Republic of Quebec (English pronunciation: /kəˈbɛk/ or /kwɨˈbɛk/; French: République du Québec [keˈbɛk]) is a country located in northern North America. It is bordered on the west by the Canada, James Bay and Hudson Bay; Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay to the north; Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick to the east; and United States of America to the south.
Quebec is the eighth most populous country in North America, and the second lowest in density. Most inhabitants live in urban areas near the Saint Lawrence River between Montreal and Quebec City, the capital. English-speaking communities and English-language institutions are concentrated in the west of the island of Montreal but are also significantly present in the Outaouais, the Eastern Townships, and Gaspé regions. The Nord-du-Québec region, occupying the northern half of the province, is sparsely populated and inhabited primarily by Aboriginal peoples.
Quebec, along the Republic of Haiti, are the only two French speaking-countries in North America.
- 1 Etymology and boundary changes
- 2 Geography
- 3 History
- 3.1 First Nations
- 3.2 Early European exploration
- 3.3 The Seven Years' War / Capitulation of New France
- 3.4 The Quebec Act
- 3.5 Quebec during the American Revolutionary War
- 3.6 Patriotes' Rebellion in Lower Canada
- 3.7 Act of Union
- 3.8 Canadian Confederation
- 3.9 Quiet Revolution
- 3.10 Parti Québécois and national unity
- 3.11 Independence
- 3.12 1995 Elections
- 3.13 Quebec Ice Storm of 1998
- 4 Economy
- 5 Public health
- 6 Demographics
- 7 Politics
- 8 Culture
- 9 References
Etymology and boundary changes
The name "Quebec", which comes from the Algonquin word kébec meaning "where the river narrows", originally referred to the area around Quebec City where the Saint Lawrence River narrows to a cliff-lined gap. Early variations in the spelling of the name included Québecq (Levasseur, 1601) and Kébec (Lescarbot 1609). French explorer Samuel de Champlain chose the name Québec in 1608 for the colonial outpost he would use as the administrative seat for the French colony of New France.
The Province of Quebec was founded in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 after the Treaty of Paris formally transferred the French colony of Canada to Britain after the Seven Years' War. The proclamation restricted the province to an area along the banks of the Saint Lawrence River. The Quebec Act of 1774 restored the Great Lakes and the Ohio River Valley regions to the province. The Treaty of Versailles, 1783 ceded territories south of the Great Lakes to the United States. After the Constitutional Act of 1791, the territory was divided between Lower Canada (present day Quebec) and Upper Canada (present day Ontario), with each being granted an elected Legislative Assembly. In 1840, these become Canada East and Canada West after the British Parliament unified Upper and Lower Canada into the Province of Canada. This territory was redivided into the Provinces of Quebec and Ontario at Confederation in 1867. Each became one of the first four provinces.
In 1870, Canada purchased Rupert's Land from the Hudson's Bay Company. Over the next few decades the Parliament of Canada transferred portions of this territory to Quebec that more than tripled the size of the province. In 1898, the Canadian Parliament passed the first Quebec Boundary Extension Act that expanded the provincial boundaries northward to include the lands of the Cree. This was followed by the addition of the District of Ungava through the Quebec Boundaries Extension Act of 1912 that added the northernmost lands of the aboriginal Inuit to create the modern Province of Quebec. In 1927, the border between Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador was established by the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Quebec officially disputes this boundary.
- Main article: Geography of Quebec (OTL)
Located in the eastern part of the Canadian territory and (from a historical and political perspective) part of Central Canada, Quebec occupies a territory nearly three times the size of France or Texas, most of which is very sparsely populated. Quebec's highest point is Mont D'Iberville, located on the border with Newfoundland and Labrador in the northeastern part of the country.
The Saint Lawrence River has one of the world's largest sustaining large inland Atlantic ports at Montreal (the country's largest city), Trois-Rivières, and Quebec City (the capital). Its access to the Atlantic Ocean and the interior of North America made it the base of early French exploration and settlement in the 17th and 18th centuries. Since 1959, the Saint Lawrence Seaway has provided a navigable link between the Atlantic Ocean and Great Lakes. Northeast of Quebec City, the river broadens into the world's largest estuary, the feeding site of numerous species of whales, fish and sea birds. The river empties into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. This marine environment sustains fisheries and smaller ports in the Lower Saint Lawrence (Bas-Saint-Laurent), Lower North Shore (Côte-Nord), and Gaspé (Gaspésie) regions of the country.
