|Motto: Je me souviens (French)
|Confederation||July 1, 1867 (1st, with ON, NS, NB)|
|Largest metro||Greater Montreal|
|• Type||Constitutional monarchy|
|• Lieutenant Governor||J. Michel Doyon|
|• Premier||Philippe Couillard (Liberal)|
|Legislature||National Assembly of Quebec|
|Federal representation||(in Canadian Parliament)|
|House seats||78 of 338 (23.1%)|
|Senate seats||24 of 105 (22.9%)|
|• Total||1,542,056 km (595,391 sq mi)|
|• Land||1,365,128 km (527,079 sq mi)|
|• Water||176,928 km (68,312 sq mi) 11.5%|
|Area rank||Ranked 2nd|
|15.4% of Canada|
|• Estimate (2017 Q1)||8,356,851|
|• Rank||Ranked 2nd|
|• Density||6/km (20/sq mi)|
|Demonym(s)||in English: Quebecer or Quebecker,
in French: Québécois (m) Québécoise (f)
|• Total (2015)||C$380.972 billion|
|• Per capita||C$46,126 (10th)|
|Time zone||UTC−5, −4|
|Postal code prefix||G, H, J|
|ISO 3166 code||CA-QC|
|Flower||Blue flag iris|
|Rankings include all provinces and territories|
Quebec (pronounced // or //; French: Québec [kebɛk] ( listen)) is the second-most populous province of Canada and the only one to have a predominantly French-speaking population, with French as the sole provincial official language.
Quebec is Canada's largest province by area and its second-largest administrative division; only the territory of Nunavut is larger. It is bordered to the west by the province of Ontario, James Bay, and Hudson Bay; to the north by Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay; to the east by the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador; and to the south by the province of New Brunswick and the US states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. It also shares maritime borders with Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia.
Quebec is Canada's second-most populous province, after Ontario. Most inhabitants live in urban areas near the Saint Lawrence River between Montreal and Quebec City, the capital. Approximately half of Quebec residents live in the Greater Montreal Area, including the Island of Montreal. English-speaking communities and English-language institutions are concentrated in the west of the island of Montreal but are also significantly present in the Outaouais, Eastern Townships, and Gaspé regions. The Nord-du-Québec region, occupying the northern half of the province, is sparsely populated and inhabited primarily by Aboriginal peoples. The climate around the major cities is four-season continental with cold and snowy winters combined with warm to hot humid summers, but further north long winter seasons dominate and as a result the northern areas of the province are marked by tundra conditions. Even in central Quebec at comparatively southerly latitudes winters are severe in inland areas.
Quebec independence debates have played a large role in the politics of the province. Parti Québécois governments held referendums on sovereignty in 1980 and 1995; both were voted down by voters, the latter defeated by a very narrow margin. In 2006, the House of Commons of Canada passed a symbolic motion recognizing the "Québécois as a nation within a united Canada."
While the province's substantial natural resources have long been the mainstay of its economy, sectors of the knowledge economy such as aerospace, information and communication technologies, biotechnology, and the pharmaceutical industry also play leading roles. These many industries have all contributed to helping Quebec become an economically influential province within Canada, second only to Ontario in economic output.
The name "Québec", which comes from the Algonquin word kébec meaning "where the river narrows", originally referred to the area around Quebec City where the Saint Lawrence River narrows to a cliff-lined gap. Early variations in the spelling of the name included Québecq (Levasseur, 1601) and Kébec (Lescarbot, 1609). French explorer Samuel de Champlain chose the name Québec in 1608 for the colonial outpost he would use as the administrative seat for the French colony of New France. The province is sometimes referred to as "La belle province" ("The beautiful province").
The Province of Quebec was founded in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 after the Treaty of Paris formally transferred the French colony of Canada to Britain after the Seven Years' War. The proclamation restricted the province to an area along the banks of the Saint Lawrence River. The Quebec Act of 1774 expanded the territory of the province to include the Great Lakes and the Ohio River Valley and south of Rupert's Land, more or less restoring the borders previously existing under French rule before the Conquest. The Treaty of Versailles ceded territories south of the Great Lakes to the United States. After the Constitutional Act of 1791, the territory was divided between Lower Canada (present day Quebec) and Upper Canada (present day Ontario), with each being granted an elected legislative assembly. In 1840, these become Canada East and Canada West after the British Parliament unified Upper and Lower Canada into the Province of Canada. This territory was redivided into the Provinces of Quebec and Ontario at Confederation in 1867. Each became one of the first four provinces.
