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Geopolitical Conflict In French Canada Essay

954 words - 4 pages

Strife between the French and British in Canada left the category of warfare long ago, but it is still, historically, the cause of the modern conflict in French Canada. For the past few hundred years, the Quebecois have, culturally, felt like a circle in a country full of squares. Somewhat of a cultural island, they have been squished into a pack of provinces whose mostly (Nunavut excluded) homogenous culture forces Quebec into inferiority.Britain established their presence in Canada after the French claimed land there. After claiming increasing amounts of land for New France, a series of wars broke out between the two groups. Eventually (1763) the English defeated the French, and took control of New France. Even though the British now had authority in the French region, they allowed the French to retain their Roman Catholicism, land-tenure system and laws. Later, the British were left, by their war with America, with 'British North America.' This war cause many British people to flee America and travel to Canada. However, this area was essentially French. The parliament divided the region into two provinces: lower Canada and upper Canada. Lower Canada would remain French and Upper Canada would be British. The British Parliament, pressured by conflicts presented by the cultural division, decided to let Lower Canada have an equal share of votes in the legislation. This did not work. So the British Parliament tried again, establishing Canada as a federation with many provinces and territories. Quebec and Ontario (formerly known as Lower Canada and Upper Canada, respectively) were again separate entities, and Quebec was allowed to keep its French culture in full bloom. Furthermore, the Parliament and courts protected Quebec's right to be fully French. Again, it was not enough, the denizens felt inferior to other Canadians. These submerged, social feelings were affirmed when Charles de Gaulle, President of France, delivered a speech in Quebec ending with a call to French nationalism (for Quebec). Despite the efforts of the Parliament, Quebec citizens remained steadfast in their desire to be independent.The Quebec ethnic nationalism continued on, and the government tried to appease the issue. In the 70's, the prime minister was from Quebec. After separation was voted against, a new constitution came out. Unfortunately, Quebec was still not satisfied, and the polls indicated that separation was now supported by the majority of the nation. Quebec wanted to be recognized as a "distinct society" in Canada. In the agreement of all the provincial prime ministers, among other things, Canada would receive its desired "distinctiveness" as a community which "includes within it two principal language communities within the Federation" and three of the nine Canadian Supreme Court Justices. The provinces had three years, Quebec insisted, to ratify the new constitution. During that time, debate raged about the five new clauses being added for Quebec. The last four...

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