||This article may be too long to read and navigate comfortably. (September 2013)|
|Motto: Je me souviens
|Largest metro||Greater Montreal|
|Lieutenant Governor||Pierre Duchesne|
|Premier||Pauline Marois (PQ)|
|Legislature||National Assembly of Quebec|
|Federal representation||(in Canadian Parliament)|
|House seats||75 of 308 (24.4%)|
|Senate seats||24 of 105 (22.9%)|
|Confederation||July 1, 1867 (1st, with ON, NS, NB)|
|Total||1,542,056 km2 (595,391 sq mi)|
|Land||1,365,128 km2 (527,079 sq mi)|
|Water (%)||176,928 km2 (68,312 sq mi) (11.5%)|
|Proportion of Canada||15.4% of 9,984,670 km2|
|Total (2011)||7,903,001 |
|Density (2011)||5.79 /km2 (15.0 /sq mi)|
|Total (2011)||C$345.842 billion|
|Per capita||C$43,349 (10th)|
|Time zone||UTC−5, −4|
|Postal code prefix||G, H, J|
|Flower||Blue Flag Iris|
|Rankings include all provinces and territories|
Quebec (i// or //; French: Québec [kebɛk] ( )) is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province that has a predominantly French-speaking population, and the only one to have French as its sole provincial official language.
Quebec is Canada's largest province by area and its second-largest administrative division; only the territory of Nunavut is larger. It is bordered to the west by the province of Ontario, James Bay and Hudson Bay, to the north by Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay, to the east by the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick. It is bordered on the south by the US states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. It also shares maritime borders with Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia.
Quebec is Canada's second most populous province, after Ontario. 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, 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 independence debates have played a large role in the politics of the province. Parti Québécois governments held referendums on sovereignty in 1980 and 1995; both were voted down by voters, the latter defeated by a very narrow margin. In 2006, the House of Commons of Canada passed a symbolic motion recognizing the "Québécois as a nation within a united Canada."
While the province's substantial natural resources have long been the mainstay of its economy, sectors of the knowledge economy such as aerospace, information and communication technologies, biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry also play leading roles. These many industries have all contributed to helping Quebec become a very economically influential province within Canada, second only to Ontario in economic output.
- 1 Etymology and boundary changes
- 2 Geography
- 3 History
- 3.1 Indigenous peoples and European exploration
- 3.2 New France
- 3.3 Seven Years' War and capitulation of New France
- 3.4 Quebec Act
- 3.5 Effects of the American Revolution
- 3.6 Separation of the Province of Quebec
- 3.7 Patriotes' Rebellion in Lower Canada
- 3.8 Canadian Confederation
- 3.9 Quebec at war
- 3.10 Quiet Revolution
- 3.11 Oka Crisis
- 3.12 Parti Québécois and national unity
- 3.13 Statut particulier ("special status")
- 4 Government and politics
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Economy
- 7 Culture
- 8 National symbols
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Etymology and boundary changes
The name "Québec", 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 is sometimes referred to as "La belle province".
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 expanded the territory of the province to include the Great Lakes and the Ohio River Valley and south of Rupert's Land, more or less restoring the borders previously existing under French rule before the Conquest. The Treaty of Versailles 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 and over the next few decades the Parliament of Canada transferred to Quebec portions of this territory that would more than triple 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 local aboriginals. 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.
Located in the eastern part of Canada 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. Its area is very different from one region to another due to the varying composition of the ground, the climate (latitude and altitude) and the proximity to water. The Saint Lawrence Lowland (south) and the Canadian Shield (north) are the two main topographic regions and are radically different.
Quebec has one of the world's largest reserves of fresh water, occupying 12% of its surface. It has 3% of the world's renewable fresh water, whereas it has only 0.1% of its population. More than half a million lakes, including 30 with an area greater than 250 square kilometres (97 sq mi), and 4,500 rivers pour their torrents into the Atlantic Ocean, through the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the Arctic Ocean, by James, Hudson and Ungava bays. The largest inland body of water is the Caniapiscau Reservoir, created in the realization of the James Bay Project to produce hydroelectric power. Lake Mistassini is the largest natural lake in Quebec.
The Saint Lawrence River has some of the world's largest sustaining inland Atlantic ports at Montreal (the province'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 province. The Saint Lawrence River and its estuary forms the basis of Quebec's development through the centuries. At the same time, many affluent rivers testify to the exploration of land, among them Ashuapmushuan, Chaudière, Gatineau, Manicouagan, Ottawa, Richelieu, Rupert, Saguenay, Saint-François, Saint-Maurice.
Quebec's highest point at 1,652 metres is Mont d'Iberville, known in English as Mount Caubvick, located on the border with Newfoundland and Labrador in the northeastern part of the province, in the Torngat Mountains. The most populous physiographic region is the Saint Lawrence Lowland. It extends northeastward from the southwestern portion of the province along the shores of the Saint Lawrence River to the Quebec City region, limited to the North by the Laurentian Mountains and to the South by the Appalachians. It mainly covers the areas of the Centre-du-Québec, Laval, Montérégie and Montreal, the southern regions of the Capitale-Nationale, Lanaudière, Laurentides, Mauricie and includes Anticosti Island, the Mingan Archipelago, and other small islands of the Gulf of St. Lawrence lowland forests ecoregion. Its landscape is low-lying and flat, except for isolated igneous outcrops near Montreal called the Monteregian Hills, formerly covered by the waters of Lake Champlain. The Oka hills also arise from the plain. 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 relatively warm climate makes the valley Quebec's most prolific agricultural area. Mixed forests provide most of 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 95% of Quebec's territory lies within the Canadian Shield. It is generally a quite flat and exposed mountainous terrain interspersed with higher points such as the Laurentian Mountains in southern Quebec, the Otish Mountains in central Quebec and the Torngat Mountains near Ungava Bay. The topography of the Shield has been shaped by glaciers from the successive ice ages, which explains the glacial deposits of boulders, gravel and sand, and by sea water and post-glacial lakes that left behind thick deposits of clay in parts of the Shield. The Canadian Shield also has a complex hydrological network of more than a million lakes, bogs, streams and rivers. 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.
The Labrador Peninsula is covered by the Laurentian Plateau (or Canadian Shield), dotted with mountains such as Otish Mountains. The Ungava Peninsula is notably composed of D'Youville mountains, Puvirnituq mountains and Pingualuit crater. While low and medium altitude peak from western Quebec to the far north, high altitudes mountains emerge in the Capitale-Nationale region to the extreme east, along its longitude. In the Labrador Peninsula portion of the Shield, the far northern region of Nunavik includes the Ungava Peninsula and consists of flat Arctic tundra inhabited mostly by the Inuit. Further south lie the subarctic taiga of the Eastern Canadian Shield taiga ecoregion and the boreal forest of the Central Canadian Shield forests, where spruce, fir, and poplar trees provide raw materials for Quebec's pulp and paper and lumber industries. Although the area is 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 the Saint Lawrence Lowland, that attracts local and international tourists to ski hills and lakeside resorts.
The Appalachian region of Quebec has a narrow strip of ancient mountains along the southeastern border of Quebec. The Appalachians are actually a huge chain that extends from Alabama to Newfoundland. In between, it covers in Quebec near 800 km (497 mi), from the Montérégie hills to the Gaspé Peninsula. In western Quebec, the average altitude is about 500 metres, while in the Gaspé Peninsula, the Appalachian peaks (especially the Chic-Choc) are among the highest in Quebec, exceeding 1000 metres.
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 four distinct seasons having warm to occasionally hot and humid summers and often very cold and snowy winters. The main climatic influences are from western and northern Canada and 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 1,000 millimetres (39 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) occur occasionally. Most of central Quebec has a subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc). Winters are long, very cold, and snowy, 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.
The four seasons in Quebec are spring, summer, autumn and winter, with conditions differing by region. They are then differentiated according to the brightness, temperature and precipitation of snow and rain.
Daily sunshine duration is eight hours in December, the time of year when it is the shortest. From temperate zones to the northern territories of the Far North, the brightness varies with latitude, as well as the Northern Lights and Midnight sun.
Quebec is divided into four climatic zones: arctic, subarctic, humid continental and East maritime. From south to north, average temperatures range in summer between 25 °C (77 °F) and 5 °C (41 °F) and, in winter, between −10 °C (14 °F) and −25 °C (−13 °F). In periods of intense heat and cold, temperatures can reach 35 °C (95 °F) in the summer and −40 °C (−40 °F) during the Quebec winter, They may vary depending on the Humidex or Wind chill.
The all-time record of the greatest precipitation in winter was established in winter 2007–2008, with more than five metres of snow in the area of Quebec City, while the average amount received per winter is around three metres. March 1971, however, saw the "Century's Snowstorm" with more than 40 centimetres (16 in) in Montreal to 80 centimetres (31 in) in Mont Apica of snow within 24 hours in many regions of southern Quebec. Also, the winter of 2010 was the warmest and driest ever recorded in more than 60 years.
