/kwi bek", ki-/, n.
1. a province in E Canada. 6,141,491; 594,860 sq. mi. (1,540,685 sq. km).
2. a seaport in and the capital of this province, on the St. Lawrence: capital of New France from 1663 to 1759, when it was taken by the English; wartime conferences 1943, 1944. 177,082.
3. a word used in communications to represent the letter Q. French, Québec /kay bek"/ (for 1, 2).

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Province (pop., 2001: 7,410,500), eastern Canada.

It is bounded on the north by Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay, on the east by Labrador, on the southeast by the Gulf of St. Lawrence and New Brunswick, on the south by the U.S. (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York), and on the west by Ontario and by Hudson Bay. Its capital is Quebec city. The original inhabitants were Inuit (see Eskimo) and members of Algonquin, Cree, and other Indian tribes. Settled by the French in the early 17th century, the area was lost to the British in the French and Indian War, but the struggle for authority between the French and British groups led to a rebellion by French Canadians in 1837. The rebellion was quelled and in 1867 Quebec (formerly Canada East) united with New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to form the Dominion of Canada. Most of the population of Quebec is of French descent. Various movements calling for Quebec's independence from the rest of Canada continued throughout the 20th century; the Parti Québécois won provincial elections in 1976, but its independence referendum was defeated in 1980. A second independence referendum was defeated in 1995 by a close margin. Principal industries include mining, hydroelectric power, and forestry.
or Quebec City

City (pop., 2001: metro. area, 682,757), port and capital of Quebec province, Canada.

It lies at the confluence of the St. Lawrence and St. Charles rivers, about 150 mi (240 km) northeast of Montreal, on a rocky promontory above the rivers. Canada's oldest city, it was settled by the French in 1608 as a trading post. It was the capital of New France from 1663 to 1763, when it was lost to the British. It was the capital of Lower Canada 1791–1841 and Canada East 1841–67. It became the provincial capital in 1867. Most of the population is French speaking and Roman Catholic. It is the site of Laval University and other colleges and cultural institutions. Manufactures include newsprint, milled grain, cigarettes, and clothing. Shipbuilding and tourism are important industries.
(as used in expressions)
Quebec City
Quebec Battle of

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French  Québec  
 city and port, seat of Québec region and capital of Quebec province, Canada. It lies at the confluence of the St. Lawrence (Saint Lawrence River and Seaway) and Saint-Charles rivers, about 150 miles (240 km) northeast of Montreal.

      The first European to visit the area was Jacques Cartier (Cartier, Jacques), a French explorer, who in 1535 found on the site the Huron Indian village of Stadacona. In 1608 Samuel de Champlain (Champlain, Samuel de) installed the first permanent base in Canada at Quebec, which grew as a fur-trading settlement. In 1629 Quebec was captured by the British, who held it until 1632, when the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye restored Quebec to France. The colony was then able to develop rapidly.

 In 1690 the fleet of Sir William Phipps, governor of Massachusetts, attempted to take Quebec but was beaten back with troops led by its governor, the comte de Frontenac (Frontenac, Louis de Buade, comte de Palluau et de). In 1711 a second attempt to take the city also failed when a British armada crashed on the reefs of the St. Lawrence before reaching Quebec. The city fell to the British in 1759 and was ceded to Great Britain by the Treaty of Paris (Paris, Treaty of) in 1763. During the American Revolution, the Americans, under Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold (Arnold, Benedict), failed in an attempt to capture the city.

 In 1791 Quebec was designated as the provincial capital of Lower Canada, which later became the province of Quebec. It was incorporated in 1832 and was given its actual charter in 1840. In 1864 Quebec was the seat of the conference of British North American colonies to plan the confederation of Canada. During World War II U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Roosevelt, Franklin D.) and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Churchill, Sir Winston) twice met in Quebec to plan the invasion of Europe. The city observed its 400th anniversary in 2008 with a number of commemorations and special events.

 Although Quebec is a major port of Canada, the largest employers in the city are in the service and administrative sectors. The leading manufactures include newsprint, beverages, and garments; shipbuilding and tourism are also important. A major tourist destination is the historic city centre, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985; the area consists of the Lower Town along the river banks and, behind it on a high bluff, the Upper Town, which is dominated by the picturesque Château Frontenac hotel.

      The majority of the residents of Quebec are Roman Catholic and French speaking. The city has a dual school system—one for Roman Catholics and one for Protestants; instruction is in French and English, respectively.

      Quebec is home to Laval University (1852) and its affiliated teaching institutions and to the headquarters campus of the University of Quebec (1968). Other cultural institutions include the concert hall, the Grand Théâtre, and numerous museums and libraries throughout the city.

 The principal historical buildings are religious in nature, many dating from the 17th century. On the Place Royale stands the modest Church of Notre-Dame des Victoires (1688). Other significant buildings include the Ursuline monastery, the seminary, the Anglican cathedral (the first such in Canada), the Catholic basilica (where many of the bishops of Quebec are buried), and the provincial Parliament Building.

      Sports are popular in Quebec, especially hockey, baseball, Canadian gridiron football, golf, and skiing in the many centres in the Laurentian Mountains only a few miles from the city. The Mont Sainte-Anne centre has been the scene of World Cup skiing tournaments. Among the principal local events are the winter carnival held in late January to mid-February and the summer festival of early to mid-July. Pop. (2006) city, 491,142; metro. area, 715,515.

French  Québec 
Quebec, flag of   eastern province of Canada. Constituting nearly one-sixth of Canada's total land area, Quebec is the largest of Canada's 10 provinces in size and is second only to Ontario in population. Its capital, Quebec city, is the oldest city in Canada. The name Quebec, first bestowed on the city in 1608 and derived from an Algonquian word meaning “where the river narrows,” beckons visitors to the city's splendid view of the majestic St. Lawrence River (Saint Lawrence River and Seaway) and the pastoral Orleans Island. The province's major metropolis, Montreal (Montréal), encompassing Montreal Island, Jesus Island to the north, and several communities on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, is the second largest city in Canada. Quebec is bounded to the north by Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay, to the east by the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, to the southeast by the Gulf of St. Lawrence (Saint Lawrence, Gulf of), New Brunswick, and the U.S. state of Maine, to the south by the U.S. states of New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York, and to the west by Ontario, James Bay, and Hudson Bay.

      The boundaries of Quebec were altered many times following the establishment of New France in the early 17th century, when the French colonial empire in North America spread all the way to the Gulf of Mexico and west of the Mississippi River. At that time James Bay, Hudson Bay, and the Ungava region belonged to the British Hudson's Bay Company. In 1898 Quebec's boundary was extended north to the Eastmain River and east to Labrador. The district of Ungava was added less than two decades later. Quebec's present-day boundaries were determined in 1927, when the British Privy Council granted Labrador to Newfoundland (now the province of Newfoundland and Labrador). Today the province of Quebec's French-speaking political leaders continue to dispute this decision but honour the 1927 boundary.

      To understand the concerns and ambitions of the present-day citizens of Quebec, one must appreciate the long and sometimes turbulent history of the province's Francophone (French-speaking) community since the British acquisition of New France in 1763 and its struggle for survival and recognition as one of Canada's founding peoples within a predominantly Anglophone (English-speaking) Canadian federation. This has been especially notable since the ‘‘Quiet Revolution " of the 1960s, when Quebec's Francophone community came to perceive itself as a Québécois majority, and its leaders built a modern secular state to enhance their social, cultural, demographic, political, and economic power. This new reality has altered in numerous ways Francophone-Anglophone relations within the province and throughout Canada. Quebec's Francophone political and intellectual classes, supported by some English-speaking Canadians from the country's other provinces and territories, are pushing for a further decentralization of the Canadian federal system. Even the names chosen to refer to the language communities in Quebec are loaded with political implications. (See Researchers note: Québécois or Quebecers?) For purposes of convenience in this article, Francophone residents of Quebec are generally referred to as Québécois, while all residents of the province are called Quebecers. English-speaking residents of Quebec are identified as Anglophones if they have British ancestry or as Allophones if they are non-French or non-British immigrants. Area 595,391 square miles (1,542,056 square km). Pop. (2006) 7,546,131.


