Chapter 5.docx

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Political Science
Jennifer Levine

Chapter 5: French Canada and the Quebec question The French-english demographic profile in Canada today  It is difficult to use statistics on ethnic origin because so many Canadians are now an ethnic mixture and because an increasing number prefer to call themselves “Canadian”  It is more reliable to use figures for mother tongue, even though this is a measure of linguistics rather than ethnicity Theoretical considerations Identities and Quebec nationalism  After the quiet revolution of 1960s, the people of Quebec suddenly changed their values  Suddenly, francophone Quebeckers aggressively wanted control over all aspects of quebec life, including the economy and language policy, and began to call themselves “quebecois”  They just basically wanted more autonomy from Ottawa  Related to such identities and central to the question of French-English relations and the position of Quebec in Canada is the phenomenon of Quebec nationalism  This feeling of primary loyalty to Quebec emanates from the widely held notion that it is home to a distinctive French-Canadian nation, centred on language, ethnicity, culture, history, and territory  Dominated by the authoritarian premier Maurice duplessis from 1935-1960, the population was taught that only he could protect them from evil external influences such as Ottawa. Duplessis governed with three main allies: o The church; which he empowered to oversee social policy o The farmers; who were overrepresented in the legislature o And American capital; which was encouraged to enter the province and create jobs for those who were no longer needed on the farm 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 The first-the territorial principles- would recognize Quebec as the homeland of French Canada and give that province powers and recourses to protect and promote its linguistic and cultural distinctiveness. Quebec would be granted some kind of special status, distinct from other provinces, and essentially be “French”, while the rest of Canada would primarily be “English” o The second option-the personality principle- would treat Quebec as “une province comme les autres”, recognize the existence of French Canada across the contry, and promote bilingualism at the federal level and in other provinces and territories Historical overview of French-English Relations Pre-confederation developments  Of course after the british defeated the French on the Plains of Abraham, the French elite retreated back to france, leaving th ebritish to take control of the economy  Colony was thereafter divided into two, lower Canada (Quebec), and upper Canada (Ontario)  This separation was recognized i the constitutional act of 1791 Ethnic/linguistic conflicts, 1867-1960  The Riel Rebellions: o The first riel rebellion precipitated the creation of the province of Manitoba in 1870, as the French-catholic metis Louis riel led the fight for provincial status o Riel kept a fairly low profile afterwards, but in 1885 he came back, in what is now Saskatchewan, to lead the second riel rebellion on behalf of western aboriginals who had been treated shamefully by the government o After that whole rebellion was quelled, basically what happened was that Prime Minister John A. Macdonald had the tough decision to make of letting riel hang, or letting him free. o The reason why it was such a tough decision was because while English protestants regarded riel as a murderer, traitor and madman, the French catholics believed he was a patriot and a saint o In the end, John A. Macdonald decided to go with what the will of the majority was, and riel was hung o As a result, not only was the close attachment of the people of Quebec to Macdonald’s conservative party was permanently damaged. Moe over, mercier argued that the riel affair had demonstrated the lack of French-canadian influence in Ottawa, leading him to demand greater autonomy for the province of Quebec French schools i Ontario: regulation 17  This linguistic conflict concerned minority French-language education rights in Ontario  In 1913 the whitney government issues regulation 17, which virtually abolished the use of French in the Ontario school system.  Whitney claimed that he was doing franco-ontarian citizens a favour by forcing them to learn English in an English-speaking province, but those affected enounced the regulation and challenged it in court  The 1917 mackell case confirmed however, that constitutional protection in educational matters applied only to religious minorities, not linguistic ones The conscription crisis  The regulation 17 incident in Ontario had its greatest implications in quebec during the conscription crises of the first world war  The government eventually had to resort to conscription because not enough volunteers were coming through  Conscription was enacted in 1917  And from this stemmed a riot in quebec city which the
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