The large land wildlife is mainly composed of the white-tailed deer, the moose, the muskox, the Caribou, the American black bear and the polar bear. The average land wildlife includes the cougar, the coyote, the Eastern wolf, the bobcat (wild cat), the Arctic fox, the Fox, etc. The small animals seen most commonly include the Eastern gray squirrel, the snowshoe hare, the Groundhog, the Skunk, the raccoon, the chipmunk and the Canadian beaver.
Biodiversity of the estuary and gulf of Saint Lawrence River consists of an aquatic mammal wildlife, of which most goes upriver through the estuary and the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park until the Île d'Orléans (French for Orleans Island), such as the blue whale, the beluga, the Minke whale and the Harp seal (Earless seal). Among the Nordic marine animals, there are two particularly important to cite: the walrus and the narwhal.
Inland waters are populated by small to large fresh water fish, such as the Largemouth bass, the American pickerel, the Walleye, the Acipenser oxyrinchus, the Muskellunge, the Atlantic cod, the Arctic char, the Brook trout, the Microgadus tomcod (tomcod), the Atlantic salmon, the rainbow trout etc.
Among the birds commonly seen in the southern inhabited part of Quebec, there are the American Robin, the house sparrow, the Red-winged Blackbird, the Mallard, the common Grackle, the blue Jay, the American crow, the Black-capped Chickadee, some Warblers and Swallows, the Starling and the Rock Pigeon, the latter two having been introduced in Quebec and are found mainly in urban areas. Avian fauna includes birds of prey like the Golden Eagle, the Peregrine Falcon, the Snowy Owl and the Bald Eagle. Sea and semi-aquatic birds seen in Quebec are mostly the Canada Goose, the Double-crested Cormorant, the Northern Gannet, the European Herring Gull, the Great Blue Heron, the Sandhill Crane, the Atlantic Puffin and the Great Northern Loon. Many more species of land, maritime or avian wildlife are seen in Quebec, but most of the Quebec-specific species and the most commonly seen species are listed above.
Some livestock have the title of "Québec heritage breed", namely the Canadian horse, the Chantecler chicken and the Canadian cow. Moreover, in addition to food certified as "organic", Charlevoix lamb is the first local Quebec product whose geographical indication is protected. Livestock production also includes the pig breeds Landrace, Duroc and Yorkshire and many breeds of sheep and cattle.
The Wildlife Foundation of Quebec and the Data Centre on Natural Heritage of Quebec (CDPNQ)(French acronym) are the main agencies working with officers for wildlife conservation in Quebec.
Given the geology of the province and its different climates, there is an established number of large areas of vegetation in Quebec. These areas, listed in order from the northernmost to the southernmost are: the tundra, the taiga, the Canadian boreal forest (coniferous), mixed forest and deciduous forest.
On the edge of the Ungava Bay and Hudson Strait is the tundra, whose flora is limited to a low vegetation of lichen with only less than 50 growing days a year. The tundra vegetation survives an average annual temperature of −8 °C (18 °F). The tundra covers more than 24% of the area of Quebec. Further south, the climate is conducive to the growth of the Canadian boreal forest, bounded on the north by the taiga.
Not as arid as the tundra, the taiga is associated with the sub-Arctic regions of the Canadian Shield and is characterized by a greater number of both plant (600) and animal (206) species, many of which live there all year. The taiga covers about 20% of the total area of Quebec. The Canadian boreal forest is the northernmost and most abundant of the three forest areas in Quebec that straddle the Canadian Shield and the upper lowlands of the province. Given a warmer climate, the diversity of organisms is also higher, since there are about 850 plant species and 280 vertebrates species. The Canadian boreal forest covers 27% of the area of Quebec. The mixed forest is a transition zone between the Canadian boreal forest and deciduous forest. By virtue of its transient nature, this area contains a diversity of habitats resulting in large numbers of plant (1000) and vertebrates (350) species, despite relatively cool temperatures. The ecozone mixed forest covers 11.5% of the area of Quebec and is characteristic of the Laurentians, the Appalachians and the eastern lowlands forests. The third most northern forest area is characterized by deciduous forests. Because of its climate (average annual temperature of 7 °C (45 °F)), it is in this area that one finds the greatest diversity of species, including more than 1600 vascular plants and 440 vertebrates. Its relatively long growing season lasts almost 200 days and its fertile soils make it the centre of agricultural activity and therefore of urbanisation of Quebec. Most of Quebec's population lives in this area of vegetation, almost entirely along the banks of the St. Lawrence. Deciduous forests cover approximately 6.6% of the area of Quebec.
The total forest area of Quebec is estimated at 750,300 square kilometres (289,700 sq mi). From the Abitibi-Témiscamingue to the North Shore, the forest is composed primarily of conifers such as the Abies balsamea, the Jack Pine, the white spruce, the black Spruce and the Tamarack. Some species of deciduous trees such as the Yellow Birch Yellow Birch appear when the river is approached in the south. The deciduous forest of the Saint Lawrence Lowlands is mostly composed of deciduous species such as the Sugar Maple, the Red Maple, the white Ash, the American beech, the Butternut (White Walnut), the American elm, the basswood, the Bitternut Hickory and the northern red oak as well as some conifers such as the Eastern White Pine and the Northern Whitecedar. The distribution areas of the Paper Birch, the Trembling Aspen and the Mountain Ash cover more than half of Quebec territory.
Indigenous peoples and European exploration
At the time of first European contact and later colonization, Algonquian, Iroquois 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, a branch of the Iroquois, lived more settled lives, planting squash and maize in the fertile soils of the St. Lawrence Valley. They appear to have been later supplanted by the Mohawk tribe. 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.
Basque whalers and fishermen traded furs with Saguenay natives throughout the 16th century. The first French explorer to reach Quebec was Jacques Cartier, who planted a cross in 1534 at either Gaspé or 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 archaeologists 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 Verrazzano persuaded King Francis I of France to commission an expedition to find a western route to Cathay (China). Late in 1523, Verrazzano set sail from Dieppe, crossing the Atlantic on a small caravel with 50 men. After exploring the coast of the present-day Carolinas early the following year, he headed north along the coast, eventually anchoring in what is now 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. Verrazzano's voyage convinced the king to seek to establish a colony in the newly discovered land. Verrazzano 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 Eurasian 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 travelled 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 Québec, 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 Saskatchewan 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 who 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 Algonquian 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 change 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 much harsher than that of 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. In 1689, the English–allied Mohawks attacked Lachine, committing the worst massacre in the history of New France. Many donnes (the assistants to the Jesuit priests) tried to convert the natives of New France during the 17th century.
Seven Years' War and capitulation of New France
Authorities in New France became more aggressive in their efforts to expel British traders and colonists from the Ohio Valley. They began construction of a series of fortifications to protect the area. In 1754, George Washington launched a surprise attack on a group of Canadien soldiers sleeping in the early morning hours. It came at a time when no declaration of war had been issued by either country. This frontier aggression known as the Jumonville affair set the stage for the French and Indian War (a US designation; in Canada it is usually referred to as the Seven Years' War, although French Canadians often call it La guerre de la Conquête ["The War of Conquest"]) 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 gaining 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 with only a rump set of colonies restricted principally to scattered territories and islands in the Caribbean.
After the capture of New France, the British implemented a plan to control the Canadiens and to 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 persuading 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.
The Battle of Sainte-Foy was the bloodiest battle in Quebec history. It was the last French victory during the Seven Years' War. It is interesting to note that the painting made by a British artist shows a glorious victory for England but the reality was quite different. The Battle of Sainte-Foy is sometimes called the Battle of Quebec.
François Gaston de Lévis encouraging his troops at the battle of Sainte-Foy.
With unrest growing in the colonies to the south, which would one day grow into the American Revolution, the British were worried that the French-speaking Canadians might also support the growing rebellion. At that time, French-speaking Canadians formed the vast majority of the population of the province of Quebec (more than 99%) and British immigration was not going well. To secure the allegiance of the approximately 90,000 French-speaking Canadians to the British crown, first Governor James Murray and later Governor Guy Carleton promoted the need for change. There was also a need to compromise between the conflicting demands of the French-speaking Canadian subjects and those of newly arrived British subjects. These efforts by the colonial governors eventually resulted in enactment of the Quebec Act of 1774.
The Quebec Act provided the people of Quebec their first Charter of Rights and 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 religious practice. Further, it restored the Ohio Valley to Quebec, reserving the territory for the fur trade. New France had thus been restored, so that it could play the same role as it did before the Conquest in North America.
Effects of the American Revolution
Although the Quebec Act was unrelated to the events in Boston of 1773, and was not regarded as one of the Coercive Acts, the timing of its passage led British colonists to the south to believe that it was part of the program to punish them. The Quebec Act offended a variety of interest groups in the British colonies. Land speculators and settlers objected to the transfer of western lands previously claimed by the colonies to a non-representative government. Many feared the establishment of Catholicism in Quebec, and that the French Canadians were being courted to help oppress British Americans.
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 reinforcements came down the St. Lawrence in May 1776 and the Battle of Trois-Rivières turned into a disaster for the Americans. The army withdrew 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.