Relief, drainage, and soils
 Quebec's territory comprises extensions of three of Canada's main physiographic regions: the St. Lawrence Lowlands, the Appalachian Uplands, and the Canadian Shield (also called the Laurentian Shield). Each region is a storehouse of unique natural and human resources, which accounts for their different settlement and development patterns over the past centuries.

 The most fertile and densely populated region of the province, stretching from Quebec city to Montreal along both sides of the St. Lawrence River, is the St. Lawrence Lowlands. The lowland plain was initially home to various aboriginal communities and then was settled quickly by Europeans during the early history of New France. The lowland plain remains the heart of Quebec's small but vibrant agricultural sector, as well as the core of its expanding urban communities and changing industrial economy.

 Stretching from the Gaspé Peninsula to the border of the United States, Quebec's Appalachian Uplands region is the northern extension of the Appalachian Mountains. It is covered with forested hills, arable plateaus, and high plains, undulating and rising to the higher mountain ranges of the United States. This region also includes Anticosti Island, situated in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence northwest of the Gaspé Peninsula.

      The Canadian Shield covers more than four-fifths of Quebec, comprising the entire region north of the St. Lawrence Lowlands. It is the resource-rich hinterland of the province. Mount d'Iberville, situated in the northeastern Torngat Mountains, reaches 5,420 feet (1,652 metres) and is the province's highest peak. Beginning in the foothills of the Laurentians (Laurentian Mountains) (Les Laurentides), the oldest mountain range in the world, it runs northward to the Ungava region. The Canadian Shield is composed of three main subdivisions: the Laurentians, covered with thousands of lakes and trees; the taiga, a region of stunted trees farther north; and the tundra, in which a continuously frozen ground, or permafrost, allows no trees to grow and where summer enlivens only reindeer moss and a few dwarf birches.

 The landscape of Quebec is laced with thousands of lakes and rivers, which amount to a freshwater area of some 71,000 square miles (184,000 square km). The St. Lawrence River (Saint Lawrence River and Seaway), which cuts across southern Quebec from west to east, is one of North America's most vital waterways. Among its most important tributaries are the Ottawa (Ottawa River), the Saguenay (Saguenay River), the Saint-Maurice (Saint-Maurice River), and the Manicouagan (Manicouagan River) rivers. Both the lowlands and the uplands are drained by the Richelieu (Richelieu River), Yamaska, Chaudiere, and Matapedia rivers, which also flow into the St. Lawrence.

      Quebec's climate is often characterized by extremes of hot and cold, and sometimes weather can be very severe. It is affected by major continental air masses sweeping down from the northwest. These air masses encounter the cold Labrador Current, which creates cool summers in the northeastern regions. Humid hot air moving upward from the Gulf of Mexico produces heat waves during the summer months and accounts for the abundant snowfall in the winter.

      In Kuujjuaq, on Ungava Bay, average temperatures range from −11 °F (−24 °C) in January to 52 °F (11 °C) in July. In the south, in Sherbrooke, temperatures vary from a January average of 14 °F (−10 °C) to a July average of 68 °F (20 °C). The temperature can change as much as 30 °F (17 °C) in less than 24 hours. Snow remains on the ground for an average of 12 to 13 weeks on the Montreal plain and for up to 23 weeks north of the St. Lawrence. A similar variation exists regarding days without frost: Montreal averages 140 frost-free days annually, while the far north averages fewer than 80 days without frost. In the Montreal region the climate is less severe and less extreme. Sunshine and precipitation are both abundant, contributing to the region's lush green vegetation.

Plant and animal life
      Climate has long been a major factor in determining plant and animal life in Quebec. The vegetation zone gradually moved northward after the Wisconsin Glacial Stage. North of the 56th parallel the treeless Arctic tundra is covered by lichen, mosses, and peat bogs and is home to polar bears, foxes, and Arctic hares. Southward, between the 56th and 52nd parallels, is the taiga, featuring outcroppings of fir, spruce, and shrubs in sheltered areas and roaming herds of caribou. South of the 52nd parallel is a boreal forest of spruce, fir, and pine. In the St. Lawrence and Ottawa river valleys are temperate forests of maple, ash, beech, and oak. These forests, and the rivers and lakes in and around them, abound in animal life, including moose, deer, coyotes, hundreds of bird species, and more than 100 freshwater fish species. The increasingly polluted St. Lawrence estuary is home to a variety of sea mammals, including the white beluga. Quebec is in the flight path of thousands of Canada geese and snow geese that venture from the warmer southern climates to the northern tundra region in the spring.


Population composition
      Of the total population of Quebec, nearly half are descendants of the 10,000 original French settlers. Québécois constitute more than four-fifths of Canada's total Francophone population. About one-tenth of Quebecers are Anglophones of British descent. Another tenth of the population is of neither French nor British descent and includes aboriginal peoples (Indian [First Nations] and Inuit), eastern Europeans, Portuguese, Greeks, Haitians, and Asians (notably from Southeast Asia). In 1974 French was made the official language of Quebec, and this was reaffirmed and strengthened in Bill 101, the Charter of the French Language, in 1977.

      The aboriginal peoples that were Quebec's first inhabitants are usually classified into three main linguistic groups: the Algonquian (Algonquian languages), the Inuit (Eskimo-Aleut (Eskimo-Aleut languages)), and the Iroquoian. Indian and Inuit (the Arctic people of Canada known as Eskimo in the United States) affairs in Canada are under federal jurisdiction, but, with the transfer of certain responsibilities to the province, it falls to the Quebec government to provide services for the Inuit population.

      Another distinctive characteristic of Quebec is its religious homogeneity. An overwhelming majority of the population still claims to be Roman Catholic, while only a small proportion belongs to Protestant denominations. During the period of New France (1534–1763), Roman Catholicism was the official religion, and French Protestants were prevented from settling in the colony. After 1760 freedom of religious practice was authorized by the British government. In the early 19th century the French Canadian Catholic church gained recognition from the British authorities, and its leaders were permitted to increase the number of religious orders by the 1880s. The church built, funded, and administered all of the educational, social, and health institutions required by Quebec's Roman Catholic population. During the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s and early '50s, a large number of Irish Catholics migrated to Canada, some of whom settled in Quebec. With the coming of other nationality groups before World I and after World War II—notably Italians, Germans, Poles, Portuguese, Filipinos, and Haitians—the proportion of Roman Catholics increased. As a result of the arrival of Jews in the early 20th century and after World War II and the influx of Asians and Africans since the 1970s, all of the world's principal religious denominations are represented in Quebec. Not until the 1960s was the Catholic Church's influence over the governance of the province substantially reduced. There is considerable historical debate as to whether that influence was positive or negative. Formal separation of church and state occurred in 1998 with the replacement of the dual Catholic and Protestant school systems with French- and English-language school systems. This step confirmed that religion is no longer a dominant social or political force in Quebec.

Settlement patterns
      French, and later British, settlers built communities in the St. Lawrence Lowlands, accessible areas of the Appalachian Uplands, and the far southern parts of the Laurentians. More than four-fifths of Quebec's population now lives within an area about 200 miles (300 km) long and roughly 60 miles (100 km) wide, stretching from Quebec city to Montreal. This corridor has one of the highest concentrations of population in Canada. About four-fifths of all Quebecers live in towns, a very small number are classified as rural farmers, and the balance of the population is scattered in small settlements focused on forestry, fishing, mining, and other types of activity. The historical movement of the population in Quebec has been from large numbers of scattered, diversified settlements to an increasing concentration in a few urban areas. The shortage of fertile land suitable for cultivation prevented the development of a truly agricultural economy.