The most populous physiographic region is the Saint Lawrence Lowland. It extends northeastward from the southwestern portion of the country along the shores of the Saint Lawrence River to the Quebec City region, and includes Anticosti Island, the Mingan Archipelago, and other small islands in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. Its landscape is low-lying and flat, except for isolated igneous outcrops near Montreal called the Monteregian Hills. Geologically, the lowlands formed as a rift valley about 100 million years ago and are prone to infrequent but significant earthquakes. The most recent layers of sedimentary rock were formed as the seabed of the ancient Champlain Sea at the end of the last ice age about 14,000 years ago. The combination of rich and easily arable soils and Quebec's warmest climate make the valley Quebec's most prolific agricultural area. Mixed forests provide most of neighbouring Canada's maple syrup crop every spring. The rural part of the landscape is divided into narrow rectangular tracts of land that extend from the river and date back to settlement patterns in 17th century New France.
More than 90% of Quebec's territory lies within the Canadian Shield, a rough, rocky terrain sculpted and scraped clean of soil by successive ice ages. It is rich in the forestry, mineral and hydro-electric resources that are a mainstay of the Quebec economy. Primary industries sustain small cities in regions of Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, and Côte-Nord. In the Labrador Peninsula portion of the Shield, the far northern region of Nunavik includes the Ungava Peninsula and consists of Arctic tundra inhabited mostly by the Inuit. Farther south lie subarctic taiga and boreal forest, where spruce, fir, and poplar trees provide raw materials for Quebec's pulp and paper and lumber industries. Although inhabited principally by the Cree, Naskapi, and Innu First Nations, thousands of temporary workers reside at Radisson to service the massive James Bay Hydroelectric Project on the La Grande and Eastmain rivers. The southern portion of the shield extends to the Laurentians, a mountain range just north of Montreal and Quebec City that attracts local and international tourists to ski hills and lakeside resorts.
The mixed forests of the Appalachian Mountains flank the eastern portion of the province, extending from New England into the Eastern Townships, northeastward through the Beauce region, and on to the Gaspé Peninsula, where they disappear into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This region sustains a mix of forestry, industry and tourism based on its natural resources and landscape.
Quebec has three main climate regions. Southern and western Quebec, including most of the major population centres, have a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) with warm, humid summers and long, cold and snowy winters. The main climatic influences are from western and northern Canada which move eastward and from the southern and central United States that move northward. Because of the influence of both storm systems from the core of North America and the Atlantic Ocean, precipitation is abundant throughout the year, with most areas receiving more than 100 centimetres(40 in) of precipitation, including over 300 centimetres (120 in) of snow in many areas. During the summer, severe weather patterns (such as tornadoes and severe thunderstorms) occasionally occur.
Most of central Quebec has a subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc). Winters are long and among the coldest in eastern Canada, while summers are warm but very short due to the higher latitude and the greater influence of Arctic air masses. Precipitation is also somewhat less than farther south, except at some of the higher elevations.
The northern regions of Quebec have an arctic climate (Köppen ET), with very cold winters and short, much cooler summers. The primary influences in this region are the Arctic Ocean currents (such as the Labrador Current) and continental air masses from the High Arctic.
At the time of first European contact and later colonization, Algonquian, Iroquoian and Inuit tribes were the peoples who inhabited what is now Quebec. Their lifestyles and cultures reflected the land on which they lived. Seven Algonquian groups lived nomadic lives based on hunting, gathering and fishing in the rugged terrain of the Canadian Shield: (James Bay Cree, Innu, Algonquins) and Appalachian Mountains (Mi'kmaq, Abenaki). St. Lawrence Iroquoians lived more settled lives, planting squash and maize in the fertile soils of the St. Lawrence Valley. The Inuit continue to fish and hunt whale and seal in the harsh Arctic climate along the coasts of Hudson and Ungava Bay. These people traded fur and food and sometimes warred with each other.
Early European exploration
The first French explorer to reach Quebec was Jacques Cartier, who planted a cross in 1534 at either Gaspé or at Old Fort Bay on the Lower North Shore. He sailed into the St. Lawrence River in 1535 and established an ill-fated colony near present-day Quebec City at the site of Stadacona, a village of the St. Lawrence Iroquoians. Linguists and archeologists have determined these people were distinct from the Iroquoian nations encountered by later French and Europeans, such as the five nations of the Haudenosaunee. Their language was Laurentian, one of the Iroquoian family. By the late 16th century, they had disappeared from the St. Lawrence Valley.
Around 1522 - 1523, the Italian navigator Giovanni da Verrazano convinced King Francis I of France to commission an expedition to find a western route to Cathay (China). Late in 1523, Verrazano set sail in Dieppe, crossing the Atlantic on a small caravel with 53 men. After exploring the coast of the present-day Carolinas early the following year, he headed north along the coast, eventually anchoring in the Narrows of New York Bay. The first European to discover the site of present-day New York, he named it Nouvelle-Angoulême in honour of the king, the former count of Angoulême. Verrazano's voyage convinced the king to seek to establish a colony in the newly discovered land. Verrazano gave the names Francesca and Nova Gallia to that land between New Spain (Mexico) and English Newfoundland.