In 1778, Frederick Haldimand took over for Guy Carleton as governor of Quebec. Haldimand, like the previous governors of the Province of Quebec, appreciated the hard-working Canadiens and acted in his power to keep the English merchants in line.
The arrival of 10,000 Loyalists at Quebec in 1784 destroyed the political balance that Haldimand (and Carleton before him) had worked so hard to achieve. The swelling numbers of English encouraged them to make greater demands for recognition with the colonial government. To restore stability to his largest remaining North American colony, King George III sent Carleton back to Quebec to remedy the situation.
In ten years, Quebec had undergone a dramatic change. What worked for Carleton in 1774 was not likely to succeed in 1784. Specifically, there was no possibility of restoring the previous political balance – there were simply too many English people unwilling to reach a compromise with the 145,000 Canadiens or their colonial governor. The situation called for a more creative approach to problem solving.
Separation of the Province of Quebec
Loyalists soon petitioned the government to be allowed to use the British legal system they were used to in the American colonies. The creation of Upper and Lower Canada in 1791 allowed most Loyalists to live under British laws and institutions, while the French-speaking population of Lower Canada could maintain their familiar French civil law and the Catholic religion.
The fact was that the two peoples simply could not co-exist. Therefore, Governor Haldimand (at the suggestion of Carleton) drew Loyalists away from Quebec City and Montreal by offering free land on the northern shore of Lake Ontario to anyone willing to swear allegiance to George III. The Loyalists were thus given land grants of 200 acres (81 ha) per person. Basically, this approach was designed with the intent of keeping French and English as far apart as possible. Therefore, after the separation of the Province of Quebec, Lower Canada and Upper Canada were formed, each with its own government.
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.
After the rebellions, Lord Durham was asked to undertake a study and prepare a report on the matter and to offer a solution for the British Parliament to assess. 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.
Painting of the Assembly of the Six Counties
Patriots during the siege of Saint-Eustache
The burning of the Parliament Buildings in Montreal occurred on the night of April 25, 1849. The St. Anne's Market building lodging the Legislative Council and Assembly of Canada was burned down by Anglo-protestant rioters in retaliation for the Rebellion Losses Bill while the members of the Legislative Assembly were sitting in session.
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.
As a result of those deliberations, in 1867 the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed the British North America Acts, providing for the Confederation of most of these provinces. The former Province of Canada was divided into its two previous parts as the provinces of Ontario (Upper Canada) and Quebec (Lower Canada). New Brunswick and Nova Scotia joined Ontario and Quebec in the new Dominion of Canada. The other provinces then joined the Confederation, one after the other: Manitoba and the Northwest Territories in 1870, British Columbia in 1871, Prince Edward Island in 1873, Yukon in 1898, Alberta and Saskatchewan in 1905, Newfoundland in 1949 and finally Nunavut in 1999.
Canada is a federal state and not a confederate association of sovereign states – the usual meaning of confederation — but is often considered to be among the world's more decentralized federations. In this Canadian context, confederation generally describes the political process that united the colonies in the 1860s and related events, and the subsequent incorporation of other colonies and territories.
Quebec at war
When the Great Britain had declared the war on August 4, 1914, Canada was automatically involved as a colony. About 6,000 volunteers from Quebec has participated in European front. Although reaction to conscription was favorable in English Canada the idea was deeply unpopular in Quebec. The Conscription Crisis of 1917 did much to highlight the divisions between French and English-speaking Canadians in Canada. During the first world war, the first french Canadian regiment was created under the name of 22e Bataillon d'infanterie and later renamed as Royal 22e Régiment. It was the first time since 1759 the francophones became responsible of the Citadelle de Québec and the defense of Quebec city. One of the most important contribution of Quebec during the war was during the Battle of Flers–Courcelette and during the Battle of Arras (1917). Between 1914 to 1918, the only francophone regiment involving during the war, lost 1 074 soldiers and 2 887 were injured which totaling 67% of the Royal 22e Regiment. During the second world war, the participation of Quebec was more important but lead to the conscription Crisis of 1944 and opposition. Many Quebecers fought against axis power between 1939 to 1945 with the involvement of many francophone regiments such as Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal, le Régiment de la Chaudière and many more. One of the most important contribution was during the battle of France, invasion of Italy, liberation of the Netherlands and the western Allied invasion of Germany. The contribution was also very important during the Battle of the Atlantic.
The conservative government of Maurice Duplessis and his Union Nationale dominated Quebec politics from 1944 to 1959 with the support of the Catholic Church. Pierre 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 hydroelectric companies under Hydro-Québec and the emergence of a pro-sovereignty movement under former Liberal minister René Lévesque.
During the Quiet Revolution, the government of Quebec invested heavily in the province's industries, in an attempt to modernize the economy and to encourage the development of francophone businesses. It was during this period that the government established the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the Régie des rentes and the Société générale de financement to promote the development of the industries in Quebec. In 1961, the Conseil d’orientation économique was established to promote economic growth of the regions of Quebec, growth which was once heavily funded by the Government of Canada.
With the Quiet Revolution, Quebecers affirmed their identity, especially in the arts, culture and language. It was during the revolution that the government of Quebec formed the Ministry of Culture which focused mainly on defending the French language and culture. The transformation of Quebec was also marked by the adoption of the Law on the assurance-hospitalisation, guaranteeing universal health care through a tax-funded public delivery system. In 1964, Quebec had recognized the equality between men and women and allows all women to have jobs which were once exclusively for men.
Beginning in 1963, a paramilitary group that became known as the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) launched a decade-long series of propaganda and terrorism that included 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 militants 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 whom 32 committed 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.
The Oka Crisis was a land dispute between a group of Mohawk people and the town of Oka beginning on July 11, 1990, and lasted until September 26, 1990.:130 One person died as a result.:134 The dispute was the first well-publicized violent conflict between First Nations and the Quebec government in the late 20th century. The crisis developed from a local dispute between the town of Oka and the Mohawk community of Kanesatake. The town of Oka was developing plans to expand a golf course and residential development onto land which had traditionally been used by the Mohawk. It included pineland and a burial ground, marked by standing tombstones of their ancestors. The Mohawks had filed a land claim for the sacred grove and burial ground near Kanesatake, but their claim had been rejected in 1986. On August 8, Quebec premier Robert Bourassa had announced at a press conference that he had invoked Section 275 of the National Defence Act to requisition military support in "aid of the civil power", a right available to provincial governments. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was reluctant to have the federal government and, in particular, the army, so involved. Under the act however, the solicitor general of the province, under direction from Premier Robert Bourassa, had the right to requisition the armed forces to maintain law and order as a provincial responsibility; this move had precedent in Canada, including two decades earlier during the October Crisis.
SQ officers and soldiers in front of a armoured fighting vehicle..
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 percent to 30 percent – 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 sovereigntist 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 percent of all Canadians and 57 percent 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.
On October 30, 1995, with the Parti Québécois back in power since 1994, a second referendum on sovereignty took place. This time, it was rejected by a slim majority (50.6 percent NO to 49.4 percent YES).
The referendum was enshrouded in controversy. Federalists complained that an unusually high number of ballots had been rejected in pro-federalist areas, notably in the largely Jewish and Greek riding of Chomedey (11.7 percent or 5,500 of its ballots were spoiled, compared to 750 or 1.7 percent in the general election of 1994) although Quebec's chief electoral officer found no evidence of outright fraud. Moreover, this accusation had been brought despite the fact that only 1.82% of total votes were rejected on a total participation rate of 93,5% which is lower than the normal rejection rate. The federal government was accused of not respecting provincial laws with regard to spending during referendums (leading to a corruption scandal that would become public a decade later, greatly damaging the Liberal Party's standing), and of having accelerated the naturalization of immigrants in Quebec before the referendum in order that they could vote, as naturalized citizens were believed more likely to vote no. (43,850 immigrants were naturalized in 1995, whereas the average number between 1988 and 1998 was 21,733.)
The same night of the referendum, an angry Jacques Parizeau, then premier and leader of the "Yes" side, declared that the loss was because of "Money and the ethnic vote". Parizeau resigned over public outrage and as per his commitment to do so in case of a loss. Lucien Bouchard became Quebec's new premier in his place.
Federalists accused the sovereigntist side of asking a vague, overly complicated question on the ballot. Its English text read as follows:
Do you agree that Québec should become sovereign after having made a formal offer to Canada for a new economic and political partnership within the scope of the bill respecting the future of Québec and of the agreement signed on June 12, 1995?
After winning the next election in 1998, Bouchard retired from politics in 2001. Bernard Landry was then appointed leader of the Parti Québécois and premier of Quebec. In 2003, Landry lost the election to the Quebec Liberal Party and Jean Charest. Landry stepped down as PQ leader in 2005, and in a crowded race for the party leadership, André Boisclair was elected to succeed him. He also resigned after the renewal of the Quebec Liberal Party's government in the 2007 general election and the Parti Québécois becoming the second opposition party, behind the Action Démocratique. The PQ has promised to hold another referendum should it return to government.
