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State

Capital

Quebec*

Quebec

Currency unit

Canadian dollar

Connections

Canada

Empire

France

Francophonie

North America

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

 Climate

History

The French settled the St.Lawrence valley and had a colony - New France - there. Quebec City was founded in 1608. It was named from a native word meaning "river narrows" (like Detroit).

From the base here they attempted to found an empire down the Mississippi valley as far as New Orleans (named for the heir to the French throne). This they named Louisiana after the king, Louis 14th but it never became profitable. It was later purchased for the United States.

New France was conquered by the British in 1763 but a French speaking community remained there. There have been few immigrants from France since then.

When Canada was established in its present form as a confederation the main French speaking area was recognized as the province of Quebec.

(There are also French speakers in New Brunswick (32%), Nova Scotia and some of the other Atlantic Provinces and Maine in the US).

However, the people of Quebec resented the fact that much of the business of Canada, and in Quebec itself, was in the hands of the majority Anglo community, although there have been many leading politicians in the Confederation who came from Quebec. In recent years, as the economy of Quebec has become stronger there has been a growing movement to separate from Canada. It is not now thought impossible for a sovereign Quebec to exist on its own, within the North American trading block. If Quebec did leave Canada there is a serious question about the future of the Anglo provinces. Would they wish to join the United States? Should North America become a quasi-federation like the European Community?

The rejection by Canadian voters of a referendum on constitutional change in October 1992 seems to make a sovereign Quebec more likely, along with a disruption of the existing Canadian confederation. The Native Americans of the north wish to remain in Canada.

In 1995 a referendum on separation was lost by a very small margin, but by 2002 polls show only 15% in favor of separation. For the time being this question seems to have subsided.

Languages

French (a rather archaic dialect)

English

 

Native langs.

 History

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

 Climate

Politics

Quebec has a provincial government like all other provinces of Canada. However, the party system is different with the Parti Quebecois playing a large part.

Nationalist policies of the Provincial government may take Quebec out of the Confederation. Already language laws - the use of English forbidden in outdoor displays and in schools - is causing the Province to become more separate. A series of constitutional crises have kept the situation in doubt, though the latest agreement in 1992 might finally have satisfied Quebec's politicians and peoples by giving them an effective veto over federal legislation through representation in the Senate - rejected by an all-Canadian referendum.

The 1993 federal election increased the Nationalist (Bloc Quebecois) representation. The September 1994 provincial elections returned the Parti Quebecois with a majority of seats (but only 45% of the vote). Would the people vote for independence? A referendum held October 1995 resulted in a small majority for the status quo. There are some signs that enthusiasm for separation is declining.

 History

 Politics

 Green

 Rights

 Climate

Economics

Formerly Quebec had an agricultural economy based on something like peasant farming, unusual in North America. Since the 1950s it has become an important industrial economy and the rural people have moved to the cities, as in other western countries.

There are immense reserves of hydroelectric power, especially in the northern parts of the province. Electricity is sold to the New York power companies.

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Rights

 Climate

Green/Ecology

There are doubts about the development of the northern territories and the flooding of traditional Inuit and Indian lands to produce hydroelectricity to sell to the United States and to aluminium companies. How far is it justifiable to flood lands used by hunter gatherers and completely disrupt their way of life? But in the world context, this is power that does not add carbon dioxide to the world's atmosphere. As the dangers of climate change are appreciated there will be pressure to harness even more of Quebec's northern rivers.

The St Laurence is badly polluted with heavy metals and organic chemicals, mainly from industry in the Great Lakes.

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

 Climate

Human Rights

Attempts to prevent the use of English would be considered illegal under the European Convention of Human Rights.

Climate effects

One degree
some amelioration of cold winters and slight lengthening of growing season.

Two degrees
probable influx of settlers from the United States as conditions there worsen.

Last revised 21/09/08


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