History of our movements

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Various movements for the political emancipation of the people of Quebec manifested themselves in our history, most taking the form of constitutional reformism.

1760 - 1791

British Conquest of Canada ~ Cession of Canada to Great Britain ~ Struggle for the recognition of property, language and religious rights ~ Letter to the Inhabitants of the Province of Quebec ~ Early struggles for the freedom of the press ~ Appel à la justice de l'État by Pierre du Calvet ~ Movement for a constitutional government including a House of Commons representing the people without regards to cult or origin

  • 1759 - Québec City falls to the British Army. Establishment of a 4-year military rule in Canada.
  • 1760 - On September 8, the government of New France capitulates in Montreal. The Canadiens are made British subjects. (Read the Articles of Capitulation of Montreal.)
  • 1762 - On November 13, the cession of Western Louisiana by France to Spain is recorded in the secret Treaty of Fontainebleau.
  • 1763 - On February 10th, the Treaty of Paris records the cession of Canada to the British Crown.
  • 1763 - On October 7, Georges III issues a Royal Proclamation. Canada, renamed the "Province of Quebec", becomes the 15th British colony in America. Establishment of English common law for criminal affairs. Because of the Test Oath, the majority of the population of Quebec is disqualified for all public officess. The Canadian Church, Nobility and People begin a political struggle for the recognition of their rights, though with different interests.
  • 1765 - First petition in favour of an elective assembly in the Province of Quebec.
  • 1770 - Petition for the full re-establishment of French civil laws.
  • 1773 - In December, petition for the full re-establishment of French civil laws.
  • 1774 - London passes the Quebec Act which re-established French civil laws, dispenses the Canadiens from the Test Oath, but remains silent on the question of an elective assembly.
  • 1774 - On October 26, the First Continental Congress writes a Letter to the Inhabitants of the Province of Quebec. The letter is translated in French, and printed by Fleury Mesplet in Philadelphia. It informed the Canadiens that the British government had violated their rights as British subjects by creating a crippled Parliament.
  • 1775 - Invasion of the province of Quebec by the Continental Army of the Congress. The revolutionary troops take Montréal, but are defeated on December 31 during the Battle of Quebec.
  • 1776 - On January 20, a regiment, that will be known as Congress' Own, is raised in Montreal. Commanded by Moses Hazen, it participated in the Battle of Trois-Rivières, the Battle of Brandywine, the Battle of Germantown and the Battle of Yorktown.
  • 1778 - La Gazette littéraire de Montréal is first published. Founded by Fleury Mesplet, this is the first French language newspaper in Quebec.
  • 1779 - The founder of La Gazette littéraire de Montréal is arrested and imprisoned.
  • 1783 - Following the official recognition of the independence of the former British American colonies by Great Britain, many of the Loyalists still remaining in the confederation begin emigrating to the Province of Quebec or Nova Scotia. A good number of them will settle in the Eastern Townships.
  • 1784 - Released from prison without ever getting a trial, Pierre du Calvet goes to London with the intention of putting mercenary governor Frederick Haldimand on trial for violating the constitutional rights of British subjects in the colony on several accounts. While in London, he publishes The Case of Peter du Calvet and a lampoon titled Appel à la justice de l'État.
  • 1789 - The French revolution begins with the taking of the Bastille.
  • 1790 - Foundation of the Société des patriotes de Montréal.

1791 - 1840

Colonial parliamentarism ~ Continued struggles for the freedom of the press ~ Deadlocks over the control of the budget by the elected house ~ Movement for constitutional reform ~ Popular mobilization against union with Upper Canada ~ Abolition of slavery ~ Political emancipation of the Jews ~ Société des Fils de la Liberté ~ Illegal and unconstitutional warrants to arrest reformist politicians ~ Armed resistance to the arrests in 1837 ~ Exile ~ Declaration of independence of Lower Canada ~ Invasion attempts of 1838 ~ Durham report ~ Forced union of 1840