Statut particulier ("special status")
Given the province's heritage and the preponderance of French (unique among the Canadian provinces), there is an ongoing debate in Canada regarding the unique status (statut particulier) of Quebec and its people, wholly or partially. Prior attempts to amend the Canadian constitution to acknowledge Quebec as a 'distinct society' – referring to the province's uniqueness within Canada regarding law, language, and culture – have been unsuccessful; however, the federal government under Prime Minister Jean Chrétien would later endorse recognition of Quebec as a distinct society.
On October 30, 2003, the National Assembly of Quebec voted unanimously to affirm "that the people of Québec form a nation." On November 27, 2006, the House of Commons passed a symbolic motion moved by Prime Minister Stephen Harper declaring "that this House recognize that the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada." However, there is considerable debate and uncertainty over what this means.
At present, nationalism plays a large role in the politics of Quebec, with all three major provincial political parties seeking greater autonomy and recognition of Quebec's unique status. In recent years, much attention has been devoted to examining and defining the nature of Quebec's association with the rest of Canada.
In the most recent poll (January 2012) 43% of Quebecers supported separation. In April 2010, a minority of 39.9 percent of Quebecers supported separation and a majority of 52.8 percent opposed separation, with 7.3 percent undecided. The number of Quebecers who support separatism has remained relatively stable since the year 2000, hovering around at roughly 38–43 percent. There was a decline in support after the failed 1995 referendum, where voter support for separation was at 49.4 percent.
Since the 1960s, the proportion of Francophones who call themselves Quebecer rather than Canadian or French-Canadians has risen steadily: it increased from 21% in 1966 to 67% in 2007. Two polls realized by the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS), show that young Quebecers aged between 18-24, would vote "yes" at 58% to a referendum on Quebec independence. Quebecers aged between 25-34, 35-44 and 45–54 years old, the rate ranges between 69% to 78%.
According to a recent poll realized by Global News and Postmedia News, about 49% of Canadians are little concerned about a possible separation of Quebec. According to a recent poll realized by Abacus Data, about 26% of Canadians would be willing to vote for the expulsion of Quebec in the federation if they were given a chance to vote in a referendum. 52% would vote against and 22% of respondents did not know which way they would vote. Approximately 36% of Albertans would vote "Yes" in a referendum for the secession of Quebec, while the Ontarians would vote "No" by 56%. Approximately 88% of Canadians said all provinces "should be treated equally, even if this may offend the province of Quebec and cause a risk of separation". Only 12% of people would agreed to do everything in its power to keep Quebec within Canada, even if this requires a special status.
Expert from the Fraser Institute had declared recently, that the separation of Quebec would be better for the economy of Quebec and the economy of Canada. Twenty years ago, the same institute had declared the separation of Quebec would hurt the economy in Quebec. Researcher Robert Laplante from the Institut de recherche en économie contemporaine (IREC), said the Canadian federation is very far from helping the economy of Quebec. He said that even the province of Ontario could benefit a better economy if separated from Canada.
Government and politics
The Lieutenant Governor represents the Queen of Canada and acts as the province's head of state. The head of government is the premier (called premier ministre in French) who leads the largest party in the unicameral National Assembly, or Assemblée Nationale, from which the Executive Council of Quebec is appointed.
Until 1968, the Quebec legislature was bicameral, consisting of the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly. In that year, the Legislative Council was abolished and the Legislative Assembly was renamed the National Assembly. Quebec was the last province to abolish its legislative council.
The government of Quebec awards an order of merit called the National Order of Quebec. It is inspired in part by the French Legion of Honour. It is conferred upon men and women born or living in Quebec (but non-Quebecers can be inducted as well) for outstanding achievements.
The government of Quebec takes the majority of its revenue through the perception of a progressive income tax, a 9.5% sales tax and various other taxes (such as carbon, corporate and capital gains taxes), transfer payments from other provinces and direct payments. Quebec is the highest taxed jurisdiction in North America.
Quebec has subdivisions at the regional, supralocal and local levels. Excluding administrative units reserved for Aboriginal lands, the primary types of subdivision are:
At the regional level:
At the supralocal level:
- 86 regional county municipalities or RCMs (municipalités régionales de comté, MRC);
- 2 metropolitan communities (communautés métropolitaines).
At the local level:
- 1,117 local municipalities of various types;
- 11 agglomerations (agglomérations) grouping 42 of these local municipalities;
- within 8 local municipalities, 45 boroughs (arrondissements).
|Source: Statistics Canada|
In the 2011 census, Quebec had a population of 7,903,001 living in 3,395,343 of its 3,685,926 total dwellings, a 4.7% change from its 2006 population of 7,546,131. With a land area of 1,356,547.02 km2 (523,765.73 sq mi), it had a population density of 5.8/km2 (15.1/sq mi) in 2011. In 2013, Statistics Canada estimated the province's population to be 8,155,334.
At 1.69 children per woman, Quebec's 2011 fertility rate is above the Canada-wide rate of 1.61, and is higher than it was at the turn of the 21st century. 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 24% of the population of Canada, the number of international adoptions in Quebec is the highest of all provinces of Canada. In 2001, 42% of international adoptions in Canada were carried out in Quebec. By 2012, the population of Quebec reached 8 million, and it is projected to reach 9.2 million in 2056. Life expectancy in Quebec reached a new high in 2011, with an expectancy of 78.6 years for men and 83.2 years for women; this ranked as the third-longest life expectancy among Canadian provinces, behind those of British Columbia and Ontario.
All the tables in the following section have been reduced from their original size, for full tables see main article Demographics of Quebec.
Origins in this table are self-reported and respondents were allowed to give more than one answer.
|North American Indian||219,815||3%|
Percentages are calculated as a proportion of the total number of respondents (7,435,905) and may total more than 100 percent due to dual responses.
Only groups with 1.5 percent or more of respondents are shown.
The 2006 census counted a total aboriginal population of 108,425 (1.5 percent) including 65,085 North American Indians (0.9 percent), 27,985 Métis (0.4 percent), and 10,950 Inuit (0.15 percent). It should be noted however, that there is a significant undercount, as many of the biggest Indian bands regularly refuse to participate in Canadian censuses for political reasons regarding the question of aboriginal sovereignty. In particular, the largest Mohawk Iroquois reserves (Kahnawake, Akwesasne and Kanesatake) were not counted.
Nearly 9% of the population of Quebec belongs to a visible minority group. This is a lower percentage than that of British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta, and Manitoba but higher than that of the other five provinces. Most visible minorities in Quebec live in or near Montreal.
|Total visible minority population||654,355||8.8%|
Percentages are calculated as a proportion of the total number of respondents (7,435,905).
Only groups with more than 0.5 percent of respondents are shown
Quebec is unique among the provinces in its overwhelmingly Roman Catholic population. This is a legacy of colonial times when only Roman Catholics were permitted to settle in New France. The 2001 census showed the population to be 90.3 percent Christian (in contrast to 77 percent for the whole country) with 83.4 percent Catholic Christian (including 83.2 percent Roman Catholic); 4.7 percent Protestant Christian (including 1.2 percent Anglican, 0.7 percent United Church; and 0.5 percent Baptist); 1.4 percent Orthodox Christian (including 0.7 percent Greek Orthodox); and 0.8 percent other Christian; as well as 1.5 percent Muslim; 1.3 percent Jewish; 0.6 percent Buddhist; 0.3 percent Hindu; and 0.1 percent Sikh. An additional 5.8 percent of the population said they had no religious affiliation (including 5.6 percent who stated that they had no religion at all).
Percentages are calculated as a proportion of the total number of respondents (7,125,580)
The official language of Quebec is French. Quebec is the only Canadian province whose population is mainly francophone; 6,102,210 people (78.1 percent of the population) recorded it as their sole native language in the 2011 Census, and 6,249,085 (80.0%) recorded that they spoke it most often at home. Knowledge of French is widespread even among those who do not speak it natively; in 2011, about 94.4 percent of the total population reported being able to speak French, alone or in combination with other languages, while 47.3% reported being able to speak English.
In 2011, 599,230 people (7.7 percent of the population) people in Quebec declared English to be their mother tongue, and 767,415 (9.8 percent) used it most often as their home language The English-speaking community or Anglophones are entitled to services in English in the areas of justice, health, and education; services in English are offered in municipalities in which more than half the residents have English as their mother tongue. Allophones, people whose mother tongue is neither French nor English, made up 12.3 percent (961,700) of the population, according to the 2011 census, though a smaller figure - 554,400 (7.1 percent) - actually used these languages most often in the home.
A considerable number of Quebec residents consider themselves to be bilingual in French and English. In Quebec, about 42.6 percent of the population (3,328,725 people) report knowing both languages; this is the highest proportion of bilinguals of any Canadian province. In contrast, in the rest of Canada, in 2006 only about 10.2 percent (2,430,990) of the population had a knowledge of both of the country's official languages. Altogether, 17.5% of Canadians are bilingual in French and English.