In 1870, Canada purchased Rupert's Land from the Hudson's Bay Company and over the next few decades the Parliament of Canada transferred to Quebec portions of this territory that would more than triple the size of the province. In 1898, the Canadian Parliament passed the first Quebec Boundary Extension Act that expanded the provincial boundaries northward to include the lands of the local aboriginal peoples. This was followed by the addition of the District of Ungava through the Quebec Boundaries Extension Act of 1912 that added the northernmost lands of the Inuit to create the modern Province of Quebec. In 1927, the border between Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador was established by the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Quebec officially disputes this boundary.
Located in the eastern part of Canada, and (from a historical and political perspective) part of Central Canada, Quebec occupies a territory nearly three times the size of France or Texas, most of which is very sparsely populated. Its topography is very different from one region to another due to the varying composition of the ground, the climate (latitude and altitude), and the proximity to water. The Saint Lawrence Lowland (south) and the Canadian Shield (north) are the two main topographic regions, and are radically different.
Quebec has one of the world's largest reserves of fresh water, occupying 12% of its surface. It has 3% of the world's renewable fresh water, whereas it has only 0.1% of its population. More than half a million lakes, including 30 with an area greater than 250 square kilometres (97 sq mi), and 4,500 rivers pour their torrents into the Atlantic Ocean, through the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the Arctic Ocean, by James, Hudson, and Ungava bays. The largest inland body of water is the Caniapiscau Reservoir, created in the realization of the James Bay Project to produce hydroelectric power. Lake Mistassini is the largest natural lake in Quebec.
The Saint Lawrence River has some of the world's largest sustaining inland Atlantic ports at Montreal (the province's largest city), Trois-Rivières, and Quebec City (the capital). Its access to the Atlantic Ocean and the interior of North America made it the base of early French exploration and settlement in the 17th and 18th centuries. Since 1959, the Saint Lawrence Seaway has provided a navigable link between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes. Northeast of Quebec City, the river broadens into the world's largest estuary, the feeding site of numerous species of whales, fish, and seabirds. The river empties into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. This marine environment sustains fisheries and smaller ports in the Lower Saint Lawrence (Bas-Saint-Laurent), Lower North Shore (Côte-Nord), and Gaspé (Gaspésie) regions of the province. The Saint Lawrence River with its estuary forms the basis of Quebec's development through the centuries. At the same time, many affluent rivers testify to the exploration of land, among them Ashuapmushuan, Chaudière, Gatineau, Manicouagan, Ottawa, Richelieu, Rupert, Saguenay, Saint-François, and Saint-Maurice.
Quebec's highest point at 1,652 metres is Mont d'Iberville, known in English as Mount Caubvick, located on the border with Newfoundland and Labrador in the northeastern part of the province, in the Torngat Mountains. The most populous physiographic region is the Saint Lawrence Lowland. It extends northeastward from the southwestern portion of the province along the shores of the Saint Lawrence River to the Quebec City region, limited to the North by the Laurentian Mountains and to the South by the Appalachians. It mainly covers the areas of the Centre-du-Québec, Laval, Montérégie and Montreal, the southern regions of the Capitale-Nationale, Lanaudière, Laurentides, Mauricie and includes Anticosti Island, the Mingan Archipelago, and other small islands of the Gulf of St. Lawrence lowland forests ecoregion. Its landscape is low-lying and flat, except for isolated igneous outcrops near Montreal called the Monteregian Hills, formerly covered by the waters of Lake Champlain. The Oka hills also rise from the plain. Geologically, the lowlands formed as a rift valley about 100 million years ago and are prone to infrequent but significant earthquakes. The most recent layers of sedimentary rock were formed as the seabed of the ancient Champlain Sea at the end of the last ice age about 14,000 years ago. The combination of rich and easily arable soils and Quebec's relatively warm climate makes this valley the most prolific agricultural area of Quebec province. Mixed forests provide most of Canada's springtime maple syrup crop. The rural part of the landscape is divided into narrow rectangular tracts of land that extend from the river and date back to settlement patterns in 17th century New France.
