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Quebec's Evolution in this century

by Jacques Lamarche
St-André Avellin, Québec

Born and bred in Montreal, I became a Canadian adult who has spent the last 25 years in a fascinating little village in the Ottawa valley.

A. Canadians

As a young Montealer, I thought there were three different types of people: 1-Immigrants (Italians, Greeks, Portuguese), 2-English (English-speaking Quebecers, Jews and Blacks included); 3-Then, we were the Canadians. We didn’t worry about people living in other provinces.

B. French Canadians

Half-way through this century, we became French-Canadians and we considered the other people living in Quebec as English-Canadians. Outside Quebec lived the Canadians (without hyphens) including Francos (French-speaking Canadians outside Quebec and Acadia) and Acadiens.

C. Quebecers in Canada

After Black Tuesday (Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Quebec, 1964), and the first bombs of the FLQ (1969) we were ALL people of Quebec (Jews, immigrants, English-speaking Canadians). Outside, Canadians, Francos and Acadians as they wish! With the James Bay hydro-electric power development (1973) and the Oka Crisis (1991), Quebecers realized the existence of the “1701 savages” then called Indians. Therefore, there were three types of people with patrimonial rights in North America: Native People, Canadians, and Quebecers.

D. Native People, Canadians, Quebecers

Charles De Gaulle, Réné Lévesque, Jacques Parizeau and Lucien Bouchard arrived and so did the 1995 Referendum. The Native Peoples (Algonquins, Montagnais and Mohawks) living in Quebec or in Canada fought for the recognition of their fair rights in a modern North America. Running toward Quebec from everywhere, Canadians were astonished by the possibility of a divorce: Alliance-Quebec, Jewish associations, Howard Galganov, Haitians, Jamaicans, sons of immigrants became suddenly more Quebecers than Canadians living in Quebec. We are still Quebecers wishing (and fighting/dreaming) to renegotiate the Confederation Act of 1867 so that Quebec and Canada will become sovereign partners in North America, well aware of the rights of Native People.

Peaceweb presents the three sides of the question: federalist, sovereignist, and First Nations.