It’s hard to believe that it has been more than half a century since the Quiet Revolution in Quebec. It began in 1960 when Jean Lesage and the Liberals came to power. It quickly became a rather noisy and scary revolution as bombs went off in mailboxes, announcing groups who would stop at nothing to achieve their goal of taking Quebec out of Canada.
The violence peaked in 1970 with the murder of Pierre Laporte. Since then, the future of the province has been determined at the ballot box. The election of Pauline Marois as Quebec’s first woman premier marks the first time in a decade that voters have given power to a party whose main goal is the breakup of our country.
Her vision includes greater restrictions on the use of English, especially by new immigrants. Because of the strong showing by the outgoing Liberals led by Jean Charest, and the latest in a series of third parties, the PQ has virtually no mandate to implement any of its most controversial programs. Nor does it have the necessary strength to stage another referendum on sovereignty in the near future.
So, the rest of Canada including us out here on the prairies, breathes a sigh and carries on. It is not so much a sigh of relief any more.
Back in the days of Lesage and the Quiet Revolution, before Pierre Trudeau came to power in Ottawa, the question asked most often was What Does Quebec Want ? Clearly what Quebecers want in 2012 is much the same as all Canadians want in uncertain economic times.
They want a government dedicated to helping to create jobs, and to providing good health care and social programs.
Are many of them proud and glad to be Canadian? Heaven knows they should be, but it looks like we’ll have to wait at least four more years, and possibly a lot longer to get the answer to questions like that.
I’m Roger Currie
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