In 1534, Jacques Cartier planted a cross in the Gaspé Peninsula and claimed the land in the name of King Francis I. It was the first province of New France. However, initial French attempts at settling the region met with failure. French fishing fleets, however, continued to sail to the Atlantic coast and into the St. Lawrence River, making alliances with First Nations that would become important once France began to occupy the land. French merchants soon realized the St. Lawrence region was full of valuable fur-bearing animals, especially the beaver, an important commodity as the European beaver had almost been driven to extinction. Eventually, the French crown decided to colonize the territory to secure and expand its influence in America.
Samuel de Champlain was part of a 1603 expedition from France that traveled into the St. Lawrence River. In 1608, he returned as head of an exploration party and founded Quebec City with the intention of making the area part of the French colonial empire. Champlain's Habitation de Quebec, built as a permanent fur trading outpost, was where he would forge a trading, and ultimately a military alliance, with the Algonquin and Huron nations. Natives traded their furs for many French goods such as metal objects, guns, alcohol, and clothing.
From Quebec, coureurs des bois, voyageurs and Catholic missionaries used river canoes to explore the interior of the North American continent, establishing fur trading forts on the Great Lakes (Étienne Brûlé 1615), Hudson Bay (Radisson and Groseilliers 1659–60), Ohio River and Mississippi River (La Salle 1682), as well as the Prairie River and Missouri River (de la Verendrye 1734–1738).
After 1627, King Louis XIII of France introduced the seigneurial system and forbade settlement in New France by anyone other than Roman Catholics. Sulpician and Jesuit clerics founded missions in Trois-Rivières (Laviolette) and Montreal or Ville-Marie (Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve and Jeanne Mance) to convert New France's Huron and Algonkian allies to Catholicism. The seigneurial system of governing New France also encouraged immigration from the motherland.
New France became a Royal Province in 1663 under King Louis XIV of France with a Sovereign Council that included intendant Jean Talon. This ushered in a golden era of settlement and colonization in New France, including the arrival of les "Filles du Roi". The population grew from about 3,000 to 60,000 people between 1666 and 1760. Colonists built farms on the banks of St. Lawrence River and called themselves "Canadiens" or "Habitants". The colony's total population was limited, however, by a winter climate significantly harsher than that found in France; by the spread of diseases; and by the refusal of the French crown to allow Huguenots, or French Protestants, to settle there. The population of New France lagged far behind that of the Thirteen Colonies to the south, leaving it vulnerable to attack.
The Seven Years' War / Capitulation of New France
In 1753 France began building a series of forts in the contested Ohio Country. They refused to leave after being notified by the British Governor, and in 1754 George Washington launched an attack on the French Fort Duquesne (now Pittsburgh) in the Ohio Valley in an attempt to enforce the British claim to the territory. This frontier battle set the stage for the French and Indian War in North America. By 1756, France and Britain were battling the Seven Years' War worldwide. In 1758, the British mounted an attack on New France by sea and took the French fort at Louisbourg.
On September 13, 1759, General James Wolfe defeated General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham outside Quebec City. With the exception of the small islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, located off the coast of Newfoundland, France ceded its North American possessions to Great Britain through the Treaty of Paris (1763) in favor of the island of Guadeloupe for its then-lucrative sugar cane industry. The British Royal Proclamation of 1763 renamed Canada (part of New France) as the Province of Quebec.
At roughly the same time as the northern parts of New France were being turned over to the British and beginning their evolution towards modern day Quebec and Canada, the southern parts of New France (Louisiana) were signed over to Spain by the Treaty of Fontainebleau of 1762. As a result of double cession of Quebec to the British and Louisiana to the Spanish, the first French colonial empire collapsed, with France being expelled almost entirely from the continental Americas, left only with a rump set of colonies restricted principally to scattered territories and islands in the Caribbean.
The Quebec Act
After the capture of New France the British implemented a plan to control the French and entice them to assimilate into the British way of life. They prevented Catholics from holding public office and forbade the recruitment of priests and brothers, effectively shutting down Quebec's schools and colleges. This first British policy of assimilation (1763–1774) was deemed a failure. Both the demands in the petitions of the Canadiens' élites and the recommendations by Governor Guy Carleton played an important role in convincing London to drop the assimilation scheme, but the looming American revolt was certainly also a factor as the British were fearful that the French-speaking population of Quebec would side with the rebellious Thirteen Colonies to the south, especially if France allied with the Americans as it appeared it would.