      The rural settlements were created under a variation of the French seigneurial system of landlords and tenants, under which the latter, who came to be called habitants, had considerable autonomy because land was plentiful and because they could supplement their livelihood with work in the fur trade or in the burgeoning forestry industry after 1800. These dispersed rural settlements, which existed during and after the period of French control, were limited to the banks of the St. Lawrence, forming a continuous line between the urban centres of Montreal and Quebec city. Outside of Quebec city, Trois-Rivières, and Montreal, the land was divided into long, narrow individual strips. Habitant families built houses at the end of each of these strips, on the side of a road, which eventually created nascent villages, thereby forming a type of ribbon settlement pattern. As each river road became fully settled, a parallel road was opened farther inland, a process that was repeated until the whole of the St. Lawrence Lowlands was occupied. As a result, rural Quebec had no formal villages until the late 18th century, and most rural parishes, controlled by the Catholic Church, were created during the 19th century. This system of colonization, in which houses were located equidistantly along a road, allowed for maximum settlement density but was responsible, along with the seigneurial system, for delaying the introduction of commercial agricultural activities even when the regional and international markets developed. The demise of the seigneurial system in the 1850s and the advent of railroads in the 1870s and '80s brought about an agricultural revolution based on feed grains and hay that sustained dairy farming and the raising of livestock.

      The Appalachian region was first inhabited by Abenaki people. The southeastern corner of the province that includes the towns of Granby, Sherbrooke, and Magog is known as the Eastern Townships, which were originally settled by loyalists seeking asylum during the American Revolution in what remained British territory. Settlement of the Eastern Townships was by freehold tenure, and this attracted considerable numbers of British settlers following the end of the War of 1812. Throughout the latter half of the 19th century, a great many American and British settlers sold out to French Canadian habitants, who received encouragement and financial support from French Canadian Catholic colonization societies.

      The very rapid urbanization of the province prior to World War II relied heavily on British and European immigration. The migration of French Canadian families to Montreal and other Quebec cities did not entail the breakdown of a traditional peasant society, since no such society existed for the large majority of rural Quebecers. The rural Catholic French Canadian communities, comprised largely of habitants and day labourers, experienced serious out-migration beginning in the 1940s and accelerating dramatically over the next three decades. Although relatively isolated, self-subsistent rural and fishing settlements existed on the north shore of the St. Lawrence and in mining and foresting settlements in the Laurentians and throughout northwestern Quebec. These communities did not constitute—as was claimed by the Chicago school of sociologists of the 1930s (see Robert E. Park (Park, Robert E.))—a distinctive “folk” society that overly influenced the cultural orientation of the mainstream rural French Canadian Catholic society. These vibrant agroforestry communities continued to expand as long as the mining and forestry industries thrived, which was the case in most regions well into the 20th century.

 Because of the present distribution of the population, Quebec can be thought of as divided between metropolitan Montreal—which includes the city of Laval on Jesus Island to the north and several communities on the south shore—with more than two-fifths of the population, and the remainder of the province. Although there are other fairly substantial urban communities, including Quebec city, Chicoutimi (Saguenay)- Jonquière, Trois-Rivières, and the Ottawa (Ont.)- Gatineau conurbation, the divide between Montreal and the rest of Quebec remains the most significant demographic division. The dichotomy is most evident when outlying regions of the province are compared with Montreal. The Gaspé Peninsula is the poorest and least urbanized region in Quebec; nearly one-fifth of its population earns its living through agriculture, fishing, forestry, and tourism (in the summer months), while the unemployment rate remains consistently higher than of that of Montreal or of several other regions of Quebec.

Demographic trends
      The size of Quebec's and Canada's Francophone populations is somewhat surprising given that France actively discouraged immigration during the colonial period and that most French Protestants fled to other parts of Europe rather than the New World. The growth of the Francophone population in Canada is largely due to the high birth rate among all French Canadian and Acadian Catholics from the 1700s to the mid-20th century. Between 1700 and 1760 the average yearly rate of birth was around 55–60 per 1,000 inhabitants, while the death rate was relatively low for the time (25–40 per 1,000). After 1763 this extremely rapid natural growth of the population continued, climbing from 70,000 in 1763 to 1,000,000 in 1860 to 4,000,000 by 1961—all of this despite the out-migration of 1,000,000 French Canadians to the New England states between 1840 and 1930.

      In the 1921 census more than 50 percent of Quebec's population was classified as urban, but it was not until the 1941 census that a majority of the French Canadian community was designated as urban. The birth rate declined to about 38 per 1,000 while the death rate hovered around 20 per 1,000. From then on, both figures declined steadily, especially the death rate. Beginning in the late 1960s, the introduction of the birth control pill drastically affected the birth rate. Now the birth rate in Quebec is among the lowest in the country. The infant mortality rate is among the lowest in the world.

      Other types of demographic changes have also been taking place. The large majority of Anglophones and members of ethnic-cultural minorities, called Allophones, reside in the central and western sections of Montreal Island. Québécois nationalists have expressed concerns that, as increasing numbers of well-off, middle-class Francophone Montrealers move to the suburban communities in Laval, the West Island, and the South Shore, the old city of Montreal will become, as it was in the mid-19th century, an English-speaking city. The provincial government responded in 2002 by merging all the municipalities on the island into the new megacity of Montreal so as to preserve its status as the largest French-speaking city in North America. This action proved unpopular, however, and in 2006 many of the majority English-speaking municipalities regained their independent status.

      From its origins in the early 17th century until the mid-19th century, Quebec's economy was based on French and then British mercantilism. The economy of New France relied on a heavily subsidized fur trade and the military establishment. Agriculture remained undeveloped, as there was no market in France for Quebec's products. When the British took over in 1760, the production of cereal grains in Old Quebec rose but then declined rapidly after 1805 for economic, cultural, and political reasons. British merchants, who had displaced French Canadian fur trade merchants by the 1820s, used the profits from commercial capitalism—comprising wheat and timber exports and luxury imports—as well as British taxes to make the St. Lawrence system navigable and to establish much-needed financial institutions. Aided by steamships that plied the North Atlantic, the St. Lawrence and its tributaries, and the Great Lakes, Montreal became a major North American transshipment port for vast amounts of products entering and leaving British North America and much of the Midwestern United States.

      When the British abandoned mercantilism in the 1840s, the way was open for British Canadian and then American businessmen to exploit Quebec's natural resources and to foster industrial capital. Owing to the transportation revolution brought on by steamships and then railways, the Montreal region developed a manufacturing sector based on producing small- to medium-scale domestic necessities, including hardware, clothing, textiles, boots and shoes, and wood products. As in the Maritime and Ontario regions, output and employment in manufacturing continued to expand until the 1950s.

      With the advent of the international movement toward freer trade following World War II, Quebec's economy has been characterized by a transformation of the natural resource sector through technological innovation, by the ongoing demise of its labour-intensive, low-wage manufacturing sector, by the emergence of its pharmaceutical and aeronautics industries, and by the rapid expansion of the transportation, communication, service, and knowledge industries.

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing
      The concentration of population in the southern part of Quebec developed in response to the fine level soils of the lowlands and the undulating moraine-covered plateaus of the Appalachian region. The lowlands are used largely for producing feed grains and for the lucrative dairy industry. The Eastern Townships region is another dairying centre, although only about half the land there is arable. Maple sugar and maple syrup provide additional income. Tobacco, until recently, was grown on the sandy soils of the Joliette area, north of Montreal, vegetables were grown in the area of muck soil south of Montreal, and apples were produced on the slopes of the Monteregian Hills. The Gaspé Peninsula and the Canadian Shield region provide only limited opportunities for agriculture because the soil is poor and the growing season is too short.

      Forestry is one of Quebec's key economic resources. Forests with economic potential cover about half of the province, and more than half of that forested land is exploited. Only about one-seventh of the timberlands are privately owned; the remaining Crown lands are managed by the government, which conducts an active reforestation program. Linked to this large renewable resource is the province's pulp and paper industry, which has encountered difficulties due to a global drop in demand for paper and paper products.

      The fur trade has played a part in the economy of Quebec since the beginning of the French regime and is still important today in the Ungava region, which is populated by the Inuit. Mink easily ranks first in production, and other commercially viable species include beaver, fox, lynx, otter, and chinchilla.

