separatist movement of quebec canada

Quebec Separatist Movement The Canadian confederation brought promise and opportunity to a newly independent nation, this nation consisted of Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Quebec. As the only province in Canada with a French speaking minority Quebec faced discrimination and anguish. Its individuals often felt forced to assimilate to English culture causing conflict between the English and French communities. Throughout Canadian history it has been difficult for Quebec to attain the treatment it deserved. It is a result of this treatment that Quebec has previously attempted two referendums for separation.

Quebec should not separate from Canada. Quebec, despite being one of the founding provinces wants independence from Canada. Reasoning’s for sovereignty include the preservation of culture and language, not getting unique status, and having an abundance of natural resources to sustain itself economically. However, the Canadian constitution makes it difficult for a province to be a sovereign nation; although if it was possible there would be numerous implications on society, politics, and the world economy; depending on the type of sovereignty used.

As a founding province of Canada Quebec should not want to separate; however, after enduring years of discrimination Quebec is striving for independence. Although a large portion of Quebec’s population wants to separate, not all individuals agree on the type of sovereignty. There are three common types of sovereignty; total independence, sovereignty-association, and federalism. Total independence would entail that Quebec sever all ties with the rest of Canada. Sovereignty-association would involve an independent political system but Quebec would maintain an economic relationship with Canada.

Lastly there is federalism which is not a type of separatist movement but rather a movement for change. Federalist strive for a strong government with supporting provincial governments, each level of government would provide a check on the use and misuse of power by another. In spite of the different kinds of separatists, they all share the same reasoning’s. Since the confederation there has been an increase in hostility between English and French Canadians. Despite the laws the Canadian government put forth, Quebec’s language and culture is not being protected.

In 1912 Ontario banned French language schools jeopardising francophone communities; this ban was not lifted until 1944 at which point the damage had already been done (Fishman and Garcia 32). It was not until 1967 that the Official Language Act was introduced cementing French as the second national language of Canada; “ this ensured equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all federal institutions” (Gov. of Canada Justice laws website).

Quebec’s French culture is a symbol to its people; it reminds the Quebecois of their French heritage and gives light to how the English in Canadian history have continuously oppressed them. Over time Quebec has maintained its French language and unique culture, however aspects of this culture has been changed due to previous attempts at assimilation. Quebec having originally been a French colony; believes its customs are unique to its province and therefore should be subject to special treatment. The idea of separation is drastic, although it is merely a last resort for the people of Quebec.

For years the Quebecois people felt as though they were not getting what they deserved. In the 1960’s Quebec entered the quiet revolution, people were beginning to reject and question their place within Canada. Throughout the next 20 years the quiet revolution became a social upheaval with the birth of the FLQ, and the Partie Quebecois going into power (Canadian History). By 1980 when Quebec held its first referendum its intentions were clear, sovereignty- association. Despite the 1980 referendum being a failure Quebec maintained its objective. When it came time to create the constitution Quebec’s demands were clear; a constitutional veto, the recognition that Quebec is a ‘distinct society’, the right to have Supreme Court Justices appointed from names on lists created by the province, the limitation of federal spending power…, greater provincial control of immigration” (Maton 1) . Quebec continued this pursuit for special treatment at the Charlotte Town accord and Meech Lake accord but neither was successful. In 1995 Quebec held another referendum to separate; failing with no majority. A noteworthy reasoning why Quebec wants to separate from Canada is the abundance of natural resources and hydro energy.

If Quebec were to separate, then they would be able to sustain themselves economically. It would be difficult severing all economic ties with Canada, including the dollar; however with time and the large work force that Quebec has it would not take long for them to create revenue. Maintaining the Canadian currency would be ideal for Quebec although without it, Quebec though it would be difficult is capable of self sufficiency. It is understandable that Quebec has had difficult past within Canada and although the idea of separation may sound pleasing, there is the issue of whether it is even possible.

As part of Canada, Quebec is subject to the constitution despite not signing it; which means Quebec must abide to all the regulations of the constitution in order to separate. Currently the constitution does not allow for Quebec to have the legal right to separate. In order for that to occur there would need to be a change in the constitution which would require an amending formula. This amending formula entails the approval of the Senate, House of Commons, the legislative assemblies, and approval of seven provinces, representing at least 50% of the population of all the provinces (Maton XIII).

In past referendums it is the amending formula which stood in the way of success, both in 1980 and 1995 they failed to attain a majority vote. The Clarity Act passed in 2000 is the document that explicitly states that the only way separate is through changing the constitution using the amending formula. This act also ensures that the voters understand what is written on the ballots, it must be clear and concise (Flanagan 1). Although Quebec is looking for separation as a result of its lack of cultural preservation, Canada has made changes to try and ensure that their French language and heritage is protected.

In terms of the legal system Quebec practices civil law deriving from the French legal system, the only province to practice a different legal system. As well there must be three justices from Quebec appointed for the Supreme Court of Canada to ensure a thorough understanding of the civil law system. In addition to having their own legal system Quebec has been granted bill 101 which officiates that French be the language of Quebec (Hudon 1), ensuring future generation’s continuation of the language.