In 1774, the British Parliament passed the Quebec Act through which the Quebec people obtained their first Charter of Rights. This paved the way to later official recognition of the French language and French culture. The act also allowed Canadiens to maintain French civil law and sanctioned freedom of religion, allowing the Roman Catholic Church to remain, one of the first cases in history of state-sanctioned freedom of practice. Further, it restored the Ohio Valley to Quebec, reserving the territory for the fur trade.
The Quebec Act, while designed to placate one North American colony, had the opposite effect among the Americans to the south. The act was among the so called "Intolerable Acts" that infuriated the American colonists, leading them to the armed insurrection of the American Revolution.
Quebec during the American Revolutionary War
On June 27, 1775, General George Washington decided to attempt an invasion of Canada by the American Continental Army to wrest Quebec and the St. Lawrence River from the British. A force led by Brigadier General Richard Montgomery headed north from Fort Ticonderoga along Lake Champlain and up the St. Lawrence River valley. Meanwhile, Colonel Benedict Arnold persuaded Washington to have him lead a separate expedition through the Maine wilderness. The two forces joined at Quebec City, but were defeated at the Battle of Quebec in December 1775. Prior to this battle Montgomery (killed in the battle) had met with some early successes but the invasion failed when British re-inforcements came down the St. Lawrence in May 1776 and the Battle of Trois-Rivières turned into a disaster for the Americans. The army withdrew back to Ticonderoga.
Although some help was given to the Americans by the locals, Governor Carleton punished American sympathizers and public support of the American cause came to an end.
The American Revolutionary War was ultimately successful in winning independence for the Thirteen Colonies. In the Treaty of Paris (1783), the British ceded their territory south of the Great Lakes to the newly formed United States of America.
At the end of the war, 50,000 British Loyalists from America came to Canada and settled amongst a population of 90,000 French people. Many of the loyalist refugees settled into the Eastern Townships of Quebec, in the area of Sherbrooke, Drummondville and Lennoxville.
Patriotes' Rebellion in Lower Canada
In 1837 residents of Lower Canada, led by Louis-Joseph Papineau and Robert Nelson, formed an armed resistance group to seek an end to the unilateral control of the British governors. They made a Declaration of Rights with equality for all citizens without discrimination and a Declaration of Independence of Lower-Canada in 1838. Their actions resulted in rebellions in both Lower and Upper Canada. An unprepared British Army had to raise militia force, the rebel forces scored a victory in Saint-Denis but were soon defeated. The British army burned the Church of St-Eustache, killing the rebels who were hiding within it. The bullet and cannonball marks on the walls of the church are still visible to this day.
Act of Union
The final report recommended that the two provinces of Upper and Lower Canada be united, and that the French speaking population of Lower Canada be assimilated into British culture. Durham's second recommendation was the implementation of responsible government across the colonies. Following Durham's Report, the British government merged the two colonial provinces into one Province of Canada in 1840 with the Act of Union.
However, the political union proved contentious. Reformers in both Canada West (formerly Upper Canada) and Canada East (formerly Lower Canada) worked to repeal limitations on the use of the French language in the Legislature. The two colonies remained distinct in administration, election and law.
In 1848, Baldwin and LaFontaine, allies and leaders of the Reformist party were asked by Lord Elgin to form an administration together under the new policy of responsible government. The French language subsequently regained legal status in the Legislature.
In the 1860s, the delegates from the colonies of British North America (Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland) met in a series of conferences to discuss self-governing status for a new confederation.
The first Charlottetown Conference took place in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island followed by the Quebec Conference in Quebec City which led to a delegation going to London, Britain, to put forth a proposal for a national union.
- New Brunswick and Nova Scotia joined Ontario and Quebec in the new Dominion of Canada.
- Prince Edward Island joined in 1873 and the Dominion of Newfoundland entered the Confederation in 1949.
The conservative government of Maurice Duplessis and his Union Nationale dominated Quebec politics from 1944 to 1959 with the support of the Roman Catholic church. Pierre Elliot Trudeau and other liberals formed an intellectual opposition to Duplessis's regime, setting the groundwork for the Quiet Revolution under Jean Lesage's Liberals. The Quiet Revolution was a period of dramatic social and political change that saw the decline of Anglo supremacy in the Quebec economy, the decline of the Roman Catholic Church's influence, the nationalization of hydro-electric companies under Hydro-Québec and the emergence of a pro-sovereignty movement under former Liberal minister René Lévesque.