More than 95% of Quebec's territory lies within the Canadian Shield. It is generally a quite flat and exposed mountainous terrain interspersed with higher points such as the Laurentian Mountains in southern Quebec, the Otish Mountains in central Quebec and the Torngat Mountains near Ungava Bay. The topography of the Shield has been shaped by glaciers from the successive ice ages, which explains the glacial deposits of boulders, gravel and sand, and by sea water and post-glacial lakes that left behind thick deposits of clay in parts of the Shield. The Canadian Shield also has a complex hydrological network of perhaps a million lakes, bogs, streams and rivers. It is rich in the forestry, mineral and hydro-electric resources that are a mainstay of the Quebec economy. Primary industries sustain small cities in regions of Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, and Côte-Nord.
The Labrador Peninsula is covered by the Laurentian Plateau (or Canadian Shield), dotted with mountains such as Otish Mountains. The Ungava Peninsula is notably composed of D'Youville mountains, Puvirnituq mountains and Pingualuit crater. While low and medium altitude peak from western Quebec to the far north, high altitudes mountains emerge in the Capitale-Nationale region to the extreme east, along its longitude. In the Labrador Peninsula portion of the Shield, the far northern region of Nunavik includes the Ungava Peninsula and consists of flat Arctic tundra inhabited mostly by the Inuit. Further south lie the subarctic taiga of the Eastern Canadian Shield taiga ecoregion and the boreal forest of the Central Canadian Shield forests, where spruce, fir, and poplar trees provide raw materials for Quebec's pulp and paper and lumber industries. Although the area is inhabited principally by the Cree, Naskapi, and Innu First Nations, thousands of temporary workers reside at Radisson to service the massive James Bay Hydroelectric Project on the La Grande and Eastmain rivers. The southern portion of the shield extends to the Laurentians, a mountain range just north of the Saint Lawrence Lowland, that attracts local and international tourists to ski hills and lakeside resorts.
The Appalachian region of Quebec has a narrow strip of ancient mountains along the southeastern border of Quebec. The Appalachians are actually a huge chain that extends from Alabama to Newfoundland. In between, it covers in Quebec near 800 km (497 mi), from the Montérégie hills to the Gaspé Peninsula. In western Quebec, the average altitude is about 500 metres, while in the Gaspé Peninsula, the Appalachian peaks (especially the Chic-Choc) are among the highest in Quebec, exceeding 1000 metres.
Quebec has three main climate regions. Southern and western Quebec, including most of the major population centres, have a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) with four distinct seasons having warm to occasionally hot and humid summers and often very cold and snowy winters. The main climatic influences are from western and northern Canada and move eastward, and from the southern and central United States that move northward. Because of the influence of both storm systems from the core of North America and the Atlantic Ocean, precipitation is abundant throughout the year, with most areas receiving more than 1,000 millimetres (39 in) of precipitation, including over 300 centimetres (120 in) of snow in many areas. During the summer, severe weather patterns (such as tornadoes and severe thunderstorms) occur occasionally. Most of central Quebec has a subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc). Winters are long, very cold, and snowy, and among the coldest in eastern Canada, while summers are warm but very short due to the higher latitude and the greater influence of Arctic air masses. Precipitation is also somewhat less than farther south, except at some of the higher elevations. The northern regions of Quebec have an arctic climate (Köppen ET), with very cold winters and short, much cooler summers. The primary influences in this region are the Arctic Ocean currents (such as the Labrador Current) and continental air masses from the High Arctic.
The four seasons in Quebec are spring, summer, autumn and winter, with conditions differing by region. They are then differentiated according to the insolation, temperature and precipitation of snow and rain.
At Quebec City, the length of the daily sunshine varies from 8:37 hrs in December to 15:50 hrs in June; the annual variation is much greater (from 4:54 to 19:29 hrs) at the northern tip of the province. From temperate zones to the northern territories of the Far North, the brightness varies with latitude, as well as the Northern Lights and midnight sun.
Quebec is divided into four climatic zones: arctic, subarctic, humid continental and East maritime. From south to north, average temperatures range in summer between 25 and 5 °C (77 and 41 °F) and, in winter, between −10 and −25 °C (14 and −13 °F). In periods of intense heat and cold, temperatures can reach 35 °C (95 °F) in the summer and −40 °C (−40 °F) during the Quebec winter, They may vary depending on the Humidex or Wind chill.