      Maritime fisheries are important in the Gaspé Peninsula, on the north shore, and in the Magdalen Islands. The Quebec Department of Industry and Commerce operates a network of cold-storage plants. Principal species include cod, herring, redfish, lobster, and salmon, but the annual catch is small compared with those of the four Atlantic Provinces in Canada.

Resources and power
 The future of Quebec's economic development was for a long time linked to the exploitation of resources in the Canadian Shield. The first region of the shield to be exploited for minerals was the Rouyn-Noranda, rich in copper, zinc, gold, and silver deposits. Continued demand for copper, driven by the expansive electrical industry, resulted in the opening of mines in the Gaspé region. For a time, asbestos from communities in the Eastern Townships supplied nearly two-thirds of the world's needs. Between 1910 and 1970, mineral production increased 100 times in gross dollar value (not accounting for inflation). This rather spectacular development was due to the discovery of some of the world's largest iron ore (iron processing) deposits in the Ungava region in 1895. Two new towns, Schefferville and Gagnon, were created in the north as a result, and a large port at Sept-Îles was developed. With the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway (Saint Lawrence River and Seaway) in 1959, the bulk of the iron ore was shipped to steel mills in the United States, but this resource is now all but depleted. Other important minerals extracted in the province include titanium, columbian, tellurium, clay, limestone, granite, mica, and sand and gravel. In the 1980s and early '90s a steady decline in the demand and prices for minerals made times difficult for mining communities throughout Quebec. The always volatile mining industry has recovered somewhat since the late 1990s but not sufficiently to raise employment significantly. Rural communities dependent upon natural resource exploitation continue to experience out-migration and high levels of unemployment.

 One of Quebec's most important natural resources is water, which is harnessed for hydroelectric power. Until the 1960s only a few large private corporations controlled virtually all of the hydroelectric facilities in the province except those supplying power to Montreal Island, which were nationalized in 1944. After 1963 all hydroelectric companies were nationalized. Hydro-Québec soon became the country's largest electric utility and produces nearly three-fourths of the province's electricity. In the early 1960s Hydro-Québec entered into a long-term contract with the province of Newfoundland (now Newfoundland and Labrador) to develop the Upper Churchill Falls site in Labrador. In the 1970s and '80s, following an agreement with the Cree community, Hydro-Québec began developing the massive James Bay Hydroelectric project, which when completed will inundate hundreds of millions of acres in the region. Hydro-Québec exports its surplus electricity at a significant profit to cities in the northeastern United States. Besides its many hydroelectric plants, Hydro-Québec operates a number of thermal and nuclear plants. In 1967 the Research Institute in Electricity, the first organization of its kind in the world, was created near Montreal.

      Quebec contributes about one-fourth of Canada's total manufacturing output. As with many other regions in North America, Quebec's industrial economy experienced significant structural changes in the last half of the 20th century and at the beginning of the 21st. Declining tariffs, increased global competition, and the lack of capital to modernize outmoded and inefficient industries have contributed to a process of deindustrialization. In the early 1960s manufacturing employed about one-third of Quebec's workforce and accounted for about one-third of the gross domestic product (GDP). By the mid-2000s the sector employed less than one-fifth of the total workforce and generated about one-fifth of GDP. The leading components of the province's manufacturing sector are food production, paper and paper products, transportation equipment, primary metals, chemical and pharmaceutical products, and refined petroleum and coal products. The industrial core of the province is in Greater Montreal, where an increase in the number of computer-related companies is transforming the manufacturing sector.

Services, labour, and taxation
      Quebec finances its governmental programs and administration with revenues from two sources. The province collects a range of direct and indirect taxes, and it also receives grants from the national government to assist it in improving public sector services. In the mid-2000s the unemployment rate for Quebec was slightly higher than that for Canada as a whole. About three-fifths of women are economically active, compared with nearly three-fourths of men. Roughly two-fifths of all workers belong to unions; more than four-fifths of public sector workers are unionized, while about one-fourth of those in the private sector are.

Transportation and telecommunications
      Quebec is fully integrated in the general transportation system of Canada and of North America. By virtue of the St. Lawrence Seaway, which allows ships to travel more than 2,300 miles (3,700 km) from the North Atlantic to the ports of the Great Lakes, Montreal is both a major inland port and an important ocean port. It has long stood at the heart of the water and railway transportation systems that controlled access in and out of Canada and the American Midwest. The shipping and steamship lines and the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National railways all were at one time headquartered in Montreal. The completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway, the building of the Trans-Canada highway, which is connected to the interstate freeway system in the United States, and the arrival of air travel challenged Montreal's dominance over transportation. With the advent of container cargo ships, all well-equipped ports in Canada and the United States now compete with Montreal for shipping business.

      The railway system of Quebec is practically restricted to the St. Lawrence Plain, with a few branchlines of the two major Canadian companies. Privately owned railways transport iron ore from northern Quebec.

      The transportation system is largely oriented on the basis of the geographic position of Montreal, which serves as the major crossroads for moving persons and goods in and out of Quebec, whether by road, water, or air. Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Dorval serves passenger travel, while the Mirabel airport is dedicated to cargo. Quebec city's airport also accommodates international passengers.

Government and society

Constitutional framework
  Quebec's administrative system can be defined as government through parliamentary democracy, now referred to as a constitutional democracy since the Constitution Act (1982) made the Constitution the supreme law of Canada. A unicameral legislature, the National Assembly, is the equivalent of the legislative institutions of other Canadian provinces; its appointed upper chamber was abolished in 1968. A lieutenant governor, appointed by the Canadian prime minister in consultation with the provincial premier, represents the British monarch. The Executive Council, or cabinet, is chosen and headed by the premier, who is responsible to the National Assembly for all legislation within provincial jurisdiction. The administration follows the parliamentary principle that a premier and his cabinet will remain in power as long as the premier is able to command a majority in the legislature.

      In 1961 the Quebec government established a Department of Intergovernmental Affairs to formulate and administer intergovernmental policies and programs, both domestically and internationally. Quebec has some offices abroad, including in the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America. With the consent and support of the Canadian government, the Quebec government plays an important role in several emerging international French-speaking cultural and technical institutions. It also has representation in Canadian delegations that participate in international organizations.

      An unusual characteristic of Quebec is its administration of justice. Although its Department of Justice, as in other Canadian provinces, has a dual responsibility for criminal and civil laws, the civil law of Quebec is based on an amended, modernized version of France's civil code, rather than British common law, which is followed by the rest of Canada. The provincial government appoints justices of the peace and judges to the lower courts, municipal courts, juvenile courts, courts of session, and provincial courts. The Court of Appeal is Quebec's highest court, followed by the Superior Court. By constitutional convention, three of the nine judges of the Supreme Court of Canada are from Quebec. Like Ontario, Quebec operates its own provincial police, La Sûreté Provinciale du Québec, rather than relying on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada's national force.

      Under the Municipal Code and the Towns and Cities Act, the government of Quebec controls some 1,400 municipalities, the great majority of which have fewer than 5,000 residents. Many of these small units form part of larger regional county municipalities, which provide major services.

      Political life in Quebec has for some time been dominated by French-speaking Canadians. From 1936 to 1976 the parliamentary government was in the hands of either the National Union (Union Nationale) or the Quebec Liberal Party (Liberal Party of Canada), both controlled by politicians of French descent. In 1976 a secessionist party, Parti Québécois, won control. Since then it has continued to vie for provincial leadership and to battle against Anglophone Quebecers and federal power. In 1990 the Bloc Québécois, a party favouring independence and having informal ties to the Parti Québécois, was formed to contest federal elections in the province. For a time in the 1990s the Bloc Québécois comprised the official opposition in the federal House of Commons. Many Quebec politicians have played an influential role in federal politics, particularly in the late 20th century; three long-serving prime ministers—Pierre Trudeau (Trudeau, Pierre Elliott) (1968–79; 1980–84), Brian Mulroney (Mulroney, Brian) (1984–93), and Jean Chrétien (Chrétien, Jean) (1993–2003)—hailed from Quebec.