Front de libération du Québec
Beginning in 1963, a terrorist group that became known as the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) launched a decade of bombings, robberies and attacks directed primarily at English institutions, resulting in at least five deaths. In 1970, their activities culminated in events referred to as the October Crisis when James Cross, the British trade commissioner to Canada, was kidnapped along with Pierre Laporte, a provincial minister and Vice-Premier. Laporte was strangled with his own rosary beads a few days later. In their published Manifesto, the terrorists stated: "In the coming year Bourassa will have to face reality; 100,000 revolutionary workers, armed and organized."
At the request of Premier Robert Bourassa, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act. In addition, the Quebec Ombudsman Louis Marceau was instructed to hear complaints of detainees and the Quebec government agreed to pay damages to any person unjustly arrested (only in Quebec). On February 3, 1971, John Turner, the Minister of Justice of Canada, reported that 497 persons had been arrested throughout Canada under the War Measures Act, of whom 435 had been released. The other 62 were charged, of which 32 were crimes of such seriousness that a Quebec Superior Court judge refused them bail. The crisis ended a few weeks after the death of Pierre Laporte at the hands of his captors. The fallout of the crisis marked the zenith and twilight of the FLQ which lost membership and public support.
Parti Québécois and national unity
In 1977, the newly elected Parti Québécois government of René Lévesque introduced the Charter of the French Language. Often known as Bill 101, it defined French as the only official language of Quebec in areas of provincial jurisdiction.
Lévesque and his party had run in the 1970 and 1973 Quebec elections under a platform of separating Quebec from the rest of Canada. The party failed to win control of Quebec's National Assembly both times — though its share of the vote increased from 23% to 30% — and Lévesque was defeated both times in the riding he contested. In the 1976 election, he softened his message by promising a referendum (plebiscite) on sovereignty-association rather than outright separation, by which Quebec would have independence in most government functions but share some other ones, such as a common currency, with Canada. On November 15, 1976, Lévesque and the Parti Québécois won control of the provincial government for the first time. The question of sovereignty-association was placed before the voters in the 1980 Quebec referendum. During the campaign, Pierre Trudeau promised that a vote for the "no" side was a vote for reforming Canada. Trudeau advocated the patriation of Canada's Constitution from the United Kingdom. The existing constitutional document, the British North America Act, could only be amended by the United Kingdom Parliament upon a request by the Canadian parliament.
Sixty percent of the Quebec electorate voted against the proposition. Polls showed that the overwhelming majority of English and immigrant Quebecers voted against, and that French Quebecers were almost equally divided, with older voters less in favour and younger voters more in favour. After his loss in the referendum, Lévesque went back to Ottawa to start negotiating a new constitution with Trudeau, his minister of Justice Jean Chrétien and the nine other provincial premiers. Lévesque insisted Quebec be able to veto any future constitutional amendments. The negotiations quickly reached a stand-still.
Then on the night of November 4, 1981 (widely known in Quebec as La nuit des longs couteaux and in the rest of Canada as the "Kitchen Accord") Federal Justice Minister Jean Chrétien met with all of the provincial premiers except René Lévesque to sign the document that would eventually become the new Canadian constitution. The next morning, they presented the "fait accompli" to Lévesque. Lévesque refused to sign the document and returned to Quebec. In 1982, Trudeau had the new constitution approved by the British Parliament, with Quebec's signature still missing (a situation that persists to this day). The Supreme Court of Canada confirmed Trudeau's assertion that every province's approval is not required to amend the constitution. Quebec is the only province not to have assented to the patriation of the Canadian constitution in 1982.
In subsequent years, two attempts were made to gain Quebec's approval of the constitution. The first was the Meech Lake Accord of 1987, which was finally abandoned in 1990 when the province of Manitoba did not pass it within the established deadline. (Newfoundland premier Clyde Wells had expressed his opposition to the accord, but, with the failure in Manitoba, the vote for or against Meech never took place in his province.) This led to the formation of the sovereignist Bloc Québécois party in Ottawa under the leadership of Lucien Bouchard, who had resigned from the federal cabinet. The second attempt, the Charlottetown Accord of 1992, was rejected by 56.7% of all Canadians and 57% of Quebecers. This result caused a split in the Quebec Liberal Party that led to the formation of the new Action démocratique (Democratic Action) party led by Mario Dumont and Jean Allaire.
- Main Article: Quebecois independence referendum, 1995
On October 31, 1995 at 1am, Radio Canada was the first to announce the victory for the yes side with 50.01% of the votes. 49.99% voted no. Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau made his victory speech and promised "independence within the year 1995". On November 1, 1995, the National Assembly convened and passed the Sovereignty Bill. However, negotiations over issues such as public services, borders, MPs, finances, politics continued between Quebec and Canada. The larger Canadian state tried to stop Quebec from seceding by stalling the negotiations, but in the end it could do nothing. Finally, on November 24, 1995, the MPs for Quebec left the House of Commons for the last time.
