Henri Bourassa, Francophone rights, 1905

Henri Bourassa was a journalist and intellectual in turn-of-the-century Quebec. He was for a time a Liberal MP in Laurier’s caucus, but was increasingly bitter about compromises over French language rights. Bourassa made this speech in the House of Commons 1905, when it was proposed that existing French language rights should not be applied to... Continue Reading →

Pierre Trudeau, no to Quebec sovereignty, 1980

Early in 1980, Premier René Lévesque and the Parti Quebecois launched a referendum on sovereignty association. Lévesque wanted voters to say yes to a sovereign Quebec that would form a commercial and trade association with the rest of Canada. Trudeau made only three campaign appearances, his last in the crowded, steaming Paul Sauvé arena in... Continue Reading →

René Lévesque, Quebec sovereignty, 1980

The separatist Parti Quebecois won the 1976 election on a platform of Quebec sovereignty. Premier René Lévesque soon announced that there would be a referendum on sovereignty association in May 1980. He made this major speech in the Quebec Assembly on March 4, 1980. “The time has come to choose the path to our future”... Continue Reading →

Jean Chretien, Quebec referendum, 1995

The Parti Quebecois called a sovereignty referendum for October 1995, and polls indicated the PQ might win. Belatedly, Prime Minister Jean Chretien joined the fray, and on October 25 he made this televised address to Canadians. He played on love of country, and the serious economic consequences for Quebec if it chose to separate. "What... Continue Reading →

Pierre Trudeau, October crisis, 1970

In October 1970, the Front de Libération du Quebec, a separatist group, kidnapped Pierre Laporte, the province’s labour minister, and James Cross, a British diplomat. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act. On 16 October 1970, a sombre Trudeau appeared on national television to explain and defend his decision to citizens of the... Continue Reading →

Lionel Groulx, no to bilingualism, 1943

Abbé Lionel Groulx was a priest, an historian and a leading Quebec intellectual until his death in 1967. He was described by some as the spiritual father of Quebec and by others as a messianic nationalist. Groulx preferred isolation to closer French-English relations and was opposed to bilingualism. He gave this speech in Montreal in... Continue Reading →

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