Health and welfare
      A public system of health and welfare was created in Canada following World War II. In 1940 the Liberal government of Quebec agreed to a national unemployment insurance program, funded by workers and employers and administered by Ottawa. A system of family allowances, the first universal social program, was introduced, funded, and administered by the Canadian government in 1946. This was followed by a pension program in 1951, a national hospital insurance program in 1957, and a provincial universal health insurance plan, which Quebec joined in 1971. Social assistance is available for the indigent, the elderly, dependent children, and others in need. Although sharing with the rest of Canada one of the world's highest standards of living, Quebec continues to have a larger proportion of unemployed and persons on social security than the Canadian average. The cost of social aid is one of the highest among provincial governments in Canada. This situation is explained by the fact that age, health, level of education and training, and similar factors place a higher percentage of the population below the requirements of a modern industrialized society. While Quebec's economy grew at the same rate as Ontario's economy between 1870 and 1960, it had and continues to have an older, slightly less well-educated workforce and an industrial sector that relies more on cheap labour than on capital intensive technology.

      The creation of the modern social welfare state caused considerable tension between Ottawa and the provinces, and Quebec's traditional Francophone political and intellectual elites opposed the principle of a social service state, especially one designed and controlled by the Anglophone majority in Ottawa. A new generation of Francophone middle-class politicians and intellectuals in the 1950s, however, advocated and eventually put in place a social service state in Quebec. An expanded and modernized Quebec gained control over Ottawa's grants for postsecondary education and most social service and health programs. It established its own parallel pension plan in 1964, which it administers and uses to fund state programs in virtually every sector of the economy.

      Quebec's evolving educational system reflects the increasingly complex nature of its society. Originally organized along denominational lines, primary and secondary schools were funded and administered by the Roman Catholic and Protestant Committees of the Council of Public Instruction. The Ministry of Education was abolished in 1875 because the Roman Catholic Church feared that politicians would use it to intervene in education, a jurisdiction which church leaders considered their own. However, because the English-speaking Protestant community dominated Montreal's economy, Protestant schools received ample revenues and provided a full range of primary and secondary educational facilities. Roman Catholic school boards received less per capita funding and were forced to rely heavily on religious personnel and facilities to meet the needs of their students. In 1943, following a half century of delay, a Liberal Quebec government implemented a public system of free and compulsory primary education for children between the ages of 6 and 16, a reform that raised school attendance in the province to the national level within a decade.

      Major reforms, based on the recommendations of the 1964 Royal Commission Report on Education, involved the reestablishment of the Ministry of Education and the creation of a comprehensive system of publicly funded and administered primary and secondary Roman Catholic schools. The Quebec government also chose to partially subsidize some 300 private schools for French-speaking students. Enrollment in the new system of French-language regional high schools expanded dramatically, often exceeding the availability of facilities and teachers. By the 1970s enrollment in postsecondary education was growing rapidly. Quebec's political leaders soon realized that the attainment of higher levels of education by Francophones would give them the opportunity to overcome their inferior economic status, thereby providing the basis for the renewal of their language and culture. Education became a battleground for the survival of Québécois culture and the French language.

      The precipitous decline in the birth rate among Francophones meant that the community would have to find ways to integrate immigrants into its midst. Prior to the 1970s, the vast majority of Jewish, Italian, and other immigrant parents opted to send their children to the English-language schools so as to enhance their job opportunities. As a result, in Montreal, for example, almost all immigrants and their children eventually integrated into the English-speaking community. In response to this development, the government adopted language laws in the 1970s that streamed children of immigrants into French-language schools. (By the late 1980s, it also required all external commercial signs to be in French.) Thanks to the Charter of the French Language, known as Bill 101, both immigrant and Anglophone children and many of their parents have acquired a working knowledge of the French language; however, for cultural and social reasons, they and their families have not fully integrated into the Québécois society. Yet, marriage rates between Anglophones, Allophones, and Francophones throughout Greater Montreal are on the rise and promise, over time, to accentuate the integration of these communities. Moreover, in the hope of extending their job prospects throughout North America, most bilingual or multilingual immigrant children chose to pursue postsecondary education in English.

      In 1998, following three decades of debate, the Quebec and Canadian governments passed a bilateral constitutional amendment abolishing the requirement for denominational schools in Quebec, a vestige of the church's prominent role in the province's government. Quebec's primary and secondary schools are now structured entirely along linguistic lines, with the vast majority of students enrolled in French-speaking schools. Only a rapidly diminishing number of Anglophone children have a constitutional right to education in English. At the turn of the 21st century, an increasing number of Anglophone children were attending French-language-immersion schools to enhance their job prospects both inside and outside Quebec.

      High school graduates may attend either a French- or English-language college of general and vocational education (college d'enseignement general et professionnel; CEGEP) in pursuit of a professional diploma or as a stepping-stone to a university. McGill and Concordia universities in Montreal and Bishop's University in Lennoxville are publicly funded, autonomous English-language institutions. Publicly funded French-speaking universities in the province include the Universities of Montreal, Laval, and Sherbrooke. The University of Quebec, the only state-administered French-language university in Canada, has numerous campuses. These institutions attract students from every region of Canada as well as students from all over the world. Professors receive substantial grants from both the Quebec and Canadian governments to pursue research in the sciences, health sciences, humanities, and social sciences.

Cultural life
      In many ways, Quebec, especially Greater Montreal, is a smaller plural society within the larger pluralism of Canadian society; that is, it is almost as difficult to define the cultural identity of Quebec as it is to define that of Canada as a whole. Although a basic sense of overall linguistic identity does exist in the life of the Francophone community in Quebec, there are many cultural differences between its French-speaking communities in east Montreal and those living in such smaller centres as Abitibi, Lac-Saint-Jean, Gaspé, or the Eastern Townships. Regional variations, heightened by immigration, have produced a sociocultural fragmentation that in part explains the differences in political voting patterns, religious behaviour, and even the quality in the use of the French language. Furthermore, there are class-based cultural differences and a strong elitist tradition that account for the high social status of such professions as medicine, law, the clergy, and business management. Even Quebec's French-speaking middle class, which expanded dramatically in the 1960s, has been more politically aggressive in Montreal, where they encountered stiff opposition from English speakers, than in Quebec city. Because of the cultural and socioeconomic variations within Quebec, it is often difficult and sometimes impossible for the provincial government to achieve consensus on cultural, linguistic, and educational policies.

      The emergence of cultural and linguistic pluralism in the Greater Montreal region and the convergence of work styles and lifestyles between Québécois society and the larger Canadian and North American societies have created a serious dilemma for Quebec's nationalists. While claims of a unique French-speaking culture based on certain traditions brought from France have their origins in the literature and history of the 19th century, a debate now exists as to the exact nature of Quebec's Francophone cultural identity beyond the simple fact of the predominant use of the French language. Francophone cultural values have been called up in an attempt to define Quebec as a distinct society for political and constitutional purposes. This is reflected in successive Quebec governments fostering a “Québécois” national culture, which many have argued was largely nonexistent when French-speaking Québécois used to call themselves French Canadians. Cultural values have thus been a sign of political identity as much as, or more than, the expression of long tradition.

The arts and cultural institutions
 To ensure the continuation of this Québécois identity, the provincial government has funded a number of institutions aimed at fostering cultural life. Foremost among these institutions is the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, which is responsible for improving the quality of the language used and for stimulating cultural, literary, and other artistic activities. Created in 1961 and modeled in part on the Canada Council, which had been founded in 1957, the Ministry of Cultural Affairs was the first such state institution in North America. It provides direct financial aid to such state cultural bodies as museums and archives. The ministry also helps finance more than 150 theatrical, ballet, and musical companies, all of which attract thousands of tourists to Quebec during the summer months.