The next day, Quebec became an independent nation and promptly left the Commonwealth. Quebec was only ever partially recognized by the international community - France led the pro-recognition camp, while the United Kingdom led the anti-recognition contingent. In response, Canada cuts its relations with France and the United Kingdom refers the now out-of-control crisis to the UN Security Council for resolution, which was deadlocked and ended up doing nothing.
Canada promptly proceeded to get reject French as a second language and of the Prime Minister Jean Chretien, not before ensuring that no federal civil servants - regardless of location or affiliation - made claims for citizenship of the new state. The government then immediately began federal debt negotiations with Quebec in which the mutual debt is reneged on and it will never pay its share to Canada or will pick a low number that its populace can handle. Since international law stipulates that the pre-existing state is responsible for the debt, Quebec had a negotiation advantage on that issue.
As soon as Quebec became an independent nation, Jacques Parizeau formed a Constitutional Council to write a constitution, that was presented to the National Assembly in early December and approved. As per the constitution (and the wishes of Parizeau), a snap election for the Assembly and the Presidency was held. Parizeau and the Parti Quebecois won a large victory over Daniel Johnson's Liberals, and increased its seats in the National Assembly.
As Prime minister, Parizeau's first task was to tie diplomatic links with foreign country and buy Quebec treasury bonds and state funded enterprises shares with the reserve he created before. Then he proceeded to write a constitution. The constitution had laid the framework for an independent republic, but needed to decide, along with Canada, the outcome of federally-owned infrastructures. Canadian forces in Quebec were evacuated within early 1996 and Canada and Quebec signed a Partnership Agreement on March 30, 1996. Parizeau saluted the willingness of the Canadian government, led by Prime Minister David Michael Collenette to work with Quebec. In early 1997, Quebec joined NAFTA and the Organization of American States (OAS). However, problems developed over the failure of the Quebec government to create a stable economy and cost Parizeau much support. By 1999, as the second parliamental election was around the corner, Parizeau announced to the general surprise that he would not seek another term as Prime minister.
In June, 1996 Jean Chretien resigned as Prime Minister, following a successful Liberal leadership challenge. The party then elected an Albertan to lead it into the next federal election. In 1997, the government invited newly-elected French President Jacques Chirac to come to Quebec. The visit was the biggest event the country had seen in more than a decade, with Chirac being greeted like a celebrity everywhere he went. As a way of "thumbing its nose" at Canada, as Chirac put it himself, the government staged a re-enactment of Charles de Gaulle's notorious "Vive le Quebec libre!" speech on its 40th anniversary, with Chirac taking de Gaulle's place.
Quebec Ice Storm of 1998
- See Also: North American ice storm of 1998
On January 4, 1998, an upper level low system stalled over the Great Lakes, pumping warm and moist air from the Gulf of Mexico toward the upper St. Lawrence Valley. The upper flow then turned eastward, bringing this air mass down toward the Bay of Fundy. At the same time, a high pressure centre was sitting farther north in Labrador, keeping an easterly flow of very cold air near the surface. For the winter, an unusually strong Bermuda high pressure area was anchored over the Atlantic Ocean, which prevented these systems from moving further to the east, as most winter storms do when they pass over the Great Lakes–St Lawrence region.
A series of surface low pressure systems passed in this atmospheric circulation between January 5 and January 10, 1998. For more than 80 hours, steady freezing rain and drizzle fell over an area of several thousand sq mi of an extensive area in southern Quebec, including the cities of Montreal and Quebec City.
The bridges and tunnels linking Montreal with the South Shore were closed because of concerns about weight tolerances or ice chunks falling from the superstructures. All but one power linkage to the island of Montreal were down for several days, disabling both of the city's water pumping stations. When power was restored, parts of Montreal remained impassable due to large chunks of ice falling from rooftops and endangering pedestrians and motorists; large portions of Old Montreal and the downtown core were cordoned off by police, due to the dangers of large sheets of ice falling from buildings.