The all-time record of the greatest precipitation in winter was established in winter 2007–2008, with more than five metres of snow in the area of Quebec City, while the average amount received per winter is around three metres. March 1971, however, saw the "Century's Snowstorm" with more than 40 centimetres (16 in) in Montreal to 80 centimetres (31 in) in Mont Apica of snow within 24 hours in many regions of southern Quebec. Also, the winter of 2010 was the warmest and driest recorded in more than 60 years.
|Location||July (°C)||July (°F)||January (°C)||January (°F)|
The large land wildlife is mainly composed of the white-tailed deer, the moose, the muskox, the caribou, the American black bear and the polar bear. The average land wildlife includes the cougar, the coyote, the eastern wolf, the bobcat (wild cat), the Arctic fox, the fox, etc. The small animals seen most commonly include the eastern grey squirrel, the snowshoe hare, the groundhog, the skunk, the raccoon, the chipmunk and the Canadian beaver.
Biodiversity of the estuary and gulf of Saint Lawrence River consists of an aquatic mammal wildlife, of which most goes upriver through the estuary and the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park until the Île d'Orléans (French for Orleans Island), such as the blue whale, the beluga, the minke whale and the harp seal (earless seal). Among the Nordic marine animals, there are two particularly important to cite: the walrus and the narwhal.
Inland waters are populated by small to large fresh water fish, such as the largemouth bass, the American pickerel, the walleye, the Acipenser oxyrinchus, the muskellunge, the Atlantic cod, the Arctic char, the brook trout, the Microgadus tomcod (tomcod), the Atlantic salmon, the rainbow trout, etc.
Among the birds commonly seen in the southern inhabited part of Quebec, there are the American robin, the house sparrow, the red-winged blackbird, the mallard, the common grackle, the blue jay, the American crow, the black-capped chickadee, some warblers and swallows, the starling and the rock pigeon, the latter two having been introduced in Quebec and are found mainly in urban areas. Avian fauna includes birds of prey like the golden eagle, the peregrine falcon, the snowy owl and the bald eagle. Sea and semi-aquatic birds seen in Quebec are mostly the Canada goose, the double-crested cormorant, the northern gannet, the European herring gull, the great blue heron, the sandhill crane, the Atlantic puffin and the common loon. Many more species of land, maritime or avian wildlife are seen in Quebec, but most of the Quebec-specific species and the most commonly seen species are listed above.
Some livestock have the title of "Québec heritage breed", namely the Canadian horse, the Chantecler chicken and the Canadian cow. Moreover, in addition to food certified as "organic", Charlevoix lamb is the first local Quebec product whose geographical indication is protected. Livestock production also includes the pig breeds Landrace, Duroc and Yorkshire and many breeds of sheep and cattle.
The Wildlife Foundation of Quebec and the Data Centre on Natural Heritage of Quebec (CDPNQ)(French acronym) are the main agencies working with officers for wildlife conservation in Quebec.
Given the geology of the province and its different climates, there is an established number of large areas of vegetation in Quebec. These areas, listed in order from the northernmost to the southernmost are: the tundra, the taiga, the Canadian boreal forest (coniferous), mixed forest and deciduous forest.
On the edge of the Ungava Bay and Hudson Strait is the tundra, whose flora is limited to a low vegetation of lichen with only less than 50 growing days a year. The tundra vegetation survives an average annual temperature of −8 °C (18 °F). The tundra covers more than 24% of the area of Quebec. Further south, the climate is conducive to the growth of the Canadian boreal forest, bounded on the north by the taiga.
Not as arid as the tundra, the taiga is associated with the sub-Arctic regions of the Canadian Shield and is characterized by a greater number of both plant (600) and animal (206) species, many of which live there all year. The taiga covers about 20% of the total area of Quebec. The Canadian boreal forest is the northernmost and most abundant of the three forest areas in Quebec that straddle the Canadian Shield and the upper lowlands of the province. Given a warmer climate, the diversity of organisms is also higher, since there are about 850 plant species and 280 vertebrates species. The Canadian boreal forest covers 27% of the area of Quebec. The mixed forest is a transition zone between the Canadian boreal forest and deciduous forest. By virtue of its transient nature, this area contains a diversity of habitats resulting in large numbers of plant (1000) and vertebrates (350) species, despite relatively cool temperatures. The ecozone mixed forest covers 11.5% of the area of Quebec and is characteristic of the Laurentians, the Appalachians and the eastern lowlands forests. The third most northern forest area is characterized by deciduous forests. Because of its climate (average annual temperature of 7 °C (45 °F)), it is in this area that one finds the greatest diversity of species, including more than 1600 vascular plants and 440 vertebrates. Its relatively long growing season lasts almost 200 days and its fertile soils make it the centre of agricultural activity and therefore of urbanization of Quebec. Most of Quebec's population lives in this area of vegetation, almost entirely along the banks of the St. Lawrence. Deciduous forests cover approximately 6.6% of the area of Quebec.
