Quiet Revolution

The term Quiet Revolution ( Révolution tranquille French ) denotes an important period in the history of Quebec. During the 1960s, this Canadian province underwent a profound social and economic changes, marked by the secularization of society and the creation of a welfare state. The provincial government brought 1960-1966 the previously dominated by the Roman Catholic Church health and education under the control of the state, expanded state services and invested heavily in education and infrastructure. It allowed state employees to organize themselves in trade unions, and allowed the mainly French- speaking population to take control of the economy of their own province.

Starting position

Several events are considered as precursors of the Quiet Revolution. Among them may be mentioned the four months lasting miners' strike in Asbestos (1949 ), violent riots after the lock of the hockey player Maurice Richard ( 1955), the signing of the manifesto Refus globally by the dissident group of artists Automatistes (1948) and the publication of the book Les insolences you Brother Untel (1960 ), which denounced the almost absolute dominance of the Roman Catholic Church. Radio -Canada, the newspaper Le Devoir and edited by Pierre Trudeau political magazine Cité Libre regarded as an intellectual forum for critics of contemporary society.

The Government of Québec was the strictly conservative Maurice Duplessis, leader of the National Union, controlled. Electoral fraud and corruption were commonplace in Québec. The National Union has received support from most of the Catholic clergy, who ran as before most schools and hospitals of the province. Parish priest is sometimes mentioned the election slogan of the National Union: Le ciel est bleu, l' enfer est rouge ( " The sky is blue, hell is red" ) - an allusion to the party colors of the National Union (blue) and the Liberals (red). However, the Catholic Church was not fully on Duplessis ' page. Individual Catholic trade unions and members of the clergy, including Archbishop Joseph Charbonneau, criticized Duplessis, but the vast majority of the clergy in small towns and in the country supported the head of government.

Because of the small population of Quebec ( and Canada as a whole) capital was regularly just for investment. For this reason, the natural resources of the province were mainly developed by foreign investors. For example, the U.S. company Iron Ore Company of Canada pushed for the iron ore mining. Until the second half of the 20th century the majority of Francophone Quebec workers lived below the poverty line and was not represented in the leadership of the company in their own province.

Maurice Duplessis died in 1959, shortly afterwards his successor Paul Sauvé. The following year, the Parti libéral du Québec won the elections and Jean Lesage became the new head of government. The Liberals were lined with the promise that the company froze to fundamentally modernize and expand the influence of the French-speakers in their own economy. Your choice slogans Maîtres chez nous denominated ( " masters in our own home " ) and Il faut que ça change ( "Things have to change ").


In 1961 the Parent Commission was established to make recommendations that led to the implementation of various reforms. The most important was the complete secularization of education. Although the schools pro forma retained their Catholic or Protestant character, but in practice they became secular institutions. Other reforms included the introduction of a compulsory education until 16 years of age and free education up to the eleventh grade.

Although the National Union in 1966 came back to power, the reforms were continued. In 1967, the Cégep were introduced as a pre-university educational institution in 1968, the government created the university association the Université du Québec. The social loss of importance of the Catholic Church, the vonstattenging in the 60's in Quebec as in other Western countries, led to a noticeable reduction in the birth rate among Francophones. Proclamations of the Church against contraception were mostly ignored.

Economic reforms

In 1962, the Parti libéral new elections to secure the consent of their most important reforms - the nationalization of the electricity industry throughout the province and their association in the state company Hydro-Québec. The Liberals won the elections with an increased majority in the National Assembly of Quebec, and within six months went by René Lévesque, the Minister of Natural Resources, the nationalization.

He subsequently produced other public institutions, with the aim to increase the degree of economic autonomy of the province. The state-owned enterprises Sidbec ( iron and steel), SOQUEM (mining), REXFOR (Forestry) and SOQUIP (petroleum) were founded to exploit the mineral resources of the provinces. In 1962, the government investment company Société générale de financement, to encourage Quebecers to invest in their economic future and to increase the profit of small businesses.

The federal government approved in 1963 the establishment of the Social Insurance Institution Régie des Rentes du Québec ( RRQ ), the Canada Pension Plan is independent of the national pension system. The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec was created in 1965 to manage the revenue from the RRQ and to provide the capital for various projects in the public and private sectors. A new Labour Code ( Code du travail) entered into force in 1964. It simplified the formation of trade unions and gave state employees the right to strike.


The Quiet Revolution led to the francophone population of the province from the influence of the English elite emancipated, who had previously dominated the economy. They no longer saw themselves as French Canadians, but developed a new, positive identity as Quebecers occupied (French Québécois ), which is no longer focused on the mother country France.

As the French President Charles de Gaulle visited the World Expo 67 in Montreal, he cried in front of a large crowd that had gathered outside the town hall, Vive le Québec libre! ( " Long live free Quebec !") To. The controversial speech angered the one hand, the Canadian federal government but strengthened the other hand, the growing independence movement to push for independence. In 1968, René Lévesque, the separatist Parti Québécois. A small group of Marxist separatist Front de libération du Québec which, increasingly committed bombings and other acts of violence that culminated in the October Crisis in 1970. In 1976, the Parti Québécois first elections to the National Assembly.