In 2011, the most common mother tongue languages in the province were as follows: (Figures shown are for single-language responses only.)
Following were Creoles (0.8%), Chinese (0.6%), Greek (0.5%), Portuguese (0.5%), Romanian (0.4%), Vietnamese (0.3%), and Russian (0.3%). In addition, 152,820 (2.0%) reported having more than one native language.
English is not designated an official language by Quebec law. However, both English and French are required by the Constitution Act, 1867 for the enactment of laws and regulations and any person may use English or French in the National Assembly and the courts of Quebec. The books and records of the National Assembly must also be kept in both languages. Until 1969, Quebec was the only officially bilingual province in Canada and most public institutions functioned in both languages. English was also used in the legislature, government commissions and courts.
Since the 1970s, languages other than French on commercial signs have been permitted only if French is given marked prominence. This law has been the subject of periodic controversy since its inception. The written forms of French place-names in Canada retain their diacritics such as accent marks over vowels in English text. Legitimate exceptions are Montreal and Quebec. However, the accented forms are increasingly evident in some publications. The Canadian Style states that Montréal and Québec (the city) must retain their accents in English federal documents.
Quebec has an advanced, market-based, and open economy. In 2009, its gross domestic product (GDP) of US$ 32,408 per capita at purchasing power parity puts the province at par with Japan, Italy and Spain, but remains lower than the Canadian average of US$ 37,830 per capita.[citation not found] The economy of Quebec is ranked the 37th largest economy in the world just behind Greece and 28th for the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita.
The economy of Quebec represents 20.36% of the total GDP of Canada. Like most industrialized countries, the economy of Quebec is based mainly on the services sector. Quebec's economy has traditionally been fueled by abundant natural resources, a well-developed infrastructure, and average productivity. The provincial GDP in 2010 was C$ 319,348 billion, which makes Quebec the second largest economy in Canada.
The credit rating of Quebec is currently rated Aa2 according to Moody's rating agency and A+ by S&P. The Quebec economy has changed dramatically in recent years. Between 1995 and 2001, the credit rating of Quebec was rated A2 by Moody's, considered the worst rating in Quebec's history. The provincial debt has reached 47% of GDP in 2011 which represent approximately C$129 billion or C$16 642 per inhabitant. The government of Quebec has announced it will reduce the provincial debt by 25% by 2025.
Quebec's economy has undergone tremendous changes over the last decade. Firmly grounded in the knowledge economy, Quebec has one of the highest growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP) in Canada. The knowledge sector represents about 30.9% of Quebec's GDP. Quebec is experiencing faster growth of its R&D spending than other Canadian provinces. Quebec's spending in R&D in 2011 was equal to 2.63% of GDP, above the European Union average of 1.84% and will have to reaches the target of devoting 3% of GDP to research and development activities in 2013 according to the Lisbon Strategy. The percentage spent on research and technology (R&D) is the highest in Canada and higher than the averages for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the G7 countries. Approximately 1.1 million Quebecers work in the field of science and technology.
Quebec is also a major player in several leading-edge industries including aerospace, information technologies and software and multimedia. Approximately 60% of the production of the Canadian aerospace industry are from Quebec, where sales totaled C$ 12.4 billion in 2009. Quebec is one of North America's leading high-tech player. This vast sector encompassing approximately 7,300 businesses and employ more than 145,000 people. Pauline Marois has recently unveiled a two billions dollars budget for the period between 2013 to 2017 in order to create about 115,000 new jobs in knowledge and innovation sectors. The government promises to provide about 3% of Quebec's GDP in research and development (R&D).
Approximately 180 000 Quebeckers are currently working in different field of information technology. Approximately 52% of Canadian companies in these sectors are based in Quebec, mainly in Montreal and Quebec City. There are currently approximately 115 telecommunications companies established in the province, such as Motorola and Ericsson . About 60 000 people currently working in computer software development. Approximately 12 900 people working in over 110 companies such as IBM, CMC, and Matrox. The multimedia sector is also dominated by the province of Quebec. Several companies, such as Ubisoft settled in Quebec since the late 1990s.
The pulp and paper industries generate annual shipments valued at more than $14 billion. The forest products industry ranks second in exports, with shipments valued at almost $11 billion. It is also the main, and in some circumstances only, source of manufacturing activity in more than 250 municipalities in the province. The forest industry has slowed in recent years because of the softwood lumber dispute. This industry employs 68,000 people in several regions of Quebec. This industry accounted for 3.1% of Quebec's GDP.
Agri-food industry plays an important role in the economy of Quebec. It accounts for 8% of the Quebec's GDP and generate $19.2 billion. This industry generated 487,000 jobs in agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing of food, beverages and tobacco and food distribution.
Imports and exports
In 2008, Quebec exports elsewhere in Canada and in the world totaled 157.3 billion Canadian dollars, or 51.8% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Of this total, the share of international exports is 60.4% compared with 39.6% for interprovincial exports. The breakdown by destination of international exports of goods is: United States (72.2%), Europe (14.4%), Asia (5.1%) Middle East (2.7%), Central America (2.3%), South America (1.9%), Africa (0.8%) and Oceania (0.7%). In 2008, Quebec imports C$ 178.0 billion in goods and services, or 58.6% of GDP. International imports up 62.9% of the total compared with 37.1% for interprovincial imports. The breakdown by source of international merchandise imports is as follows: United States (31.1%), Europe (28.7%), Asia (17.1%), Africa (11.7%), South America (4.5%), Central America (3.7%), Middle East (1.3%) and Oceania (0.7%).
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), grants Quebec, among other things, the access to a market of 130 million consumers within 1,000 kilometres (620 mi). With the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the NAFTA, Quebec is increasing its ability to compete internationally. Following these agreements, trade relations with other countries were boosted. As a result, Quebec has seen its exports increase significantly. These international trade contribute to the strength of the Quebec economy, especially concerning employment.
In 2010, Quebec exports declined by 0.6% compared to previous years. Exports to the United States have remained fairly stable while those to Europe surged by 46.3% and sales to Asia were down 12.8%. The unemployment rate in Quebec is around 7%.
Several prominent Quebec companies work within the international market: the producers of pulp and paper Cascades and AbitibiBowater, the milk producer Agropur, the manufacturer of transport Bombardier, the company of information technology CGI, the Cirque du Soleil, the convenience stores Couche-Tard, the Garda (security company), the energy distributor Gaz Métro, the marketing firm Cossette Communication Group, the media and telecommunications company Quebecor, the accounting firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, the Saputo empire and the Vachon bakery, the engineering and construction group SNC-Lavalin, etc.
Development and security of land transportation in Canada are provided by the ministère des Transports du Québec. Other organizations, such as the Canadian Coast Guard and Nav Canada, provide the same service for the sea and air transportation. The Commission des transports du Québec works with the freight carriers and the public transport.
The réseau routier québécois (Quebec road network) is managed by the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) (Quebec Automobile Insurance Corporation) and consists of about 185,000 kilometres (115,000 mi) of highways and national, regional, local, collector and forest roads. In addition, Quebec has almost 12,000 bridges, tunnels, retaining walls, culverts and other structures such as the Quebec Bridge, the Laviolette Bridge and the Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine Bridge-Tunnel.
In the waters of the St. Lawrence there are eight deep-water ports for the transhipment of goods. In 2003, 3886 cargo and 9.7 million tonnes of goods transited the Quebec portion of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Concerning the rail transport, Quebec has 6,678 kilometres (4,150 mi) of railways integrated in the large North American network. Although primarily intended for the transport of goods through companies such as the Canadian National (CN) and the Canadian Pacific (CP), the Quebec railway network is also used by inter-city passengers via Via Rail Canada and Amtrak. In April 2012, plans were unveiled for the construction of an 800 km (497 mi) railway running north from Sept-Îles, to support mining and other resource extraction in the Labrador Trough.
The upper air network includes 43 airports that offer scheduled services on a daily basis. In addition, the Government of Quebec owns airports and heliports to increase the accessibility of local services to communities in the Basse-Côte-Nord and northern regions.
Various other transport networks crisscross the province of Quebec, including hiking trails, snowmobile trails and bike paths; the Green Road being the largest with nearly 4,000 kilometres (2,500 mi) in length.
Science and technology
The government of Quebec has launched the Stratégie québécoise de la recherche et de l’innovation (SQRI) in 2007 which aims to promote development through research, science and technology. The government hopes to create a strong culture of innovation in Quebec for the next decades and to create a sustainable economy. The spending on research and development reached some 7.824 billion dollars in 2007, roughly the equivalent of 2.63% of Quebec's GDP. Quebec is ranked, as of March 2011, 13th in the world in terms of investment in research and development. The research and development expenditures will be more than 3% of the province's GDP in 2013. The R&D expenditure in Quebec is higher than the average G7 and OECD countries. Science and technology are key factors in the economic position of Quebec. More than one million people in Quebec are employed in the science and technology sector.
