would be Anglo-Protestant
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· Difficulties between the popularly elected assembly and the appointed executive and legislative
councils became increasingly serious after 1800, culminating in armed revolts in both colonies
in 1837
· The battle for more popular control in Lower Canada was complicated by the ethnic factor, as
French Canadians were predominant in the assembly alone
o Lord Durham felt that the ethnic problem could only be solved by another
attempt to assimilate the French
o He recommended that the two colonies be reunited into the colony of Canada, in
which English would be the official language and the Anglophone population of
the rapidly expanding western portion (Ontario) would soon outnumber the
· This final attempt at assimilation, incorporated in the Act of Union, was to no avail
o In recognition of its failure, the French language was increasingly used along with
English in the government, cabinets were usually alliances between English and
French leaders and the legislature operated on the informal principle of the
double majority legislation had to have the approval of a majority of
representatives from both sections of the colony
· Given this historical evolution, the logic of Confederation and the cultural guarantees of section
133 of the Constitution Act, 1867 are perfectly understandable
o Both French and English could be used in all aspects of the new federal Parliament
and laws were passed in both languages
o Both languages could also be used in whatever federal courts were later
o The francophone minorities in Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were
inarticulate and ignored even though the Acadian minority in New Brunswick
constituted 16% of the provincial population
o The Montreal-centred Anglophone minority in Quebec, at 20%, was well
organized and in control of the economy of the province
o This fact ensured that English could be used along with French in the legislature
and courts of Quebec
o None of these constitutional provisions was particularly controversial in 1867, and
protection of the Protestant school system in Quebec and the Roman Catholic
system in Ontario attracted greater interest
o With religious rights seen in educational terms and language rights applying only
to legislatures and courts, no constitutional rights were granted to minority-
language schools
· Official bilingualism in the Constitution Act, 1867
o Federal parliament, proceedings and laws
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