  • 1791: Foundation of the Société des débats libres de Montréal.
  • 1791: Westminster enacts a new constitution for the Province of Quebec. The Constitutional Act divides the former colony along ethnic lines: West of the Ottawa river is now Upper Canada, newly populated by Loyalist immigrants. To the East of the same river is Lower Canada. Lower Canada keeps its civil institutions and laws, whereas new British institutions are created in Upper Canada. Both are given a Parliament, with an appointed Legislative Council, and appointed Executive Council, and an elected Legislative Assembly house whose power will be battled against for the next decades.
  • 1792: First elections under the Constitutional Act. 15 British are elected for about 6.67% of the population and 30 Canadians for 93.33% of the population of Lower Canada. The first session of the Legislative Assembly starts the language debate.
  • 1793: On January 27, Lower Canada born Jean Basset presents a memoir to the French National Convention in which he pleads for a reconquest of Canada.
  • 1793: The French Republic declares war to the England King on February 8.
  • 1806: Pierre Bédard and François Blanchet found the newspaper Le Canadien. It is the first newspaper to oppose the British colonial oligarchy and defend the liberties and rights of the Canadiens. It was the answer to the Quebec Mercury, a newspaper founded by British Tories.
  • 1808: Louis-Joseph Papineau and Denis-Benjamin Viger are elected for the first time. They join the Parti canadien.
  • 1809: The Société littéraire de Québec is founded.
  • 1809: Member of Parliament Pierre Bédard demands for the Executive to be responsible before the Legislative Assembly. The judges are declared ineligible to sit in the elective House. Governor James Craig dissolves the house.
  • 1810: The governor of Lower Canada, James Craig, stops the press of Le Canadien and put the owners Pierre Bédard and François Blanchet in prison. The newspaper had opposed the project of a Union of both Canadas. The project was being planned by the English merchants with the support of the Governor.
  • 1810: The newspaper Le Vrai Canadien is founded. It is financed by the Catholic clergy.
  • 1812: Second American invasion of Canada.
  • 1815: Louis-Joseph Papineau is elected speaker of the Legislative Assembly. He will keep being re-elected until the final suspension of the constitution.
  • 1822: Lower Canadian British merchants and bureaucrats propose the Union of Upper and Lower Canada into a single colony before the British Parliament in London. Thanks to Member of Parliament James Mackintosh, the reading of the bill is delayed to allow time for the people of Lower Canada and Upper Canada to express their opinion on the subject.
  • 1822: Popular mobilization against the Union bill in Canada during the summer.
  • 1823: With the support of the Legislative Assembly and even the non-elected Legislative Council, L-J Papineau and John Neilson are sent to London by the Parti canadien to submit a letter and petitions containing 60,000 signatures against the Union bill. (Read the Letter from Papineau and Neilson to the Under Secretary of State on the Proposed Union.)
  • 1826: Ludger Duvernay, Auguste-Norbert Morin, and Jacques Viger found the newspaper La Minerve.
  • 1826: The Parti canadien becomes the Parti patriote.
  • 1827: The Parti Patriote sends a delegation of three Members of Parliament (John Neilson, Denis-Benjamin Viger and Augustin Cuvillier) to London with a petition of 87,000 names and a series of resolution passed by the Legislative Assembly. They want the recall of the governor, the redress of a long list of grievances and they propose that the Legislative Council be rendered elective.
  • 1828: Daniel Tracey founds the the Montreal Vindicator. Originally meant to defend the rights of Irish immigrants, it becomes the English language voice of the Patriotes when it is purchased by Ludger Duvernay.
  • 1831: During the summer, Alexis de Tocqueville, political thinker and author of Democracy in America, spends two weeks in Lower Canada. His notes on the social and political situation of the Canadiens are of great historical and documentary value today.
  • 1831: Ludger Duvernay and Daniel Tracey are arrested for their opinions.
  • 1832: Daniel Tracey spends 35 days in prison in January for writing an editorial attacking the bureaucrats of the colonial government.
  • 1832: During a partial election in Montreal on May 21, British soldiers open fire on the crowd and kill three supporters of the Patriots.
  • 1832: The cholera epidemic kills 6,000 people.
  • 1832: The Parti canadien passes a law giving full political rights to the Jewish minority of Lower Canada. In fact, it puts an end to any form of disqualification based on religion.
  • 1833: Jacques Viger becomes the first mayor of Montréal.
  • 1834: Foundation of the St-Jean-Baptiste Society.
  • 1834: The Parti patriote is elected with a strong majority of about 95% of the registered vote. That is: 77 of 88 seats at the Legislative Assembly and 483,739 votes against 28,278.
  • 1834: Slavery is abolished in all the extent of the British Empire.
  • 1834: The Legislative Assembly presents the Ninety-Two Resolutions.
  • 1834: November 22, foundation of the Quebec Constitutional Association by citizens opposed to the Ninety-Two Resolutions.
  • 1835: The Canadiens found their first bank, the Banque du Peuple. The institution collapses with the war, but it revived later.
  • 1835: January 23, foundation of the Montreal Constitutional Association.
  • 1835: Foundation of the Union patriotique.
  • 1835: The instructions of the British government to Lord Gosford are made public by his enemies. The Canadiens can no longer trust him.
  • 1836: Foundation of the Doric Club.
  • 1836: Laws establishing the Écoles normales of the country.
  • 1837: The Ten Resolutions of John Russell arrive in Lower Canada, three years after the Ninety-Two Resolutions. Not only did the government ignore all the demands of the Canadiens, it took away the only power the Legislative Assembly had: the power to vote or not to vote the supplies.
  • 1837: Various public meetings are held throughout Lower Canada to protest against the British Parliament's resolution to withdraw money from the Provincial Chest without the assent of the House of Assembly. A total of 47 public meetings were held during between May and December 1837.
  • 1837: Foundation of the Société des Fils de la Liberté.
  • 1837: The Fils de la Liberté publish a manifesto in which they proclaim the right to establish a republican state for the Canadien people.
  • 1837: The Doric club attacks the Fils de la liberté on November 6, 1837 and take this occasion to destroy the office of the Montreal Vindicator and vandalize the house of Papineau.
  • 1840: Lord Durham's report on the "troubles" in Upper and Lower Canada is published.