Canada is made up of various provinces such as Manitoba, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia with their own unique traits however; Quebec seems to be the only province which demands a distinction. If Quebec were to become independent there would be major implications. This separation would not only affect Quebec but also the remainder of Canada. Debts would have to be settled, trade would be re-established and communities would have to pick sides. It is often forgotten that this would not only affect Canada and Quebec but also the rest of the world; this would have implications on the world economy and relations with other nations.

Great conflict could arise between Canada’s provinces and even though the intentions were pure, Quebec’s separation could eventually lead to a civil war. When becoming apart of the constitution Quebec began to receive equalisation payments. Originally the purpose was to “provide reasonably comparable levels of public services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation. ” (Hopper); but in recent years Quebec became rather dependant on it. Equalisation payments for Quebec have taken up about eleven percent of government spending this year (Hopper).

As an independent nation Quebec would potentially loose those equalisation payment and have to be fully self-sufficient, assuming Quebec has total independence. An often unexamined factor is the funds going into Quebec to hold numerous referendums. As part of the Referendum Act, the funds come from the government; they’re taken out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund (City of Quebec). To many this is another waste of tax dollars; Quebec has had two referendums both of which have failed, it is irrational to spend so much money on something such as a referendum with a low probability of success.

The money spent is a significant amount which could be better spent on areas that lack funding. Once again assuming that Quebec was successful in separating there would be many social and political repercussions. Although Quebec may be a French speaking province there are many Anglophone communities within it. In the event of sovereignty many question whether they would be kicked out or given the option to stay if desired. As a result of the laws in Quebec being bound by the constitution once independence was attained it is possible that all those laws be null.

This would create a chaotic society until order could be reached. Quebec is a unique province much like Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia although that does not necessarily signify the only way to preserve that uniqueness is independence. The reasoning’s as to why Quebec wants sovereignty will always be evident regardless of how Canada’s laws change. As long as the constitution has its amending formula Quebec does not have the legal right to separate; however if it did there would be various social political and economic repercussions.

Quebec should not separate. Bibliography Ferry,Steven. Quebec. 2003. Lucient Books, Gale Group Inc, United States of America – was used to understand Quebec’s place in present day Canada Department of Justice Canada, http//laws-lois. justice. go. ca/eng/acts/c-31-8/page 1. ht – was used to gain insight on what the clarity act was as well as further research on the amending formula and its procedures Rose, Jonathan. “Government Advertising in Crisis: The Quebec Referendum Precedent”. Canadian Journal of Communications vol. 8. No. 2 – This source was used to research the previous referendums in 1980 and 1995, understand Quebec’s demands at the time PQ’s election chances rises referendum questions, http//www. cbc. ca/news/canda/quebec votes2012/story/2012/09/03/parti-qubecous-referendum. html – This source was used to gain insight on the Parti Quebecois’s views and plans for the future, these views were bias to the separatist movement DenTandt, Michael, “Welcome to the Quebec Separatism Debate Canada Doesn’t Need”. The Vancover Sun. 04/09/2012.

Post Media News – This source was used to gain insight on those who opposed the separatist movement and learn their views Nelson, Sheila. The Settlement of New France & Arcadia 1524 – 1701, Madison Crest Publishers. Philadelphia – This source was used for information of Quebec’s history when first becoming a part of the colonies in Canada “Department of Justice . ” Government of Canda. Government of Canda, n. d. Web. 10 Jan. 2013. . This was used to find the date the official language act was introduced and what it entails “Economy : QuA©bec Portal. ” Portail QuA©bec. N. p. , n. . Web. 10 Jan. 2013. . I used this source to see if it was possible for Quebec to sustain itself economically Flanagan, Tom. “Clarifying the Clarity Act – The Globe and Mail. ” Home – The Globe and Mail. N. p. , 8 June 2011. Web. 11 Jan. 2013. . I used this source to clarify the Clarity Act, and what it does Heller, Monica. “Linguistic Minorities and Modernity: A Sociolinguistic Ethnography, Second … – Monica Heller – Google Books. ” Google Books. N. p. , n. d. Web. 11 Jan. 2013. . This source was used on information about the banning of french language schools Hopper, Tristan. Time for Quebec to end equalization addiction: Montreal think-tank | News | National Post. ” National Post | Canadian News, Financial News and Opinion. National Post , 29 May 2012. Web. 10 Jan. 2013. . i used this source to learn what equalisation does for quebec, and to get some exact figures Hudon, R. “Bill 101 – The Canadian Encyclopedia. ” The Canadian Encyclopedia. N. p. , n. d. Web. 10 Jan. 2013. . I used this source to get more information on what bill 101 entailed Maton, William. “Constitutional Proposals. ” The Solon Law Archive. N. p. , n. d. Web. 10 Jan. 2013. This website was extended research on the meech lake and Charlotte town accord, and demands put in place bye Quebec Maton, william. “CHAPTER XIII – The Amending Formula. ” The Solon Law Archive. N. p. , n. d. Web. 10 Jan. 2013. . this was used to get further insight onto the amending formula “Referendum Act. ” index. N. p. , n. d. Web. 10 Jan. 2013. . This source taught me what the referendum act is and how it applies to Quebec in, 1976 the PQ had won power. “1980 Referendum. ” Canada History. N. p. , n. d. Web. 10 Jan. 2013. . This website was extended research on the 1980 referendum MLA formatting by BibMe. org.

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