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Quebec Separatism Essay

1098 words - 5 pages

How close was Canada from being radically different from how it’s known today? 1.16%. From coast to coast, Canadians have taken pride in being united as one, which was exemplified by the exceptional patriotism showed during the recently completed Sochi Olympics. However, there is one province that seems to be opposed to the norm. One of the founding provinces of Canada, Quebec, has been lobbying for separation for decades. Québécois, or the people of Quebec feel that they should be united as one rather than with the rest of Canada. They think that they have been marginalized and treated as a minority in Canada. Their primary belief is that since the majority of them are French, the language itself should be separate from English, as it was pre-Confederation. ; Even though they are the largest province in Canada by area, Quebec is extremely different from the rest of Canada. From its early origins to more recent political battles, Quebec has had a tumultuous history, and their reasons for separation have yet to be completely decoded.
From the early days of Cabot and Cartier, to the settlements created by the swashbuckling Samuel de Champlain, to the Seven Years’ war, the history of Quebec is a phenomenal way to get a greater insight on why they truly want to separate. The battles for Quebec and Canada as a whole created irreparable tensions between the English and French. Perhaps the best place to begin our investigation is with the earliest reports of Euro-Canadian contact. Enter John Cabot. An Italian by birth, Giovanni Caboto, as his name was translated in Italian, was commissioned by the English monarchs to find the gold mine of trading that was Asia. Like Columbus before him, Cabot ran into the problem that was North America on his way there. Cabot had an ingenious plan to sail the northern latitudes of the world, as to make his voyage shorter. It is not known exactly where Cabot landed, as historical records state somewhere off the coast of North America. However, there is great debate about the exact landing spot, with Cape Bonavista, Newfoundland being recognized as the official spot by the Canadian and British governments. While Cabot may have not done a lot compared to the likes of Champlain, his voyage proved crucial for the British to make inroads in North America in a century’s time. Following Cabot was the cold-blooded French explorer, Jacques Cartier. In 1534, Cartier was commissioned by the French King Francis I to find a shipping route to the Orient and to find precious gems and metals to make France rich. Within three weeks, Cartier had reached the coast of Canada. He passed Newfoundland which had already been discovered, and proceeded further inland. At Pointe-Penouille in the Gaspé Peninsula, Cartier erected a large cross to claim the land for New France. The significance of this moment is not to be understated. By Cartier doing this, he essentially planted the seeds for France’s influence in Canada, which remains to this day...

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