Feb 3 – Québec & Language Politics 02/03/2014
70% of Québec francophones think of themselves as Quebecers only or Quebecers first
Anglophones identify more with Canada
Quebec has distinctive history, culture and language
On the French Telejournal, 42% of the news was about Québec
Having a referendum is a modern way of having a political battle
2. Constitutional Landmarks
Royal Proclamation (1763): Confirmed that the British conquest brought Québec under the British. The
French give up their rights to the British. In 1759, French dominance in Canada was overcome.
Quebec Act (1774): The first constitutional document passed by a legislature (British parliament). Extended
boundaries of Québec west and south past where it is now (Ontario and Louisiana). Catholics become free
to worship and can be appointed to the Legislative Council (Senate). Sanctioned the French civil law.
Constitutional Act (1791): Separated upper Canada and lower Canada. Elected representative body
emerged, but executive still had most power. Enhanced French Canada's survival because it affirmed their
civil law and their government.
Union Act (1840): Occurs as a result of rebellions in Upper and lower Canada; reaction by the British. Want
to try to assimilate the French and institute Britishstyle responsible government (didn’t happen yet, came
later). Eliminated Upper and Lower Canada to become Canada East & West. There would be one governor
each and an elected assembly (42 reps from east and west). English was official language of parliament
but French was spoken freely.
Confederation (1867): French is made officially a language of parliament and courts. Québec is given its
own Gov. and power over things like education, culture, municipalities. Federal system emerged because of
Constitution Act (1982): Québec was excluded from its formation (imposed on them, not consented to),
although it covers Québec. “Undermines Canada's biculturalism, duality and our distinctness” – Québec.
1.Québec’s distinctness : Charter of rights and freedoms creates universal umbrella over Canada and
creates individual emphasis (overshadows Québec’s collectivity and distinctness). Charter has been used
against language laws in Québec. Objects to the idea of the unity of Canada as a whole.
2. Equality – French feel that all cultures should not be technically equal in Canada and French should
have more weight
3. Equality of all Provinces – Different than other provinces and should be weighed equally.
Succession Reference (1998): Reference case of the Gov. getting an opinion from the court about Québec
succession. Asked: 1. Is the unilateral succession of Québec le