Quebec is considered as one of world leaders in fundamental scientific research, having produced ten Nobel laureates in either physics, chemistry, or medicine. It is also considered as one of the world leaders in sectors such as aerospace, information technology, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, and therefore plays a significant role in the world's scientific and technological communities. Quebec is also active in the development of its energy industries, including renewable energy such as hydropower and wind power. Quebec has had over 9,469 scientific publications in the sector of medicine, biomedical research and engineering since the year 2000. Overall, the province of Quebec count about 125 scientific publications per 100,000 inhabitants in 2009. The contribution of Quebec in science and technology represent approximately 1% of the researches worldwide since 1980s to 2009. Between 1991 to 2000, Quebec produced more scientific papers per 100,000 inhabitants than the United States and Germany.
The Canadian Space Agency was established in Quebec due to its major role in this research field. A total of three Quebecers have been in space since the creation of the CSA: Marc Garneau, Julie Payette and Guy Laliberté. Quebec has also contributed to the creation of some Canadian artificial satellites including SCISAT-1, ISIS, Radarsat-1 and Radarsat-2.
The province is one of the world leaders in the field of space science and contributed to important discoveries in this field. One of the most recent is the discovery of the complex extrasolar planets system HR 8799. HR 8799 is the first direct observation of an exoplanet in history. Olivier Daigle and Claude Carignan, astrophysicists from Université de Montréal have invented an astronomical camera approximately 500 times more powerful than those currently on the market. It is therefore considered as the most sensitive camera in the world. The Mont Mégantic Observatory was recently equipped with this camera.
Quebec ranks among the world leaders in the field of life science. Quebec has more than 450 biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies which together employ more than 25,000 people and 10,000 highly qualified researchers. Montreal is ranked 4th in North America for the number of jobs in the pharmaceutical sector.
Marc Garneau was one of the first Canadian Astronauts and he became the first Canadian in outer space in October 1984.
Quebec has been described as a potential clean energy superpower. The energy balance of Quebec has undergone a large shift over the past 30 years. In 2008, electricity ranked as the main form of energy used in Quebec (41.6%), followed by oil (38.2%) and natural gas (10.7%).
Quebec is the fourth largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world after China, Brazil and the United States and relies almost exclusively (96% in 2008) on this source of renewable energy for its electricity needs.
Government-owned Hydro-Québec has a virtual monopoly on the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in Quebec. With 60 hydroelectric and one nuclear power plant, Hydro-Quebec is the largest producer of electricity in Canada and the single largest hydroelectric generation company in the world In 2010, the company owned a total generation capacity of 36,671 megawatts and sold 192.8 terawatt-hours of electricity.
The abundance of natural resources gives Quebec an advantageous position on the world market. Quebec stands out particularly in the mining sector, ranking among the top ten areas to do business in mining. It also stands for the exploitation of its forest resources.
Quebec is remarkable for the natural resources of its vast territory. It has about 30 mines, 158 exploration companies and fifteen primary processing industries. Many metallic minerals are exploited, the principals are gold, iron, copper and zinc. Many other substances are extracted including titanium, asbestos, silver, magnesium, nickel and many other metals and industrial minerals. However, only 40% of the mineral potential of Quebec is currently known. In 2003, the value of mineral exploitation reached Quebec 3.7 billion Canadian dollars. Moreover, as a major centre of exploration for diamonds, Quebec has seen, since 2002, an increase in its mineral explorations, particularly in the Northwest as well as in the Otish Mountains and the Torngat Mountains.
The vast majority (90.5%) of Quebec's forests are publicly owned. Forests cover more than half of Quebec's territory, for a total area of nearly 761,100 square kilometres (293,900 sq mi). The Quebec forest area covers seven degrees of latitude.
More than a million lakes and rivers cover Quebec, occupying 21% of the total area of its territory. The aquatic environment is composed of 12.1% of fresh water and 9.2% of saltwater (percentage of total QC area).
Tourism plays an important role in the economy of Quebec. Tourism represents 2.5% of Quebec's GDP and nearly 400,000 people are employed in the tourism sector. Nearly 30,000 businesses are related to this industry, of which 70% are located outside of Montreal and Quebec City. In 2011, Quebec welcomed 26 million foreign tourists, most of them from the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico and Japan.
The province of Quebec has 22 tourist regions, each of which presents its geography, its history and culture. The capital, Quebec City, is the only fortified city in North America and has its own European cachet. The oldest Francophone city in North America, Quebec City was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985 and has celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2008. Montreal is the only Francophone metropolis in North America and also the second largest Francophone city after Paris in terms of population. This major centre of 3.6 million inhabitants is a tapestry of cultures from the world over with its many neighbourhoods, including Chinatown, the Latin Quarter, the Gay Village, Little Italy, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, the Quartier International and Old Montreal. Montreal has a rich architectural heritage, along with many cultural activities, sports events and festivals.
The province of Quebec has over 400 museums including the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, which is the oldest museum in Canada and one of the most important art institutions. It is Montreal's largest museum and is amongst the most prominent in Canada.
Quebec is also a religious tourism destination. The Basilique Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré and Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal are the most popular religious site in the province. In 2005, the Oratory was added to the List of National Historic Sites of Canada on the occasion of its 100th anniversary. Quebec has over 130 church and Cathedrals. All of which bear witness to the many origins that colonized the region.
Environmental and energy policy
Since 2006, Quebec has a green plan in order to achieve the objective of the Kyoto protocol on climate change. The Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et des Parcs du Québec (Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks) is primarily responsible for implementing environmental policy. For its part, the Société des établissements de plein air du Québec (SEPAQ) is the lead agency for the management of national parks and wildlife reserves. Quebec currently protects nearly 8.12% (135,326 km2) of its territory. The first protected area was the creation of Parc du Mont-Royal in 1876 followed by the Parc national du Mont-Tremblant in 1894.
The Quebec government has been working to introduce the electric car since 1994, including contributing financing for technologies such as the TM4 MФTIVE, an electric motor designed and manufactured in Quebec. Hydro-Québec has recently tested more than 50 i-MiEV in order to gradually introduce the charging stations across the province. This is the largest pilot test of electric cars in Canada. Quebec was the first province in Canada to allowed the ZENN car to drive on the roads.
On November 23, 2009, Premier Jean Charest had announced targets for reducing greenhouse gases during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Quebec will cut its emissions by 20% by the year 2020 compared to international reference of 1990. On January 14, 2010, a new law came into force to reduce greenhouse gases from automobiles which represent 40% of Quebec GHGs. This new law stipulates that car manufacturers serving the territory of Quebec must meet an emission ceiling of 187 grams of GHG/km or approximatively 7.7 L/100 km. This level must be reduced annually up to 127 grams of GHG/km or approximatively 5.3 L/100 km in the year 2016. These standards are as stringent as those in California (United States), according to the Government of Quebec. The provincial government plans to offer up to 8,000$ rebate towards the purchase of an electric car. The government hopes that by 2020, a quarter of cars purchased in Quebec will be electric. The plan would position Quebec as a world leader in electrified transportation according to Jean Charest.
Quebec became the first region in North America to set a carbon tax. Since 2007, consumers pay a special tax on gasoline. Since July 2011, Quebec has imposed a carbon tax that affect more than 85% of industries in the province. This tax will be mandatory from 2013. The sectors affected by this carbon tax will have to reduced their carbon dioxide below 25 000 kilotonnes per year. Only the forest industry, agriculture and waste industries are not affected by this tax. In addition, the Quebec government plans to recover 60% of putrescible organic matter by 2015 in order to reduce its emissions. Quebec climate policy has been harshly criticised by the federal government under Prime minister Stephen Harper. In 2010, former minister Jim Prentice has openly criticized Quebec's plan to set GHG standards for motor vehicles sold in the province, describing it as "lunatic". However, ten months later, Prentice successor, John Baird, has praised Quebec as a world leader in GHG abatement.
On February 8, 2007, Quebec Premier Jean Charest announced the setting up of a Commission tasked with consulting Quebec Society on the matter of arrangements regarding cultural diversity. The Premier's press release reasserted the three fundamental values of Quebec society:
Equality between men and women, primacy of the French language, and separation of church and state constitute the fundamental values. They are not subject to any arrangement. They cannot be subordinated by any other principle.
Quebec society bases its cohesion and specificity on a set of statements, a few notable examples of which include:
- The Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms
- The Charter of the French Language
- The Civil Code of Quebec
Music and dance
Being a modern cosmopolitan society, today, all types of music can be found in Quebec. From folk music to hip-hop, music has always played an important role in Quebercers culture. From La Bolduc in 1920s–1930s to the contemporary artists, the music in Quebec has announced multiple songwriters and performers, pop singers and crooners, music groups and many more. Here are photos of two of Quebec's most popular artists of the last century: the singers Félix Leclerc (1950s) and Céline Dion (present). The First Nations and the Inuit of Quebec also have their own traditional music.