The area south of Montreal (Montérégie) was so affected that the triangle formed by Saint-Hyacinthe, Granby and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu was nicknamed the triangle noir ("dark or black triangle") by the French-language media, and the Triangle of Darkness in English media, for the total lack of electricity for weeks, many Quebecois ended up in hospital because of this natural disaster
The ice storms caused great financial strain on both government and private operations, nearly bankrupting the entire economy of the country. The country when into a large recession, provoking the General Assembly to pass a bailout package in relief towards those affected by the ice storm. The bailout package was titled, Quebec FInancial Storm Relief Package, and was approved on February 12, 1998. Most initial recovery was acomplished within the first three months following the bailout relief package, however, the country would not be up to economic standards and GDP levels for another two years. During this time, many considered returning to the Confedaration and subsequently re-uniting with Canada. Large groups, often involving up to 10,000 participants, would protest against the spending of the nation's tax dollars on the economy of Quebec instead of reuniting with Canada for the economic relief. Eventually, the protest dimmed out within five months into the economic relief package. The recession was offically declared over by the General Assembly on March 10, 2000.
- See also: Economy of Quebec
Quebec hosts many innovative companies and business goals since its independence. Since 1995, Quebec has offered many business opportunities to minor and leading corporations within its borders, becoming one of the most economically inventive countries. It is currently the 40th largest economy, in terms of GDP(PPP), and the 37th largest economy in terms of nominal GDP. With a growth rate of 8% per year, Quebec is also one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Recent growth has been led by exports to Canada, especially Ontario, which is losing export capabilities due to the borders of Quebec.
A large source of the huge investments made in the late 1990s was due to the Ice Storm of 1998, which caused the government of Quebec to pass a massive economic bailout and reinvestment bill, to ensure that the nation would remain as a whole, and not be persuaded into considerations of rejoining Canada. Most companies within Quebec are located in the city of Montreal, the so-called "financial hub of Quebec". There is a significant concentration of high-tech industries around Montreal, including aerospace companies such as aircraft manufacturer Bombardier, the jet engine company Pratt & Whitney, the flight simulator builder CAE, defence contractor Lockheed Martin, Canada and communications company Bell Quebec. In the video game industry, large video game companies such as Electronic Arts and Ubisoft have studios in Montreal.
The St. Lawrence River Valley is a fertile agricultural region, producing dairy products, fruit, vegetables, foie gras, maple syrup (of which Quebec is the world's largest producer), fish, and livestock. North of the St. Lawrence River Valley, the territory of Quebec has significant resources in its coniferous forests, lakes, and rivers—pulp and paper, lumber, and hydroelectricity (of which Quebec is also the world's largest producer through Hydro-Québec) are still some of the province's most important industries. Hydro-Québec is the largest company in Quebec, with a market capitalization of $34.6 billion, and supplying power to Canada and the parts of the northern states of the U.S..
The nations first and only stock exchange is currently the Montreal Exchange, founded in 1872, and integrated as a Quebec business on January 16, 1996. It's revenue of 2008 was posted as P1.78 billion ($1.3 billion). In November 1996, a year after the separation of Quebec, the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) began to suffer from the lack of business within the country that was previously been located in Canadian Quebec. Whereas, Quebec was showing moderate growth in its financial sector, Canada began to lose over 10% of its average yearly gains in the GDP, and over 15% in the markets. In 1999, the Montreal Exchange offer to merge with the Toronto Stock Exchange for the ask price of $50 million, in order to better invest and restructure the Canadian economy. The Toronto Stock Exchange promptly refused the offer, and sent a letter requesting that no offers be made in the future. However, in 2002, the Vancouver Stock Exchange considered an offer similar to the one given by the Montreal Exchange in 1999, yet negotiations ceased in October 2007. The Montreal Exchange has a 41.6% stake in the Boston Option Exchange (BOX), percentage that has since risen to over 76% (as of July 2009).
The healthcare system in Quebec as ranked first worldwide by the World Health Organization in 1999. Care is generally free for people affected by chronic diseases (Affections de longues durées) such as canceror AIDS. Average life expectancy at birth is 81.03 years.
At 1.89 children per woman, Quebec's 2008 fertility rate is above the nieghbouring country Canada-wide rate of 1.45, and has increased for seven consecutive years. However, it is still below the replacement fertility rate of 2.1. This contrasts with its fertility rates before 1960, which were among the highest of any industrialized society. Although Quebec is home to only 1.46% of the population of North America, the number of international adoptions in Quebec is higher than that of Canada. Since 1995, the population of Quebec has remained basically at the same rate of increase, despite the border changes. After the Ice Storm of 1998, many quebecers considered leaving the country and return to Canada, because of the recent tax increases of the time, yet a reenergized economy and a substantial increase in jobs lead to many of the population to stay, further supporting the rising economy and increasing the workforce.
Population of Quebec since 1851
Quebec is a Parlimentary Republic based off European Politics with strong democratic traditions. The constitution of the Fifth Republic was approved by referendum on 28 September 1958. It greatly strengthened the authority of the executive in relation to parliament. The executive branch itself has two leaders: the President of the Republic, currently Nicolas Sarkozy, who is head of state and is elected directly by universal adult suffrage for a five-year term (formerly seven years), and the Government, led by the president-appointed Prime Minister, currently François Fillon.
