The Quiet Revolution was the rapid secularisation of Quebec during the 1960s & early 1970s. The Quiet revolution had a huge leap of independence for Quebecker’s during the 1960’s. It also had a drastic change by the federal government to keep the French culture alive. This brings up the question, how revolutionary was the Quiet Revolution? Throughout the Quiet Revolution Quebecois’ achieved Political stability, reached economic fairness, and preserved the French Language.
Firstly, the Quiet Revolution had political changes to Quebec. Some of the changes were that Duplessis was determined to stop any federal government interference in Quebec, many political groups and politicians began to arise, and also anti-government groups began to arise. Duplessis was determined to stop any federal government interference in Quebec’s affairs and to develop Quebec’s resources. He refused some federal programs and grants for education and health care that would affect traditional life and values in Quebec1. Duplessis also wanted to stop any Canadian federal funding assistance and programs for grants educational and health care2. As the identity of French Canadian culture became abundant, many political groups and politicians began to arise.
Certain leaders such as Jean Lesage the Liberal leader after Duplessis, wanted to reform the educational system ran by the Catholic Church and to equip in business technology3. Daniel Johnston, the premier of Quebec, wanted to give Quebec special status in Confederation including control over economics, social welfare and housing tax dollar. And Rene Levesque, founder of the Parti Quebecois, who believed in Sovereignty in the separation of Quebec4. Anti-government also began to rise. The FLQ (Front de Liberation du Quebec) believed in separatism “to break free from Canada”. Founded in 1963, these anarchists who struggle for not only for the political independence of Quebec, but a total revolution. The Quiet Revolution made a huge impact to the political needs of Quebec.
Secondly, Quebeckers were treated unfairly in economic standards. The economic standards affected the Quebeckers on how huge the wage and pay between a French Quebecker from an English Quebecker, the Lesage government wanted to improve the economic and social standards of Quebec, and the government took control of the hydroelectric companies.
Quebeckers of British origin were at the top of the economic ladder. Their average annual wage in 1960 was $4940. Average wages then declined through a number of other largely English-speaking ethnic groups: Scandinavian, Jewish, German, Polish, and Asian. Almost at the bottom of the economic ladder were French-Canadian Quebeckers. Their average annual wage was $3185.5
Quebeckers were treated unfairly in economic standards, with having the largest unemployment rate in all of Canada 8.9 percent to Ontario of just 3.9 percent. After the era of the Iron Fist, Liberal leader Jean Lesage became Premier of Canada. Lesage promised two things during his term. The former was to improve the economic and social standards of Quebec6. The latter was to win greater recognition for French speaking people. Control over the hydroelectric power would give Quebeckers more say in their economic future. The government also supported the building of the Manicouagan Power Dam, one of the largest in the world. French-Canadian engineers from all parts of Canada returned to Quebec to work on the project7. Therefore the Quebeckers were treated unfairly in economic standards.
Lastly, the Quiet Revolution preserved the French language. “The official languages act.” Formulated on September 9 1969 by B and B commission and passed by the the former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, a Quebec born citizen. The goal and purpose of this act was to declare both English and French the official language of Canada. To enjoy equal status and rights of French and English Canadians and also to communicate in either language in the federal government. But several generations of change in culture caused a great dilemma for Quebec. Due to the declining birth rate, which was a high of close to 30 per 1 000 inhabitants in the late 1950’s Quebec’s birth rate dropped to a staggering 17 per 1 000 population by 1967. More than half of its natural birth rate. Making Quebec below the national birthrate in over 200 years, and the act seemed more so irrelevant.
Quebec had a very deep language crisis identity phase with the use of their language during the 1960’s. As a number of Non-French, European immigrants entered Canada there was a dispute on how the educational school system should teach their children. The majority of immigrants choose to learn to speak English, rather than French. Believing that the English language was more of a vital essence and beneficial when residing within Canada. Many Quebeckers wanted to phase out the English-language education in school. Creating a dispute of the 1 000 000 English speaking minority over the 5 000 000 French speaking majority.
In conclusion, the Quiet Revolution was revolutionary due to the political stability it gave to Quebecois; it helped reach economic fairness and preserved the French Language by making it an official language of Canada. It changed the economic standards of Quebec by stopping any federal government interference in Quebec, political parties and politicians began to arise, and anti-government groups rose. Quebeckers were treated unfairly in economic standards due to huge difference in wage and pay between French Quebeckers and English Quebeckers, improve economic and social standards of Quebec and by letting the government take control of the hydroelectric companies. These are just some facts on how revolutionary the Quiet Revolution is.