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Quiet Revolution (Plain-Language Summary)

The Quiet Revolution transformed Quebec in the 1960s. The Quiet Revolution refers to a series of drastic political, societal and cultural changes. The Quiet Revolution was led by the Quebec Liberal Party under Premier Jean Lesage. The slogan was “Maîtres chez nous” (Masters of our own house). The goal was for francophones to take leadership positions in Quebec and to guide Quebec into the future. The goal was met. The Quiet Revolution contributed to changing Quebec, and Canada, forever.

(This article is a plain-language summary of the Quiet Revolution. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry, Quiet Revolution.)

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Anne Dorval

Anne Dorval, actress, show host and dubbing artist (born 8 November 1960 in Rouyn-Noranda, QC). Known for her acting abilities and for her irresistible humour during public appearances, she has been in some thirty theatre plays, approximately twenty television series and made-for-television movies, and over ten feature films, including some produced by Xavier Dolan and for which she has won many performance awards. She has also lent her voice to dubbing for almost 80 characters in motion pictures and animated films.

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Quiet Revolution

The Quiet Revolution (Révolution tranquille) was a time of rapid change experienced in Québec during the 1960s. This vivid yet paradoxical description of the period was first used by an anonymous writer in The Globe and Mail.

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Québec Referendum (1980)

The Québec referendum of 1980, on the Parti Québécois government’s plans for sovereignty-association, was held in fulfilment of a promise that the party had made to do so, during the 1976 election campaign that brought it to power. In this referendum, the government asked the people of Québec to give it a mandate to “negotiate a new constitutional agreement with the rest of Canada, based on the equality of nations.” When the votes were counted, nearly 60% of Quebecers had voted against this plan, and it was thereby rejected. If the “Yes” side had won, the results of the negotiations would have been submitted to a second referendum. The 1980 referendum was followed by constitutional negotiations that have left an indelible mark on the Canadian political scene.

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Royal Commission of Inquiry on Education in the Province of Quebec (Parent Commission)

The Royal Commission of Inquiry on Education in the Province of Quebec (1961-1964) had a major impact on the structure of the Quebecois school system. It recommended the adoption of new pedagogical methods as well as the creation of new structures, namely the Ministry of Education, comprehensive schools, CEGEPs (Collèges d’enseignement général et professionnel; General and professional teaching colleges) and the Université du Québec network.

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Longueuil

Longueuil, Quebec, population 239,700 (2016 census), 231,409 (2011 census). Longueuil’s history dates to the 17th century with the settling of French colonists. It is today an important suburb of Montreal and is connected to the island of Montreal by the Jacques Cartier bridge and the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel-bridge. Longueuil is criss-crossed by major expressways linking metropolitan Montreal to Québec city, the Eastern Townships and northern New York State. The municipality of Longueuil is its own entity within the Longueuil agglomeration which includes other nearby cities.

Longueuil is situated on the ancestral territory of the Kanyen’kehà:ka. The land remains unceded and is considered Indigenous territory.

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Front de libération des femmes du Québec

The Front de libération des femmes du Québec (FLF) was a militant feminist organization that was active from 1969 to 1971. Even though it was around for such a short time, the FLF played an important role in the history of Quebec society. The FLF popularized a feminist analysis that linked the oppression of women with the Quebec nationalist cause. Its efforts led to the elimination of Quebec’s prohibition against women serving as jurors, as well as to government-funded daycare centres and accessible abortion services.

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Geography of Quebec

The province of Quebec is composed of three of Canada’s sevenphysiographic regions. These regions are the St. Lawrence Lowlands, the Canadian Shield and the Appalachian region. The St. Lawrence Lowlands is the most fertile and developed region. The majority of the population of Quebec lives here, mainly between Montreal and Quebec City. The Canadian Shield covers most of Quebec from approximately 80 km north of the St. Lawrence River valley up to the Ungava region. It is a vast region composed of thousands of lakes and thousands of square kilometres of forested area. On the south bank of the St. Lawrence River, between the Richelieu River and the Gaspé Peninsula, is the Quebec part of the Appalachian mountain chain which extends from Gaspé south to Alabama.