From Quebec's musical repertoire, the song A La Claire Fontaine was the anthem of the New France, Patriots and French Canadian, then replaced by the O Canada. Currently, the song Gens du pays is by far preferred by many Quebecers to be the national anthem of Quebec. The Association québécoise de l'industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo (ADISQ) was created in 1978 to promote the music industry in Quebec. The Orchestre symphonique de Québec and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal are respectively associated with the Opéra de Québec and the Opéra de Montreal whose performances are presented at the Grand Théâtre de Québec and at Place des Arts. The Ballets Jazz de Montreal, the Grands Ballets and La La La Human Steps are three important professional troups of contemporary dance.
Various musical events are held throughout Quebec, such as the Festival d'été de Québec, the Emerging Music Festival of Rouyn-Noranda, Festival en chanson de Petite-Vallée, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the Granby International Song Festival, the International Festival of Rhythms of the World in Saguenay, the Festival Western de Saint-Tite, the Montreal FrancoFolies festival, the Mondial des Cultures of Drummondville, the White Nights of Anse de Roche, Woodstock en Beauce, etc. Other festivals join music to fireworks, such as Grand Feux Loto-Québec at the Montmorency Falls, Quebec City, the International Loto-Québec Firework at amusement park La Ronde, Montreal, or the Grands Feux du Casino in the park of Lac-Leamy in Gatineau.
Traditional music is imbued with many dances, such as the jig, the quadrille, the reel and line dancing, which developed in the festivities since the early days of colonization. Various instruments are more popular in Quebec's culture: harmonica (music-of-mouth or lip-destruction), fiddle, spoons, jaw harp and accordion. The podorythmie is a characteristic of traditional Quebec music and means giving the rhythm with the feet. Quebec traditional music is currently provided by various contemporary groups seen mostly during Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations, Quebec National Holiday and many local festivals.
Film, television, and radio
The Cinémathèque québécoise has a mandate to promote the film and television heritage of Quebec. Similarly, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), a federal Crown corporation, provides for the same mission in Canada. In a similar way, the Association of Film and Television in Quebec (APFTQ) promotes independent production in film and television. While the Association of producers and directors of Quebec (APDQ) represents the business of filmmaking and television, the Association of Community Radio Broadcasters of Quebec (ARCQ)(French acronym) represents the independent radio stations. Several movie theatres across Quebec ensure the dissemination of Quebec cinema. With its cinematic installations, such as the Cité du cinéma and Mel's studios, the city of Montreal is home to the filming of various productions. The State corporation Télé-Québec, the federal Crown corporation CBC, general and specialized private channels, networks, independent and community radio stations broadcast the various Quebec téléromans, the national and regional news, interactive and spoken programmations, etc. Les Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois is a festival surrounding the ceremony of the Jutra Awards Night that rewards work and personalities of Quebec cinema. The Artis and the Gemini Awards gala recognize the personalities of television and radio industry in Quebec and French Canada. The Film Festival of the 3 Americas, Quebec City, the Festival of International Short Film, Saguenay, the World Film Festival and the Festival of New Cinema, Montreal, are other annual events surrounding the film industry in Quebec.
Literature and theatre
From New France, Quebec literature was first developed in the travel accounts of explorers such as Jacques Cartier, Jean de Brébeuf, the Baron de La Hontan and Nicolas Perrot, describing their relations with indigenous peoples. The Moulin à paroles traces the great texts that have shaped the history of Quebec since its foundation in 1534 until the era of modernity. The first to write the history of Quebec, since its discovery, was the historian François-Xavier Garneau. This author will be part of the current of patriotic literature (also known as the "poets of the country" and literary identity) that will arise after the Patriots Rebellion of 1837–1838.
Various tales and stories are told through oral tradition, such as, among many more, the legends of the Bogeyman, the Chasse-galerie, the Black Horse of Trois-Pistoles, the Complainte de Cadieux, the Corriveau, the dancing devil of Saint-Ambroise, the Giant Beaupré, the monsters of the lakes Pohénégamook and Memphremagog, of Quebec Bridge (called the Devil's Bridge), the Rocher Percé and of Rose Latulipe, for example.
Many Quebec poets and prominent authors marked their era and today remain anchored in the collective imagination, like, among others, Philippe Aubert de Gaspé, Octave Crémazie, Honoré Beaugrand, Émile Nelligan, Lionel Groulx, Gabrielle Roy, Hubert Aquin, Michel Tremblay, Marie Laberge, Fred Pellerin and Gaston Miron. The regional novel from Quebec is called Terroir novel and is a literary tradition specific to the province. It includes such works as The Old Canadians, Maria Chapdelaine, Un homme et son péché, Le Survenant, etc. There are also many successful plays from this literary category, such as Les Belles-sœurs and Broue (Brew).
Among the theatre troupes are the Compagnie Jean-Duceppe, the Théâtre La Rubrique at the Pierrette-Gaudreault venue of the Institut of arts in Saguenay, the Théâtre Le Grenier, etc. In addition to the network of cultural centres in Quebec, the venues include the Monument-National and the Rideau Vert (green curtain) Theatre in Montreal, the Trident Theatre in Quebec City, etc. The National Theatre School of Canada and the Conservatoire de musique et d'art dramatique du Québec form the future players. The summer theatre is a true symbol of Quebec literature. Presented in the summer, it offers a variety of amusements, usually musicals or humorous dramas, sometimes outdoors, in rural and semi-rural regions of Quebec, in venues such as the theatre of la Dame de Cœur (the Lady of Heart) in Upton, Montérégie, the Grands Chênes (Great Oaks) Theatre in Kingsey Falls, Centre-du-Québec and the theatre of la Marjolaine in Eastmain, Estrie. The Quebec Theatre Academy and the Quebec Association of Playwrights (AQAD) are the main organizations for the promotion of literature and theatre in Quebec. The Quebec literary awards, including the Medal of the Académie des lettres du Québec, and the Soirée des Masques reward the important personalities of the year.
First influenced, since the days of New France, by Catholicism, with works from Frère Luc (Brother Luke) and more recently from Ozias Leduc and Guido Nincheri, art of Quebec has developed around the specific characteristics of its landscapes and cultural, historical, social and political representations.
Thus, the development of Quebec masterpieces in painting, printmaking and sculpture is marked by the contribution of artists such as Louis-Philippe Hébert, Cornelius Krieghoff, Alfred Laliberté, Marc-Aurèle Fortin, Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté, Jean-Paul Lemieux, Clarence Gagnon, Adrien Dufresne, Alfred Pellan, Jean-Philippe Dallaire, Charles Daudelin, Arthur Villeneuve, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Paul-Émile Borduas and Marcelle Ferron.
The Fine arts of Quebec are displayed at the Quebec National Museum of Fine Arts, the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Quebec Salon des métiers d'art and in many art galleries. While many works decorate the public areas of Quebec, others are displayed in foreign countries such as the sculpture Embâcle (Jam) by Charles Daudelin on Québec Place in Paris and the statue Québec Libre! (free Quebec!) by Armand Vaillancourt in San Francisco. The Montreal School of Fine Arts forms the painters, printmakers and sculptors of Quebec.
Various buildings reflect the architectural heritage that characterizes Quebec, such as religious buildings, city halls, houses of estates, etc.
Humour and youth programs
Several comedy festivals were created in Quebec, including the festival Just for Laughs in Montreal, which enjoys an international reputation, and the Grand Rire festival of Québec, Gatineau and Sherbrooke. Several prominent Quebec artists and humorous groups are known nationally and internationally, such as Rose Ouellette (known as La Poune), Juliette Petrie, Stéphane Rousseau, Roméo Pérusse, Gilles Latulippe, Yvon Deschamps, Marc Favreau (famous for his character of Sol, a hobo clown), Michael Noël (and the character of Captain Bonhomme), Jacques Desrosiers (performer of the famous clown Patof), Serge Thériault and Claude Meunier (as Ding et(and) Dong), Les Grandes Gueules, Lise Dion, Jean-Michel Anctil, Martin Matte and Louis-José Houde, to name only a few. Some humorous programs are or were also popular such as Cré Basile, Le Zoo du Capitaine Bonhomme, Lundi des Ha! Ha! (Monday, Ha! Ha!), Démons du midi (Midday Devils), La Petite Vie, Les Bougon, The sketch show (Quebec version), etc.
The National improvisation League (LNI), created in 1977, puts on scene number of actors and comedians in humorous shows joining the improvisation theatre to comedy. The National School of humour (École nationale de l'humour) was created in 1988 to form the next generations of Quebec comedians. The Association of professionals of the humour industry (APIH) was created in 1998 and is the premier organization for promoting and developing the cultural sector of humour in Quebec. The Gala Les Olivier, in honour of the former comedian Olivier Guimond, recognizes Quebec personalities of humour.
Children also have their comedy and animated cartoons such as The Surprise Box, Bobino, Le Pirate Maboule, Fanfreluche, the Ribouldingue, Les 100 tours de Centour, Patofville, Passe-Partout, Robin et Stella, Iniminimagimo, Vazimolo, Tele-Pirate, Bibi et Geneviève, Watatatow, Caillou, Cornemuse, Macaroni tout garni,Toc toc toc, Ramdam, Tactik and many more.
