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Geo Notes

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Western University
Geography 2010A/B
Suzanne Greaves

Geo Notes Nov/12 Quebec - QC has the second highest economic output and population size in the country. The St. Lawrence river opened North America to French settlement, exploration, and the fur trade. The lowlands along the shores of the river are the birthplace of the French presence in North America. Since confederation, QCs geography has expanded northward. Nunavik is the homeland of the inuit of northern QC and a semi-autonomous political region within that province. Eeyou Istchee was created in 2007 as a political unit equivalent to a QC regional county municipality and administered by the cree regional authority. It consists of cree lands defined following the James Bay and northern QC agreement. The national holiday of QC is June 24. The St. Lawrence is today an essential part of North Americas transportation system. The Lachine and Welland canals allowed ships to reach the great lakes. After WWII, larger ships were created, but the water was not deep enough and the solution to this was the St. Lawrence seaway. Montreal was no longer a transshipment point as a result (because its harbour is too shallow for ships to dock). The seaway hasnt had much traffic recently due to the global economic slump. - The French language and Quebecois culture have created a strong sense of belonging among its francophone citizens, forming the basis of ethnic pride, loyalty, and nationalism. The descendants of the 10,000 settlers who migrated from France in the 1600s and 1700s have a dual loyalty to both QC and Canada. In 2006, Harper passed a motion that recognized QC as a nation within Canada. A nation is a territory that is politically independent. It is a group of people with similar cultural characteristics and a shared historical experience that make them self-consciously aware of their uniqueness as a group. QCs culture is derived from the historical experience of francophones (those whose mother tongue is French). Many historical events created a desire for QC to become a separate state immigrants from Britain, suppression of rebellions in lower Canada in 1837, the 1885 execution of Riel, the war measures act of 1970, and the patriation of the Canadian constitution in 1982 over the opposition of the QC government. Patriation is the act of bringing legislation, especially a constitution, under the authority of the autonomous country to which it applies. QCs history and geography give QC its vision of Canada as a nation of two founding peoples. Canadas cultural duality has led to tensions between French and English Canadians, but resolution of strain has led to a compromising type of federation. The majority of people living in QC speak French. Quebecers whose mother tongue is French are known as the Quebecois, which is a term that has evolved from referring to French-speaking residents of QC to meaning all residents of QC. The remaining Quebecers include aboriginals, Anglophones (mother tongue is English), and allophones (mother tongue is neither French nor English). Anglophones are concentrated in Montreal, Estrie, and Outaouais (Ottawa Valley). Allophones are concentrated in Montreal. Cree and Inuit are found in northern QC. Quebecers is the English translation of the French word Quebecois. Quebec Inc. was originally a group of powerful companies created in the wake of the quiet revolution. The term now refers to all francophone business people. The French/English business faultline has softened. - Quebecs cultural, demographic, and economic position within Canada remains strong, but its economy and population have lost ground to the rest of Canada. Three key questions about QCs population are: 1. Will the long-term downward trend, which began in 1966 when QCs share of the total Canadian population was 28.9%, continue? 2. If most population gain comes from immigrants, will this put more pressure on the issueof accommodation of minorities? 3. Will the post-2006 higher QC birth rate continue? QCs position within Canada has weakened since confederation because of its declining demographics and because its economy was hurt in 1970s. Businesses moved to ON during the separatism and referendum movement because they feared their businesses would suffer financially if QC became independent. - QCs economy, as measured by its unemployment rate, has done relatively well within the six regions of Canada. QCs manufacturing sector has changed since the last recession. QC used to be the centre of non- durable manufacturing for Canada with textiles and shoes. But during the 1990s, it switched over to durable manufacturing in areas where ON was not as dominant, such as aerospace and pharmaceuticals. These firms have lots of international business. Bombardier is an example of a company with lots of international sales. The liberalization of world trade has had many positive impacts. In 2009, the worldwide trade system hit QCs manufacturing firms hard and those that survived became more efficient. Petroleum refining is the second largest manufacturing enterprise in QC, but the demand for gasoline is decreasing and some refineries have been closed. Cultural development is also increasing, with Montreal as a centre for arts and theatre. Quebec Citys winter carnival is a tourist destination. - Quebecs physical geography: QC is the largest province. There is a mild continental climate in the St. Lawrence Valley and a cold arctic climate in Nunavik (Inuit land north of the 55 parallel). Four of Canadas physiographic regions extend over the provinces territory Hudson Bay lowland, Canadian shield, Appalachian uplands, and great lakes-st. Lawrence lowlands and each has a different resource base and settlement pattern. The Canadian shield covers 90% of QC. The Hudson Bay lowland constitutes 1% of QCs land mass, and the other two regions together form 10%. The heartland of QC is the st. Lawrence lowland. This physiographic region was formed from the Champlain sea 10,000 years ago and it provides the best agric
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