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Quebec Immigration Policy

The distinction is often made between the immigration policy of Quebec, that of Canada (see Immigration Policy in Canada) and that of other provinces. The particularities of the Québécois policy are essentially rooted in history, language, and culture. Despite these differences, immigration plays just as important a role in the Québécois society as it does elsewhere in the country. From 2015 to 2019, Quebec welcomed almost 250,000 permanent immigrants. Every year, the province also hosts thousands of temporary foreign workers, three quarters of whom find employment in the greater metropolitan area of Montreal. (See Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Programs.)

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Bloc Québécois

The Bloc Québécois is a federal political party that was created officially on 15 June 1991 (registered by Elections Canada on 11 September 1993). It was founded as a parliamentary movement composed of Quebec MPs who left the Conservative and Liberal parties after the failure of the Meech Lake Accord. The party promotes Quebec's interests and Quebec sovereignty in the House of Commons. The party only runs candidates in the province of Quebec.

Yves-François Blanchet became leader of the party in January 2019. Under Blanchet, the Bloc won 32 seats in the October 2019 federal election, returning it to official party status.

See Canadian Electoral System; Voting Behaviour in Canada.

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Women and the Quiet Revolution

The Quebec of the 1960s was synonymous with the Quiet Revolution. The mandate of the Liberal government led by Jean Lesage, which began with the election on 22 June 1960, marked a period of significant reforms. Political, economical, social, cultural — these reforms had major repercussions on the people of Quebec and drastically changed the lives of women. With the creation of a Ministry of Education, women obtained the same right to higher education as men. Additionally, Bill 16 conferred in principle full legal capacity to married women. The reformist spirit was also at work within the Union Nationale governments of Daniel Johnson, Sr., from 1966 to 1968 and Jean-Jacques Bertrand from 1968 to 1970. Finally, it was during the Quiet Revolution that women in Quebec began to use contraceptive pills to control their fertility, entered the workforce in large numbers and demanded maternity leave as well as the right to equality with men in all areas of public life.

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Marcelle Ferron

Marcelle Ferron, OQ, artist (born 29 January 1924 in Louiseville, QC; died 18 November 2001 in Montreal). Marcelle Ferron was an active participant in Les Automatistes, led by Paul-Émile Borduas. She pursued an innovative artistic career including noteworthy public art works in stained glass. She was made a Knight of the National Order of Québec in 1985 and was promoted to Grand Officer in 2000. She was the sister of writers Jacques Ferron and Madeleine Ferron.

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Snow Blower

A snow blower is a mechanical device that clears snow from a surface by collecting it and forcibly throwing it to another location. It was invented in Quebec by Arthur Sicard in 1925. Snow blowers typically use an auger — a corkscrew-shaped blade made of metal, rubber or plastic — to collect and then distribute snow. Some snow blowers, known as two-stage snow blowers, also feature a collecting chamber and impeller to make it easier to clear large deposits of snow. These powerful machines help keep streets, sidewalks and driveways clear during winter.

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Dollard-des-Ormeaux

Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec, incorporated as a city 1960, population 48,899 (2016 census), 49,637 (2011 census). Dollard-des-Ormeaux is located on the northwest side of the Île de Montréal, near the Rivière des Prairies. It is bordered by the municipalities of Pierrefonds, Roxboro, St-Laurent, Kirkland, Pointe Claire and Dorval.

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Brossard

Brossard, Quebec, population 85,721 (2016 census), 79,273 (2011 census). Incorporated as a city in 1978, from 2002 to 2006 Brossard was a borough of Longueuil. Longueil was created by the amalgamation of eight distinct municipalities, including Brossard. In a 2004 referendum, Brossard residents voted to reconstitute their city. In 2006, Brossard again became its own municipality. Brossard is located on the South Shore of the St. Lawrence River, a short distance from the Champlain Bridge that links it to Montreal.

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Sherbrooke

Sherbrooke, Quebec, incorporated as a city in 1852, population 161,323 (2016 census), 154, 601 (2011 census). Located 147 km east of Montreal, Sherbrooke is the principal city of the Eastern Townships. Situated in the heart of a region of lakes and mountains near Mont-Orford provincial park, it was for many years a commercial, industrial and railway centre. During the 1960s it also became a service centre. Sherbrooke is home to the region’s Catholic archdiocese and headquarters of the judicial district of Saint-François.