Circus and street art
Several circus troupes were created in recent decades, the most important being without any doubt the Cirque du Soleil. Among these troops are contemporary, travelling and on-horseback circuses, such as Les 7 Doigts de la Main, Cirque Éloize, Cavalia, Kosmogonia, Saka and Cirque Akya. Presented outdoors under a tent or in venues similar to the Montreal Casino, the circuses attract large crowds both in Quebec and abroad. In the manner of touring companies of the Renaissance, the clowns, street performers, minstrels, or troubadours travel from city to city to play their comedies. Although they may appear randomly from time to time during the year, they are always visible in the cultural events such as the Winterlude in Gatineau, the Quebec Winter Carnival, the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival, the Quebec City Summer Festival, the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal and the Festival of New France in Quebec.
The National Circus School and the École de cirque de Québec were created to train future Contemporary circus artists. For its part, Tohu, la Cité des Arts du Cirque was founded in 2004 to disseminate the circus arts.
The Cultural Heritage Fund is a program of the Quebec government for the conservation and development of Quebec's heritage, together with various laws. Several organizations ensure that same mission, both in the social and cultural traditions in the countryside and heritage buildings, including the Commission des biens culturels du Québec, the Quebec Heritage Fondation, the Conservation Centre of Quebec, the Centre for development of living heritage, the Quebec Council of living heri tage, the Quebec Association of heritage interpretation, etc.
Several sites, houses and historical works reflect the cultural heritage of Quebec, such as the Village Québécois d'Antan, the historical village of Val-Jalbert, the Fort Chambly, the national home of the Patriots, the Chicoutimi pulp mill (Pulperie de Chicoutimi), the Lachine Canal and the Victoria Bridge. Strongly influenced by the presence of the Catholic Church, the development of the religious history of Quebec is provided by organizations like the Council of the religious heritage of Quebec. Since 2007, the government promotes, with the various players in the field, the conclusion of agreements on the use of property belonging to episcopal factories and corporations to establish "partnerships in financing the restoration and renovation of religious buildings".
Various museums tell the cultural history of Quebec, like the Museum of Civilization, the Museum of French America, the McCord Museum or the Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History in Pointe-à-Callière, displaying artifacts, paintings and other remains from the past of Quebec. Many literary works reproduce the daily lives of the past, following the social and cultural traditions of Quebec television series reproducing the old days such as the trilogy of Pierre Gauvreau (Le Temps d'une paix, Cormoran and Le Volcan tranquille), La Famille Plouffe, Les Belles Histoires des Pays-d'en-Haut, La Petite Patrie, Entre chien et loup, Les Filles de Caleb, Blanche, Au nom du père et du fils, Marguerite Volant, Nos Étés or Musée Éden, among others.
The historical context of 'traditional' Quebec cuisine is from the fur trade period and many dishes have a high fat or lard content. From the early 17th century, French settlers populating North America were interested in a new cuisine to confront the climate and the needs arising from the work of colonization. Mindful of the same nutritional needs as settlers from Acadia, it has many similarities with Acadian cuisine. Quebec's cuisine has a strong French and Irish influence, although many aspects of Canadian aboriginal cuisine have also had a significant impact on Quebec cuisine. Quebec is most famous for its Tourtière, Pâté Chinois and Poutine. The temps des sucres (sugar season) is one of the oldest of Quebec culinary traditions. During springtime, many Quebecers go to the cabane à sucre (sugar house) for a traditional meal. The Jewish community of Montreal has contributed Montreal-style bagels and smoked meat which is similar to pastrami.
Quebec has produced beer since the beginning of colonization especially with the emergence of spruce beer. In 1668, Jean Talon founded a brewery in Quebec City, but it closed a decade later. Although many people tried to produce a beer between the 17th and 18th centuries, it is only since the 1980s that the industries had produced on a larger scale. Today there are nearly a hundred breweries and companies, including Unibroue, Molson Coors, Labatt and many others. Quebec also produces wine, ice wine and ice cider.
Quebec has produced cheese for centuries. The first cheese-making school in North America was established in Saint-Denis-de-Kamouraska in 1893. It was at this moment that the monks of La Trappe of Oka began to produce the famous Oka cheese. Today there are over 300 different cheeses in Quebec.
Montreal-style smoked meat from Schwartz's in Montreal
The Oka Cheese was originated in 1893. Since that time, Quebec has become a major producer of Canadian Cheese.
Sports in Quebec constitutes an essential dimension of Quebec culture. The practice of sports and outdoor activities in Quebec was influenced largely by its geography and climate. Ice hockey remains the national sport. This sport, which was played for the first time on March 3, 1875, at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal and promoted over the years by numerous achievements of the centenary of the Montreal Canadiens, still raises passions. Other major sports include Canadian Football with the Montreal Alouettes, soccer with the Montreal Impact, the Grand Prix du Canada Formula 1 racing with drivers such as Gilles Villeneuve and Jacques Villeneuve, and professional baseball with the former Montreal Expos. During its history, Quebec has hosted several major sporting events; including the 1976 Summer Olympics, the Fencing World Championships in 1967, track cycling in 1974, and the Transat Québec-Saint-Malo race created for the first time in 1984.
In 1939, the government of Quebec unilaterally ratified its coat of arms to reflect Quebec's political history: French rule (gold lily on blue background), British rule (lion on red background) and Canadian rule (maple leaves) and with Quebec's motto below "Je me souviens". Je me souviens ("I remember") was first carved under the coat of arms of Quebec's Parliament Building façade in 1883. It is an official part of the coat of arms and has been the official licence plate motto since 1978, replacing "La belle province" (the beautiful province). The expression La belle province is still used mostly in tourism as a nickname for the province.
The fleur-de-lis, the ancient symbol of the French monarchy, first arrived on the shores of the Gaspésie in 1534 with Jacques Cartier on his first voyage. When Samuel de Champlain founded Québec City in 1608, his ship hoisted the merchant flag of a white cross on a blue background. By 1758 at the Battle of Carillon, the Flag of Carillon would become the basis of Quebec's desire to have its own flag. By 1903, the parent of today's flag had taken shape, known as the "Fleurdelisé". The flag in its present form with its 4 white "fleur-de-lis" lilies on a blue background with a white cross replaced the Union Jack on Quebec's Parliament Building on January 21, 1948.
Other official symbols
- The floral emblem of Quebec is the Iris versicolor.
- Since 1987 the avian emblem of Quebec has been the Snowy Owl.
- An official tree, the yellow birch (bouleau jaune, merisier), symbolises the importance Quebecers give to the forests. The tree is known for the variety of its uses and commercial value, as well as its autumn colours.
In 1998 the Montreal Insectarium sponsored a poll to choose an official insect. The White Admiral butterfly (Limenitis arthemis) won with 32% of the 230 660 votes against the Spotted lady beetle (Coleomegilla maculata lengi), the Ebony Jewelwing damselfly (Calopteryx maculata), a species of bumble bee (Bombus impatiens) and the six-spotted tiger beetle (Cicindela sexguttata sexguttata).
Fête nationale (National Holiday)
In 1977, the Quebec Parliament declared June 24 to be Quebec's National Holiday. Historically June 24 was a holiday honouring French Canada's patron saint, St. John the Baptist, which is why it is commonly known as La Saint-Jean-Baptiste (often shortened to La St-Jean). On this day, the song "Gens du pays" by Gilles Vigneault is often heard and commonly regarded as Quebec's unofficial anthem. The festivities occur on June 23 and 24 and are celebrated all over Quebec. In cities like Québec and Montréal, great shows are organized in the main public places (such as the Abraham plains, Québec, or Maisonneuve Park, Montréal) where several of the most popular Quebec artists relay each others[clarification needed] until late at night.
- Office Québécois de la langue francaise. "Status of the French language". Government of Quebec. Retrieved November 10, 2010.
- The term Québécois (feminine: Québécoise), which is usually reserved for francophone Quebecers, may be rendered in English without both e-acute (é): Quebecois (fem.: Quebecoise). (Oxford Guide to Canadian English Usage; ISBN 0-19-541619-8; p. 335).
- "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, 2011 and 2006 censuses". Statistics Canada. January 30, 2013. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
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- According to the Canadian government, Québec (with the acute accent) is the official name in French and Quebec (without the accent) is the province's official name in English; the name is one of 81 locales of pan-Canadian significance with official forms in both languages. In this system, the official name of the capital is Québec in both official languages. The Quebec government renders both names as Québec in both languages.
- (Merriam & Webster 2003)
- Quebec is located in the eastern part of Canada, but is also historically and politically considered to be part of Central Canada (with Ontario).
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- Government of Quebec
- Quebec on the Open Directory Project
- Discover the Quebec in pictures, photos
- Bonjour Québec, Quebec government official tourist site
- CBC Digital Archives – Quebec Elections: 1960–1998
- Agora, online encyclopaedia from Quebec (French)
- The 1837–1838 Rebellion in Lower Canada, Images from the McCord Museum's collections
- Haldimand Collection, documents in relation with Province of Quebec during the American War of Independence (1775–1784)