      Notable museums in Montreal include the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the history-focused Chateau de Ramezay and McCord museums. Other notable museums include the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau and the Museum of French America in Quebec city. The Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, and La La La Human Steps dance company all enjoy excellent international reputations and perform regularly at the Place des Arts in Montreal. The acrobatic troupe Cirque du Soleil also originated in Quebec. Montreal is home to several arts festivals, most notably the Just for Laughs comedy festival and the Montreal International Jazz Festival. All of these arts and cultural organizations are also eligible for grants from the Canada Council. Notable singers and musicians from Quebec include Leonard Cohen (Cohen, Leonard), Felix Léclerc, Céline Dion (Dion, Céline), and Arcade Fire.

      Quebec is also home to a small but successful film industry, though its audience is largely limited to the province. Nevertheless, several films and directors have found large audiences and acclaim outside of Quebec, most notably Denys Arcand, whose internationally acclaimed films include Jésus de Montréal (1989), Les Invasions barbares (2003; The Barbarian Invasions), and L'Âges des ténèbres (2007; The Age of Ignorance).

Sports and recreation
 Quebec has more than 35 parks and wildlife reserves, many open for regulated hunting and fishing. Skiing and snowboarding in the Laurentian Mountains are popular activities for residents and tourists. Other winter recreational activities include snowshoeing, ice fishing, and snowmobiling. In summer, rock climbing, canoeing, swimming, fishing, hiking, and golf are popular. As in the rest of Canada, ice hockey and Canadian football are popular team sports. Although Quebec city once was home to a National Hockey League (NHL) franchise (the Nordiques, 1979–95), only Montreal has professional teams. The Canadiens of the NHL won 24 Stanley Cup championships in the 20th century and produced several legendary players, including Maurice Richard, Jacques Plante (Plante, Jacques), Guy Lafleur, and Ken Dryden. The Alouettes play in the Canadian Football League. Professional baseball has long been a part of Montreal culture; the minor league Royals were a fixture from 1928 to 1960, and the major league Expos played in Montreal from 1969 to 2004. Montreal hosted the entertaining but costly 1976 Olympic Games (Olympic Games) and now uses the facilities built for the Games to host a great many Canadian and international sporting events.

Media and publishing
      The Ministry of Culture subsidizes the publishing industry with direct grants and by funding the development and expansion of public libraries. Another institution created by the Quebec government in its efforts to stimulate French-language cultural development is Radio-Québec (founded in 1968). Its mandate was broadened quickly to incorporate television programming, and it was renamed Quebec Broadcasting Bureau. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's French-language networks, Radio-Canada and RDI, as well as the private stations, the TVA Network and the Quatre Television Saisons, produce a wide range of popular French-language programs. Quebec's English-language communities are served by the CBC, CTV, and Global TV. Among the most prominent French-language daily newspapers are La Presse and Le Journal du Montréal in Montreal, Le Novelliste in Trois-Rivières, and Le Soleil and Le Journal de Québec in Quebec city. The province's principal English-language daily is The Gazette in Montreal.


Early history to 1860
 The origins of Quebec go back to 1534–35, when the French explorer Jacques Cartier (Cartier, Jacques) landed at present-day Gaspé and took possession of the land in the name of the king of France. Cartier brought with him the 16th-century European traditions of mercantile expansion to a land where a few thousand Indians (First Nations) and Inuit (the Arctic people of Canada known as Eskimo in the United States) had been living for thousands of years. Permanent European settlement of the region began only in 1608, when Samuel de Champlain (Champlain, Samuel de) established a fort at Cape Diamond, the site of present-day Quebec city (Quebec), then called Stadacona. A half century later the French settlement had a meagre population of some 3,200 people.

 Although New France began with the founding of three cities—Quebec city in 1608, Trois-Rivières in 1616, and Montreal in 1642—it eventually included a vast inland territory incorporating Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island, and Newfoundland (Newfoundland and Labrador) and extending southwest all the way to Louisiana. In the Treaty of Utrecht (Utrecht, treaties of) (1713), which confirmed France's defeat in the War of the Spanish Succession (Spanish Succession, War of the), Great Britain acquired all of Nova Scotia (except for Cape Breton), Newfoundland, and the lands around Hudson Bay. The remaining territory of New France, except for Louisiana and the islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon in the Gulf of the St. Lawrence, was ceded to Great Britain in the Treaty of Paris (Paris, Treaty of) (1763).

  Within a decade of having acquired nearly all of France's North American colonies, Britain faced a revolution of independence by its original 13 colonies. In 1774, hoping to retain the loyalty of their new subjects in the French and Catholic colony of Quebec by gaining the support of its clerical leaders, the British passed the Quebec Act. The act granted Catholics freedom of religious practice, legalized the French seigneurial system, recognized the French civil code, and reextended the boundaries of Quebec into the Ohio and Mississippi valleys to satisfy the fur traders and maintain alliances with the Indians. This strategy worked, and a vast majority of French Canadians remained neutral when American forces led by Gen. Benedict Arnold (Arnold, Benedict) invaded Quebec in 1775. While losing its original American colonies, Great Britain retained Quebec and Nova Scotia. The influx of several thousand British loyalists (loyalist) into Quebec, all of whom demanded land and representative government, forced the British to again alter the constitutional arrangements. The poorly conceived Constitutional Act (1791) divided the colony of Quebec along the Ottawa River into Lower Canada (Quebec) and Upper Canada (the future Ontario). It also provided for an elected assembly and for appointed executive and legislative councils. In short order, the majority French Canadian society ensured that members of its increasingly nationalistic professional middle class, educated by the Catholic Church, came to dominate the elected assembly. The Canadian Party defended the seigneurial system, denounced the Catholic Church for collaborating with the British, criticized the emergence of commercial capitalism, and demanded responsible government—full rule by the majority in the elected assembly. Members of the British merchant, bureaucratic, and military classes were reduced to a rump, but this minority British Party retained full control over the appointed executive and legislative councils.

 By the 1830s the increasing control of British merchants over the commercial and financial life of Lower Canada, the emergence of an agricultural crisis as wheat production (the only cash crop) collapsed, and the rise of a politically dominant French Canadian professional middle class resulted in a severe political, social, and economic crisis. The society had become ungovernable. When the British authorities refused to grant the assembly sweeping powers, the secessionist Patriot Party (formerly the Reform (Reform Party) Party) sought to take the colony of Quebec out of the British Empire and create a new Republic of Quebec. The secessionist movement, led by a weak and indecisive Louis-Joseph Papineau (Papineau, Louis-Joseph), culminated in the unsuccessful rebellions of 1837–38. Papineau fled to the United States only to return in the late 1850s. The British military forces crushed the rebels (a few were hanged and others exiled in Australia) and instituted military rule. According to a report written by Lord Durham (Durham, John George Lambton, 1st earl of) in 1839, the source of the rebellion was “two nations warring in the bosom of a single state.” Durham recommended the union of Upper and Lower Canada, massive British immigration, municipal reform, and the institution of responsible government.

      Fearful that the French Canadian majority would dominate the new colony created by the Act of Union in 1841, the British refused to grant responsible government and ensured British control over the elected assembly by granting each of the colony's two administrative regions, Canada East (the former Lower Canada) and Canada West (formerly Upper Canada), 42 seats. Pressured by French Canadian and British political reformers from Canada West and Canada East, and hoping to transfer the rising administrative costs to the colonies, British authorities granted responsible government in 1848, much to the dismay of the old British Party, which preached annexation to the United States. French Canadian members of the government shared power, including the power to tax and spend. They supported funding of the transportation revolution, notably the building of the canals that made the Great Lakes accessible via the majestic St. Lawrence River and the construction of the very expensive Grand Trunk Railway from Sarnia to Levi, on the south shore of Quebec city. In return, they pushed hard for and won the right to use their own language in the assembly and gained full control over educational, social, and municipal institutions in Canada East.