The total forest area of Quebec is estimated at 750,300 square kilometres (289,700 sq mi). From the Abitibi-Témiscamingue to the North Shore, the forest is composed primarily of conifers such as the Abies balsamea, the jack pine, the white spruce, the black spruce and the tamarack. Some species of deciduous trees such as the yellow birch appear when the river is approached in the south. The deciduous forest of the Saint Lawrence Lowlands is mostly composed of deciduous species such as the sugar maple, the red maple, the white ash, the American beech, the butternut (white walnut), the American elm, the basswood, the bitternut hickory and the northern red oak as well as some conifers such as the eastern white pine and the northern whitecedar. The distribution areas of the paper birch, the trembling aspen and the mountain ash cover more than half of Quebec territory.
At the time of first European contact and later colonization, Algonquian, Iroquois and Inuit nations controlled what is now Quebec. Their lifestyles and cultures reflected the land on which they lived. Algonquians organized into seven political entities lived nomadic lives based on hunting, gathering, and fishing in the rugged terrain of the Canadian Shield: (James Bay Cree, Innu, Algonquins) and Appalachian Mountains (Mi'kmaq, Abenaki). St. Lawrence Iroquoians, a branch of the Iroquois, lived more settled lives, growing corn, beans and squash in the fertile soils of the St. Lawrence Valley. They appear to have been later supplanted by the Mohawk nation. The Inuit continue to fish and hunt whale and seal in the harsh Arctic climate along the coasts of Hudson and Ungava Bay. These people traded fur and food and sometimes warred with each other.
Around 1522–1523, the Italian navigator Giovanni da Verrazzano persuaded King Francis I of France to commission an expedition to find a western route to Cathay (China). In 1534, Breton explorer Jacques Cartier planted a cross in the Gaspé Peninsula and claimed the land in the name of King Francis I. It was the first province of New France. However, initial French attempts at settling the region met with failure. French fishing fleets, however, continued to sail to the Atlantic coast and into the St. Lawrence River, making alliances with First Nations that would become important once France began to occupy the land.
Samuel de Champlain was part of a 1603 expedition from France that travelled into the St. Lawrence River. In 1608, he returned as head of an exploration party and founded Quebec City with the intention of making the area part of the French colonial empire. Champlain's Habitation de Québec, built as a permanent fur trading outpost, was where he would forge a trading, and ultimately a military alliance, with the Algonquin and Huron nations. First Nations traded their furs for many French goods such as metal objects, guns, alcohol, and clothing.
Coureurs des bois, voyageurs and Catholic missionaries used river canoes to explore the interior of the North American continent. They establishing fur trading forts on the Great Lakes (Étienne Brûlé 1615), Hudson Bay (Radisson and Groseilliers 1659–60), Ohio River and Mississippi River (La Salle 1682), as well as the Saskatchewan River and Missouri River (de la Verendrye 1734–1738).
After 1627, King Louis XIII of France allowed the Company of New France to introduced the seigneurial system and forbade settlement in New France by anyone other than Roman Catholics.
In 1629 there was the surrender of Quebec, without battle, to English privateers led by David Kirke during the Thirty Years' War. However, Samuel de Champlain argued that the English seizing of the lands was illegal as the war had already ended; he worked to have the lands returned to France. As part of the ongoing negotiations of their exit from the Anglo-French War, in 1632 the English king Charles agreed to return the lands in exchange for Louis XIII paying his wife's dowry. These terms were signed into law with the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. The lands in Quebec and Acadia were returned to the French Company of One Hundred Associates.
New France became a Royal Province in 1663 under King Louis XIV of France with a Sovereign Council that included intendant Jean Talon. The population grew slowly under French rule, thus remained relatively low as growth was largely achieved through natural births, rather than by immigration. To encourage population growth and to redress the severe imbalance between single men and women, King Louis XIV sponsored the passage of approximately 800 young French women (known as les filles du roi) to the colony. Most of the French were farmers ("Canadiens" or "Habitants"), and the rate of population growth among the settlers themselves was very high.
Authorities in New France became more aggressive in their efforts to expel British traders and colonists from the Ohio Valley. They began construction of a series of fortifications to protect the area. In 1754, George Washington launched a surprise attack on a group of Canadien soldiers sleeping in the early morning hours. It came at a time when no declaration of war had been issued by either country. This frontier aggression known as the Jumonville affair set the stage for the French and Indian War (a US designation; in Canada it is usually referred to as the Seven Years' War, although French Canadians often call it La guerre de la Conquête ["The War of Conquest"]) in North America. By 1756, France and Britain were battling the Seven Years' War worldwide. In 1758, the British mounted an attack on New France by sea and took the French fort at Louisbourg.