1841 - 1866

Institut canadien, battle for the repeal of the union, Parti rouge, short lived annexionist movement, struggle against the project of a new federal state, political testament of Louis-Joseph Papineau

  • 1841: Through the Act of Union, Lower Canada is annexed to Upper Canada. The French language is abolished in a constitutional text of law for the first time in History.
  • 1844: Establishment of the Institut Canadien in Montréal.
  • 1845: Back in politics, Louis-Joseph Papineau demands the recall of the Union.
  • 1848: Francophone MPs and their anglophone sympathizers succeed in repealing the article of the Union Act which banned the French language from the Parliament, the Courts and the Civil Administration of United Canada.
  • 1848: The ministry of Lafontaine and Baldwin obtain the long battled for ministerial responsibility. Unfortunately, Francophones are a minority and will not be able to directly benefit from this.
  • 1849: The Parliament of United Canada is set on fire by a mob of anglophone Tories. The mob protested against the adoption by the Parliament of a bill compensating the Patriotes for losses sustained during the Patriot War. The newspaper The Montreal Gazette, which still exists today, was blamed for inciting violence.
  • 1849: On October 11, an Annexation Manifesto calling for the Province of Canada to join the United States is published in the Montreal Gazette.
  • 1850: Beginning of the French Canadian emigration to the United States. (Today, there are some 4-5 million Americans of Quebec origins).
  • 1851: According to a census, the population of Canada West is now numerically superior to that of Canada East. Politicians of Canada West begin to battle for representation by population (rep-by-pop).
  • 1854: The seigneurial system of land tenancy is abolished in Canada East. Wealthy British and British Canadians can finally start buying Quebec out.
  • 1864: Politicans of Canada West and East hold conferences on a confederation project, which will lead to the creation of the Dominion of Canada with the British North America Act.
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1867 - 1959

autonomist movement, struggle for secular state, compulsory education, women suffrage, Refus global