Confederation to the 1920s
      The British North American colonies were faced with a number of pressing problems by the mid-1860s, and a new constitutional arrangement became imperative. The population of Canada West had surpassed that of Canada East, and the colonies were caught in political deadlock. Liberal politicians in Canada West wanted out from under French control of the government and were anxious to turn the western territories owned and controlled by the Hudson Bay Company into a vast hinterland for Toronto. The accumulated debt of the colony, notably due to canal and railway construction costs, threatened financial ruin. Finally, the British wanted out of Canada because colonial administration was too costly and free trade promised to supply Britain with cheaper natural resources and foodstuffs. Three years of debate and negotiation produced the British North America Act in 1867 (now called the Constitution Act, 1867). The British Parliament created a quasi-autonomous federation comprising Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. The French Canadian community, a minority within the larger federation, was granted control over the provincial government of Quebec through which it could design and administer social, economic, and political programs reflecting its traditions and values. The Canadian Parliament and the Quebec legislative assembly and council, as well as the federal court system, were designed as bilingual French-English institutions.

      Beginning in the 1850s, Montreal occupied an important role as Canada's dominant financial, commercial, transportation, and industrial metropolis. For this reason, Quebec was quickly integrated into both the western European and North American economies. The rapid growth of Quebec's French Canadian rural population, supplemented by immigrants, provided a large pool of surplus labour for a wide range of primary and secondary industries. In 1879 industrialization was accelerated by Canada's policy of protective tariffs, as well as by the construction of three national transcontinental railways, which opened up the Northwest Territories and parts of northern Quebec and Ontario for settlement. Where Quebec society differed from that of the rest of North America was in its ambivalent response to rapid industrialization and urbanization. Because the process was initiated and controlled by Montreal's British Canadian and American financial, commercial, and industrial bourgeoisie, a cultural division of labour quickly emerged. The industrial labour force was largely composed of unskilled and semiskilled Francophone Catholics, and the captains of industry were Anglophone Protestants. In the late 19th century a French Canadian upper middle class emerged, but its scope was limited to small and medium-size businesses, including financial institutions, located largely outside the Montreal region.

      Both of Quebec's principal political parties—the Conservatives, who dominated the legislature in the 19th century, and the Liberals, who held office between 1897 and 1936—supported the industrialization of Quebec's economy. There were strong links between the political class and the business leaders, both English- and French-speaking, as the province competed with Ontario for domestic and foreign investment. While Montreal was the headquarters of the national banks, the insurance corporations, and the railway companies, Ontario—because of its proximity to the United States, their shared language, and the vast amounts of hydroelectric power at Niagara Falls—attracted the lion's share of direct U.S. investment. A struggle developed between Montreal and Toronto, which would slowly but inevitably gain the upper hand as the 20th century progressed.

 The cultural division of labour became a major concern of French-speaking Quebec's traditional petit-bourgeois leaders and officials of the Roman Catholic Church. These cultural and religious nationalists feared that members of the rapidly expanding French-speaking Catholic working class would lose their religion, language, and culture as they earned their living in English-language Protestant factories and commercial enterprises. Leading French Canadian nationalists Henri Bourassa (Bourassa, Henri) and the abbé Lionel-Adolphe Groulx (Groulx, Lionel-Adolphe) argued vigorously that the province's Francophone society must remain predominantly Roman Catholic and rural. They denounced French-speaking politicians for neglecting the needs of the rural communities and for selling out Quebec's natural resources to foreigners.

      Yet, remaining isolated on farms and in rural villages and rejecting much-needed factory jobs was not a realistic alternative for the vast majority of French Canadians. Realizing that industrialization was inevitable, moderate church leaders created a range of Catholic organizations and institutions, including labour unions, professional associations, and agricultural cooperatives, that allowed French Canadians to gain some control over the new economic and social order. The church also retained control of education and rejected attempts by politicians and businessmen, both French and English, to reform the traditionalist school system. While Quebec's industrial economy diversified and expanded during and after World War I, Francophone children were deprived of the necessary education and training skills to take advantage of the new opportunities. French Canadians and their society became economically and socially inferior in a province where they constituted the majority.

      In the interim, it was far easier for French Canadian nationalists to convince their compatriots that Canada's English-speaking and Protestant majority was depriving them of their political and constitutional rights. Bourassa led the campaign to convince British Canadians to perceive their country as a bilingual and bicultural nation-state. He argued that Canada should declare its independence from the British Empire and become a full-fledged member of the international community. When Britain declared war on Germany in 1914, Canada was obligated to participate. French Canadians felt deeply betrayed by Prime Minister Robert Borden's Conservative government's decision to impose conscription in 1917. They abandoned the national Conservative Party (Conservative Party of Canada) and turned to the Liberal Party (Liberal Party of Canada), which dominated politics in Quebec for most of the 20th century. The consequences at the provincial level were somewhat more convoluted.

The Great Depression to the 1950s
      The collapse of international trade and industrial capitalism in the 1930s had a profound and lasting impact on the French-speaking community of Quebec. Believing that the economic crisis had proven them right, French Canadians helped create a coalition of Liberal and Conservative politicians and nationalists to establish the National Union party, led by Maurice Duplessis (Duplessis, Maurice Le Noblet), who obtained the support of the Roman Catholic Church leaders and became premier in 1936. His government, abandoning momentarily the nationalist agenda, gave substantial financial assistance to hard-pressed farming communities and hounded organized labour while supporting continued industrialization. Duplessis strongly objected to Canada's participation in World War II. Although defeated in 1939, he was reelected in 1944 and remained premier until his death in 1959, owing to the support of big business, the Catholic Church, rural voters, and nonunion workers.

      Meanwhile, an increasing number of educated French Canadians—neonationalists who redefined themselves as Québécois and neoliberals committed to the Keynesian social service state—set in motion an ideological revolution. They began to make reform proposals in the 1950s. Both groups rejected traditional French Canadian nationalism and its antiquated portrayal of Francophones as a minority Roman Catholic and rural society. These intellectuals also rejected the traditional nationalist regime of Duplessis, its antidemocratic alliance with an overly clerical and autocratic Roman Catholic Church, its antiunion legislation, and its open invitation to U.S. corporations. Neonationalists proposed the creation of a modern, secular Quebec state run by and for the French-speaking majority. The state, not the Catholic church, would be responsible for the survival and expansion of Québécois society. Acquiring a modern bureaucracy, the state would finance and control a full range of social services, reform the outmoded Catholic-run educational system, and establish a Francophone-controlled industrial labour movement.

      Progressive Liberals also proposed the creation of a modern, democratic, and interventionist Quebec state, but they wanted it to be the servant of every citizen of Quebec, regardless of language, ethnicity, colour, class, religion, or gender. They called for an integrated, secular, and progressive educational system. Most importantly, they wanted to block the creation of a Francophone nationalist state committed primarily to collective, rather than individual, rights.

The “Quiet Revolution” to the present
      Under the Duplessis administration, none of the neonationalist or liberal reforms were implemented. In the interim, the social and economic transformation of the Québécois community continued apace, thus creating the opportunity for rapid institutional change should a more sympathetic political party take office. The Quebec Liberal Party chose a former federal minister, Jean Lesage (Lesage, Jean), as its new leader in 1958 and adopted a new political platform comprising elements from both the neonationalist and neoliberal platforms. Following Duplessis's death in 1959, Lesage and the Liberals formed a government with a slim majority in 1960, and the “Quiet Revolution” began. Supported by an emerging new middle class of well-educated Québécois, the Lesage government created a modern, secular Quebec state that took control of all social, health, and educational institutions, opening thousands of jobs for educated Francophones. The government also created and managed numerous Crown corporations, including Hydro-Québec, where French was the language of the workplace. Many Québécois used this experience to create private companies that became part of Quebec, Inc., a consortium of large Québécois corporations. To finance all of these expensive reform programs, Lesage and his successors demanded and received a greater share of federal personal, corporate, and estate taxes. Quebec also opted out of many of the Canadian government's shared-cost programs and received additional tax points. Quebec garnered the largest share (nearly 50 percent) of the equalization transfers made by Ottawa to Canada's have-not provinces.

