During 1930 – 1945, the official political party, Union Nationale which led by Maurice Duplessis had a significantly negative impact on both French-English relations and Canadian identity. Ever since Union Nationale took most of the seats in the government, it started to support Quebec nationalism and against the domination of business by English-Canadians. Firstly, the leader of Union Nationale, Maurice Duplessis had weakened French-English business relations. During the Great Depression, thirty percent of Montreal’s workforce was unemployed and French-Canadians blamed the English-speaking minority in Quebec and the federal government. After Maurice Duplessis was elected, he devoted everything to the province: “I have no family. My only responsibility is the welfare of Quebec. I belong to the province” He promised he will help rural society and provide protection for French workers through increasing the minimum wages and providing compensation and pension. However, it raised the English suspicion toward the French-Canadians.
English-Canadians began to distrust the French-Canadians as they saw them nationalizing and starting to put a threat to their business profits. The fact that Maurice Duplessis saw the English corporations as a solution to provide labor rights to French workers did not strengthen the economic relations between French and English Canadians. Indeed, it went the opposite way.
Finally, Union Nationale had a negative impact on Canadian history because of the social conflicts caused by the governing policies of Union Nationale. The Union Nationale government encouraged Catholic Church to control education and other social programs in Quebec. The Catholic Church started to become a strong defender of French cultures. They protect traditional beliefs and values of the French and prevent them from being assimilated into the English culture. However, it destabilized French-English political and cultural affairs in Canada, French-Canadians became more defensive for their cultures and viewed any English encroachment as harmful actions to their cultures. The power of Catholic Church created greater French nationalism and the desire for separation from the rest of Canada.
In conclusion, both the leader and the governing policies of Union Nationale had a significantly negative impact on Canadian identity. During 1960 – 1970, a period of time which led by the Liberal government of Jean Lesage which called Quiet Revolution had a significantly negative impact on Canadian identity. Ever since Jean Lesage took power in the government, his aim is to make French equivalent within the Confederation.
He once said: “If ever Confederation fails, it will not be because Quebec the political voice of French Canada has separated from it. It will be because the way to keep Quebec in it has not been found.” However, the process has pushed the relationships between French and English to the breaking point. Firstly, Quiet Revolution had a huge negative impact on Canadian history was that French-Canadians were proud of their achievements in economy which led to the sovereignty and separatism of Quebec. After the election in 1962, Liberals campaigned and promised to strengthen Quebec’s control of its own economy. The government started a program to take control of hydro-electric power companies and turned them into Hydro-Quebec.
While the government was improving the economy, Liberals had to struggle with Ottawa for a large share of tax dollars. However, French-Canadians earning the lowest wage in all ethnic groups in Canada and top jobs in Quebec were given to English-Canadians. Therefore, French-Canadians thought as long as Quebec associated with the rest of Canada, they would never be treated equal and only separatism was the only solution.
Finally, the secularization created conflicts between federalists and nationalists in the federal government. Catholic Church was an important role in society. They used to control social services and the education system. However, Liberals wanted a modernization of province’s education and culture which means the government needed to took power from the Catholic Church.
They needed a government-run school system to provide more science, technology and business courses to students for preparation of new Quebec. The success of this change raised resentment toward English-Canadians because French-Canadians were angrier at what they perceive as injustices by English-Canadians. For example, there were no French-speaking schools in the rest of Canada. However, the English in Canada, as well as the federal government were greatly angered because they thought French did not see their special status as a privilege, but rather as a way to gain more control and improve their position in Canada. Therefore, Quiet Revolution was a disastrous failure for French-English unity in Canada. In conclusion, Quebec’s Quiet Revolution in 1960 had a significantly negative impact on both Canadian identity and history. In 1987, the Meech Lake Accord had a significantly negative impact on both French-English relations and Canadian identity.
The Accord gave Quebec the power to protect the distinct identity of Quebec and the power to pass laws to preserve the French nature of the province which means it would create two solitudes in Canada. First of all, Meech Lake Accord tried to indirectly used the word, “multicultural” to solve the conflicts between Quebec and the rest of Canada. Not to mention, Quebec was home to most of the francophones in Canada and it had a different history, culture, and civil law than rest of Canada. However, the distinct society clause isolated the francophones of Quebec and gave too much power to the province and weakened the federal government. In other words, it would decline the French-English unity and created two solitudes in Canada. Pierre Trudeau once said: “Those Canadians who fought for a single Canada, bilingual and multicultural, can say goodbye to their dream.
” Therefore, the Accord was a huge failure for a country’s unity. Finally, Quebec used the distinct society clause to override the Charter and bereave rights of specific groups. In 1988, Quebec banned the use of English on outdoor commercial signs, which violated the Charter. Instantly, Premier Robert Bourassa passed the notwithstanding clause which allows the province to override certain portions of the Charter.
However, he claimed that if the distinct society clause has already in place, he would not have to use the notwithstanding clause. As a result, it led the conflicts to come to the surface and the rest of Canada started to protest. The impact was significant and led to a referendum on full sovereignty in 1995.
Consequently, the conflicts between French and English had no longer stay at the provincial level, indeed, it started to spread to the whole Canada. In conclusion, the Meech Lake Accord not only undermined Canadians’ sense of patriotism but also had a significantly negative impact on French-English relations and Canadian identity.