  • 1867: The British Parliament adopts the British North America Act which creates the Dominion of Canada, a federation of four British colonies: Ontario (Upper Canada), Québec (Lower Canada), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
  • 1867: With blatant electoral fraud and the help of the Catholic Clergy, the pro-confederation party is elected with a slim majority in the first Québec Legislative Assembly. In Nova Scotia, the anti-confederation party wins 36 of 38 seats.
  • 1885: In the wake of the Riel affair, Honoré Mercier establishes the Parti national.
  • 1894: Honoré Mercier and Joseph Royal speak in favor of an independent Republic of Canada.
  • 1897: Félix Gabriel-Marchand, Liberal Prime Minister, adopts a law creating a secular department of education, however the Legislative Counsil blocks it.
  • 1900: Alphonse Desjardins establishes the first Caisse populaire (people's bank).
  • 1903: Foundation of the Ligue nationaliste canadienne by Omer Héroux, Armand Lavergne and other journalists and lawyers from Montreal on March 1.
  • 1908: Nearly 450 000 people sign a petition to the federal House of Commons demanding the equality of the English and French languages in federal public services.
  • 1910: The newspaper Le Devoir is founded by Henri Bourassa.
  • 1915: Unanimous motion in the Québec Legislative Assembly deploring the fate of the French-speaking minority in Ontario, who's right to French education was severely curtailed by the 1912 Regulation 17.
  • 1917: The monthly L'action française is founded by Lionel Groulx. (It is renamed L'action canadienne-française in 1926.)
  • 1917: In December, Joseph-Napoléon Francoeur, a Liberal member of the legislative assembly, makes a motion demanding the breakup of the Confederation.
  • 1918: April 1: A year after Parliament passes, despite Prime Minister Robert Borden's promise to Wilfrid Laurier, an act allowing for mandatory military service, anti-draft riots break out in Quebec City. A botched attempt to capture the city's armory leaves five soldiers wounded and four civilians dead.
  • 1934: Establishment of the Action libérale nationale, headed by Paul Gouin.
  • 1935: Maurice Duplessis founds the Union nationale.
  • 1938: The efforts of MP Wilfrid Lacroix are rewarded by the adoption of a bill on French language services in the federal government.
  • 1940: August 5: Having suggested defiance of military registration, Mayor Camillien Houde is arrested at Montreal's City Hall and shipped to Ontario, where he is interned for four years.
  • 1942: April 27: In a plebiscite, Canadians vote 63 per cent in favour of releasing the government of William Lyon Mackenzie King from its election pledge not to impose conscription. English Canada's support is overwhelming (the margin in Ontario is 5-1 and a whopping 12-1 in Toronto), but Quebec votes 70 per cent against.
  • 1948: Paul-Émile Borduas and seven other artists publish Refus global, denouncing the shortcomings of Québec society at the time.
  • 1957: Raymond Barbeau establishes the Alliance laurentienne, Québec's first modern time independence organization.
  • 1958: The manifesto of the Alliance Laurentienne is published.
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1960 - 1969

Contemporary independence movement

  • 1960: Foundation of the Rassemblement pour l'indépendance nationale (RIN) by 20 people including André d'Allemage and Marcel Chaput.
  • 1960: The manifesto of the RIN is published. The Catholic ideological background of the Alliance Laurentienne is cleary far behind.
  • 1960: Raoul Roy founds the Action socialiste pour l'indépendance du Québec (ASIQ).
  • 1963: RIN members vote to turn the pressure group into a provincial political party.
  • 1964: Pierre Bourgault becomes president of the RIN.
  • 1964: Doctor René Jutras founds the Regroupement national, a new political party dedicated to the independence of Quebec.
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Sovereignty-Association movement

  • 1967: René Lévesque submits a manifesto for the sovereignty of Québec within the Liberal Party of Quebec on September 18.
  • 1967: René Levesque leaves the Liberal Party of Quebec on October 14.
  • 1968: René Levesque founds the Mouvement Souveraineté-Association. on November 19.
  • 1968: The MSA creates the Parti Québécois. The MSA and the Ralliement national are merged. The RIN is dissolved so as to not split the independentist vote.
  • 1969: The St-Jean-Baptiste Society announces its support for the independence of Quebec on November 16.

1970 - 1979

  • 1970: The manifesto of the FLQ is published. Quebec's youth is becoming impatient!
  • 1973: Elections: The PQ has a strong presence in the opposition.
  • 1974: The PQ adopts its strategy of holding a referendum on the souvereignty of Quebec if it were to win the general elections.
  • 1976: Elections: The PQ is elected for the first time. René Levesque forms a majority government.
  • 1977: The PQ votes Bill 101.

1980 - 1989

  • 1980: First referendum on sovereignty-association: 40% Yes, 60% No
  • 1982: Against the opinion of the supreme court and without the support of the National Assembly of Quebec, the Liberal government of Pierre Trudeau repatriates the BNAA and renames it the Canadian constitution.

1990 - 1999

  • 1992: Charlottetown referendum on constitutional reforms.
  • 1994: Elections: The PQ is elected. The government of Jacques Parizeau forms a majority government.
  • 1995: Second referendum on sovereignty: 49,4% Yes, 51,6% No

2000 -

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