      The Quebec government's pursuit of additional tax revenue and jurisdictional power over domestic and foreign matters posed a serious political challenge to an already decentralized Canadian federation. Right- and left-wing secessionist political movements emerged in the mid-1960s. They coalesced around René Lévesque's Parti Québécois, which was founded in 1968. Following defeats in the elections of 1970 and 1973, the Parti Québécois, promising a referendum on secession, was elected in November 1976. The Parti Québécois's first legislation was Bill 101, the Charter of the French Language. Responding to this very serious threat to national unity, the Canadian Liberal government, led by Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Trudeau, Pierre Elliott), prepared itself for the provincial referendum on secession that took place in May 1980. Garnering 60 percent of the vote, the federalist forces led by Trudeau defeated the secessionists. Trudeau acted immediately on his promise to renew the federation. The Canadian Parliament, with the support of nine provinces and a majority of Canadians, acted to “patriate” (a uniquely Canadian term meaning roughly to Canadianize) the country's founding document, the British North America Act of 1867, which originally had been enacted by the British Parliament. The resultant Canada Act of 1982, augmented by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (a bill of rights), provided the country with a new constitution. Lévesque's Parti Québécois rejected the new constitution on the grounds that it diminished Quebec's power over language and education and that it did away with Quebec's constitutional veto.

      Quebec's constitutional struggle with the federal government remained largely dormant until 1987, when Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (Mulroney, Brian) negotiated a deal with the Quebec Liberal government of Robert Bourassa. The result, the Meech Lake Accord, recognized Quebec as a distinct society and gave the government and legislature of Quebec the right to preserve and promote its uniqueness. It also gave Quebec and the other provinces expanded powers, including a veto over all changes made to Canada's central institutions. However, the Meech Lake Accord was not ratified by all 10 provinces within its required three-year limit because of opposition in Manitoba and Newfoundland.

      Canada's constitutional wars continued when Bourassa, with support from Mulroney, threatened to hold another referendum on secession in October 1992 if his government was not offered an acceptable set of constitutional proposals by the federal government and the other provinces. Months of negotiations produced the Charlottetown Consensus Report, which called for enhanced autonomy not only for Quebec but for the country's aboriginal groups. The proposal was rejected by Canadians in a national referendum by a margin of 55 to 45 percent. Mulroney resigned, and in the 1993 election the Conservative Party was shattered. Bourassa, ill with cancer, also resigned. His successor, Daniel Johnson, lost the 1994 election to Parti Québécois leader Jacques Parizeau, who promised to hold a referendum within the year. However, under pressure, Parizeau backed away from a referendum on outright secession. Instead, Quebecers were asked if they supported the concept of sovereignty partnership between an independent Quebec and the rest of Canada. In 1995 a powerful campaign for the “yes” vote nearly won the day for the separatist cause, as the referendum was defeated by fewer than 55,000 votes. Parizeau stepped down and was replaced by Lucien Bouchard, a founder of Bloc Québécois.

      Prime Minister Jean Chrétien (Chrétien, Jean) was shocked by the narrow margin of victory. His government passed a resolution recognizing Quebec as a distinct society and a bill stating that the Canadian government would never ratify another major constitutional amendment without the approval of Quebec's National Assembly. He also referred Quebec's referendum law to Canada's Supreme Court; it stipulated that the Quebec assembly had the right, under international law, to make a unilateral declaration of independence following a simple majority vote on secession. In August 1998 the Supreme Court justices, in their landmark Quebec Secession Reference decision, ruled that Quebec did not have, under domestic or international law, the right to secede unilaterally. The justices then opined that if Quebecers voted on a direct question pertaining to secession only, with a clear majority, the Canadian government would be obligated to negotiate secession with Quebec. The court made it clear that the negotiations would encompass all matters, including borders, and that there was no guarantee that they would succeed. They concluded that the Quebec state could proceed to take all the risks inherent in an illegal declaration of independence.

      The vast majority of Québécois accepted the Supreme Court's controversial decision, thereby preventing the Parti Québécois government from employing it as a catalyst for a third referendum on secession. Quebecers reelected Bouchard's Parti Québécois to a second term in 1998. At a convention in May 2000, Bouchard pledged to promote with renewed vigour the cause of Quebec's independence but refused to set a date for another referendum. He retired in 2001, citing his failure to make advancements toward sovereignty. Bouchard became the leader of a movement against another referendum on secession on the grounds that the Québécois society had far more urgent demographic, social, and economic problems to resolve to ensure its long-term viability, prosperity, and sustainability. In 2003, however, Parti Québécois and Bernard Landry, who had succeeded Bouchard as premier, were ousted from office by the Liberal Party and its leader, Jean Charest, who promised to restore the health care system and to lower taxes for the middle class.

      In November 2005 Parti Québécois elected as its leader André Boisclair, a charismatic 39-year-old who had been a member of the party's executive committee from 1985 and a member of the provincial assembly since 1989. The vast majority of the Québécois lost confidence in him, however, a result of what many considered a lack of political judgment and in response to a personal scandal (before his election as leader he had admitted prior cocaine use). As a result, Charest's Liberal government, despite failing to deliver on its two key promises, was reelected in 2007, though with only one-third of the seats, mostly in Anglophone and Allophone ridings. Mario Dumont's Democratic Action Party, which represented the interests of small-town rural Québécois and disgruntled middle-class suburbanites, garnered one-third of the seats from both the Liberal Party and Parti Québécois. In the wake of Parti Québécois's second defeat, many Québécois appeared to have no desire to be drawn into a third referendum on secession. Like Bouchard, most Québécois came to understand that it was necessary and urgent to resolve the many demographic, social, and economic problems confronting their society before confronting the risks inherent in seceding from the Canadian federation. Québécois also gambled that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative federal government would grant the province of Quebec special constitutional status within a more decentralized and asymmetrical Canadian federation, thereby making secession unnecessary. A failure to deliver on this promise might well revive the secessionist movement, leaving Canadians once again facing a challenge to the political and territorial integrity of their nation-state.

Michael D. Behiels

Additional Reading
Robert Bone, The Regional Geography of Canada, 3rd ed. (2005), has an excellent chapter on the physical, historical, and urban geography of Quebec. Michael D. Behiels (ed.), Futures and Identities: Aboriginal Peoples in Canada (1989), contains several articles on Quebec's aboriginal communities. Overviews of Quebec's history include John A. Dickinson and Brian Young, A Short History of Quebec, 3rd ed. (2003); Fernand Ouellet, Economic and Social History of Québec, 1760–1850 (1980; originally published in French, 1966); and J.I. Little, Nationalism, Capitalism, and Colonization in Nineteenth-Century Quebec (1989). The period after confederation is covered in Michael D. Behiels and K.S. Mathew, “Quebec Since 1867,” in their Canada: Its Regions and Its People (1998), pp. 205–254; and Paul-André Linteau, René Durocher, and Jean-Claude Robert, Histoire du Quebec contemporain, rev. ed., 2 vol. (1989), with the English translation for vol. 1 of the first edition available as Quebec, a History, 1867–1929 (1983). Garth Stevenson, Community Besieged: The Anglophone Minority and the Politics of Quebec (1999), provides a portrait of the evolution of Quebec's Anglophone minority since 1867.Contemporary social, economic, ideological, and political developments are analyzed in the following: Michael D. Behiels, Prelude to Quebec's Quiet Revolution: Liberalism Versus Neo-Nationalism, 1945–1960 (1985); William D. Coleman, The Independence Movement in Quebec, 1945–1980 (1984); Kenneth McRoberts, Quebec: Social Change and Political Crisis, 3rd ed., with a postscript (1993); Michael D. Behiels (ed.), Quebec Since 1945 (1986); and Ramsay Cook, Canada, Quebec, and the Uses of Nationalism, 2nd ed. (1995). A collection of essays on contemporary Quebec can be found in Michael D. Behiels (ed.), The Meech Lake Primer: Conflicting Views of the 1987 Constitutional Accord (1989); Curtis Cook (ed.), Constitutional Predicament: Canada After the Referendum of 1992 (1994); Robert Young, The Secession of Quebec and the Future of Canada, rev. and expanded ed. (1998); and Robert Young, The Struggle for Quebec: Referendum to Referendum? (1999).Michael D. Behiels

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Universalium. 2010.

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