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Canadian Politics: René Lévesque Essay

1310 words - 5 pages

The years following the Second World War were bleak in regards to Canada's future as a country, with the public and politicians alike set against each other, but soon a Québec man by the name of René Lévesque entered journalism, and then politics, voicing his views for all to hear, with great success and vigour. Though obstacles presented themselves often in his life, he changed the views of Québec, Canada and the world as a whole. René Lévesque was a passionate and charismatic politician who greatly contributed to post-war Québec and even today through his beliefs in separatism, founding the Parti Québecois and passing Bill 101.

Born August 24th, 1922, René Lévesque grew up in a small costal town by the name of New Carlisle, where he realized quickly that “most of the French Canadians were poorer, with smaller homes and more wretched schools, than the English Canadian families — descendants of Loyalists who had fled the American Revolution — who were the self-appointed elites of the region.” (The Canadian Encyclopedia). This epiphany was said to build resentment in him against English-Canadians for having a more prosperous life, possibly due to their status as Loyalists. René Lévesque was not interested in politics from the beginning of his life, although he had been introduced to them from a young age by his late father. He went to school at the Collège des Jésuites Saint Charles Garnier, but was expelled due to his low marks. After finishing his formal schooling at the Séminaire de Québec, he was accepted into Université Laval, but dropped out after realizing he did not wish to be a lawyer. In 1938 he discovered radio journalism and worked at Radio-Canada. He was eventually sent to the front lines of the Second World War with the American army, who swept through Germany. After returning, Lévesque returned to work at Radio-Canada, later receiving an offer to become an announcer for “La voix du Canada”, a broadcast that had gathered listeners from French-speaking countries around the globe. His resentment for English-Canadians would solidify during the strike of directors of the CBC, due to the “indifference of the Diefenbaker government in Ottawa, and of his English CBC colleagues towards the strikers' goals”, which in part encouraged him to join the world of politics and begin the Quiet Revolution in 1960 (The Canadian Encyclopedia). Lévesque joined the Liberal party in 1960, led by Jean Lesage at the time, and receiving the role of a Member of the Legislative Assembly. A few years later, in the year of 1966, he turned on the Liberal party, becoming increasingly critical of their actions and ties to the federal government after Lesage's defeat that year, eventually leaving the Liberal party altogether. His reactions helped him realize that the Liberal party did not have his main interests – equality and separatism for Québec – in mind, which prompted him to make a new party: Parti Québecois (The Canadian Encyclopedia).

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