The French parliament is a bicameral legislature comprising a National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale) and a Senate. The National Assembly deputies represent local constituencies and are directly elected for fuve-year terms. The Assembly has the power to dismiss the cabinet, and thus the majority in the Assembly determines the choice of government. Senators are chosen by an electoral college for six-year terms (originally nine-year terms), and one-half of the seats are submitted to election every three years starting in September 2008.
The Senate's legislative powers are limited. In the event of disagreement between the two chambers, the National Assembly has the final say, except for constitutional laws and lois organiques (laws that are directly provided for by the constitution) in some cases. The government has a strong influence in shaping the agenda of Parliament.
French politics are characterised by two politically opposed groupings: one left-wing, centred around the French Socialist Party, and the other right-wing, centered previously around the Rassemblement pour la République (RPR) and now its successor the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP). The executive branch is currently composed mostly of the UMP.
Parliament is located in Quebec City and is comprised of the Upper House (Senate) and Lower House (House of Commons), the Government is - as mentioned - divided between Metropolitan France and The Republic of Quebec.
the government of Quebec is a parliamental Republic with the prime minister as head of government and the State Chairman (usually referred to as Chancellor) as head of state
The culture of Quebec emerged over the last few hundred years, resulting from the shared history of the French-speaking majority in Quebec. It is unique to the Western World; Quebec is the only region in North America with a French-speaking majority. For historical and linguistic reasons, Francophone Quebec also has cultural links with other North American French-speaking communities, particularly with the Acadians of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Franco-Ontarian communities in Eastern Ontario, and to a lesser extent with the French Canadian communities of Northern Ontario and Western Canada and the Cajun French revival movements in Louisiana, United States. As of 2006, 79% of all Quebecers have French as their mother tongue or speak mostly French at home; since French is the official language in the province, up to 95% of all residents know and use French in their daily activities.
History made Quebec a meeting place for cultures, where people from around the world experience America, but from a little distance and through a different eye.Template:Fact The Culture of Quebec is connected to the strong cultural currents of the rest of Canada, the United States, France, and the United Kingdom all at the same time. As such, it is often described as a crossroads between Europe and America. The Encyclopedia Britannica describes contemporary Quebec Culture as a post-1960s phenomenon resulting from the Quiet Revolution, an essentially homogeneous Socially Liberal counter-culture phenomenon supported and financed by both of Quebec's major political parties, who differ essentially not in a right-vs-left continuum but a Federalist-VS-Sovereignist/Separatist Continuum.
- Afable, Patricia O. and Madison S. Beeler (1996). "Place Names". In "Languages", ed. Ives Goddard. Vol. 17 of Handbook of North American Indians, ed. William C. Sturtevant. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, p. 191.
- Gardini, Fausto. "The Demise of the Luxemburger Gazette". Archived from the original on 2006-02-08. Retrieved on 2006-07-23.
- From Treaty of Paris, 1763: "His Most Christian Majesty cedes and guaranties to his said Britannic Majesty, in full right, Canada, with all its dependencies, as well as the island of Cape Breton, and all the other islands and coasts in the gulf and river of St. Lawrence, and in general, every thing that depends on the said countries, lands, islands, and coasts, with the sovereignty, property, possession, and all rights acquired by treaty, or otherwise, which the Most Christian King and the Crown of France have had till now over the said countries, lands, islands, places, coasts, and their inhabitants".
- Library of the Parliament of Canada, Parl.gc.ca
- Gardini, Fausto. "The Demise of the Luxemburger Gazette". Archived from the original on 2006-02-08. Retrieved on 2006-07-23.
- Gardini, Fausto. "The Demise of the Luxemburger Gazette". Archived from the original on 2006-02-08. Retrieved on 2006-07-23.
- Basques, The Canadian Encyclopedia
- Estimated population of Canada, 1605 to present.
- Declaration of Independence of Lower Canada. Retrieved on 2010-02-21.
- Front de libération du Québec from the Canadian Encyclopedia.
- Le Protecteur du citoyen
- Susan Munroe, October Crisis Timeline, Canada Online. Retrieved January 21, 2008.
- CBC News, Icestorm 10th anniversary, January 2008
- The Console Wars: Montreal and the Revolution | Xbox 360, Playstation 3 PS3, Revolution.
- Template:Cite news
- Template:Cite news
- Gardini, Fausto. "The Demise of the Luxemburger Gazette". Archived from the original on 2006-02-08. Retrieved on 2006-07-23., photius.com
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