On September 13, 1759, the British forces of General James Wolfe defeated those of French General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham outside Quebec City. With the exception of the small islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, located off the coast of Newfoundland, France ceded its North American possessions to Great Britain through the Treaty of Paris (1763) in favour of gaining the island of Guadeloupe for its then-lucrative sugar cane industry. The British Royal Proclamation of 1763 renamed Canada (part of New France) as the Province of Quebec.
With unrest growing in the colonies to the south, which would one day grow into the American Revolution, the British were worried that the French-speaking Canadians might also support the growing rebellion. At that time, French-speaking Canadians formed the vast majority of the population of the province of Quebec (more than 99%) and British immigration was not going well. To secure the allegiance of the approximately 90,000 French-speaking Canadians to the British crown, first Governor James Murray and later Governor Guy Carleton promoted the need for change. There was also a need to compromise between the conflicting demands of the French-speaking Canadian subjects and those of newly arrived British subjects. These efforts by the colonial governors eventually resulted in enactment of the Quebec Act of 1774.
The Quebec Act provided the people of Quebec their first Charter of Rights and paved the way to later official recognition of the French language and French culture. The act also allowed Canadiens to maintain French civil law and sanctioned freedom of religion, allowing the Roman Catholic Church to remain, one of the first cases in history of state-sanctioned freedom of religious practice.
Although the Quebec Act was unrelated to the events in Boston of 1773, and was not regarded as one of the Coercive Acts, the timing of its passage led British colonists to the south to believe that it was part of the program to punish them. The Quebec Act offended a variety of interest groups in the British colonies. Land speculators and settlers objected to the transfer of western lands previously claimed by the colonies to a non-representative government. Many feared the establishment of Catholicism in Quebec, and that the French Canadians were being courted to help oppress British Americans.
On June 27, 1775, General George Washington decided to attempt an invasion of Canada by the American Continental Army to wrest Quebec and the St. Lawrence River from the British. the invasion failed when British reinforcements came down the St. Lawrence in May 1776 and the Battle of Trois-Rivières turned into a disaster for the Americans. The army withdrew to Ticonderoga. Although some help was given to the Americans by the locals, Governor Carleton punished American sympathizers and public support of the American cause came to an end. In 1778, Frederick Haldimand took over for Guy Carleton as governor of Quebec.
The arrival of 10,000 Loyalists at Quebec in 1784 destroyed the political balance that Haldimand (and Carleton before him) had worked so hard to achieve. The swelling numbers of English encouraged them to make greater demands for recognition with the colonial government. To restore stability to his largest remaining North American colony, King George III sent Carleton back to Quebec to remedy the situation.
In ten years, Quebec had undergone a dramatic change. What worked for Carleton in 1774 was not likely to succeed in 1784. Specifically, there was no possibility of restoring the previous political balance – there were simply too many English people unwilling to reach a compromise with the 145,000 Canadiens or their colonial governor. The situation called for a more creative approach to problem solving.
Loyalists soon petitioned the government to be allowed to use the British legal system they were used to in the American colonies. The creation of Upper and Lower Canada in 1791 allowed most Loyalists to live under British laws and institutions, while the French-speaking population of Lower Canada could maintain their familiar French civil law and the Catholic religion. Therefore, Governor Haldimand (at the suggestion of Carleton) drew Loyalists away from Quebec City and Montreal by offering free land on the northern shore of Lake Ontario to anyone willing to swear allegiance to George III. The Loyalists were thus given land grants of 200 acres (81 ha) per person. Basically, this approach was designed with the intent of keeping French and English as far apart as possible. Therefore, after the separation of the Province of Quebec, Lower Canada and Upper Canada were formed, each with its own government.
In 1837, residents of Lower Canada – led by Louis-Joseph Papineau and Robert Nelson – formed an armed resistance group to seek an end to the unilateral control of the British governors. They made a Declaration of Rights with equality for all citizens without discrimination and a Declaration of Independence of Lower-Canada in 1838. Their actions resulted in rebellions in both Lower and Upper Canada. An unprepared British Army had to raise militia force; the rebel forces scored a victory in Saint-Denis but were soon defeated.
After the rebellions, Lord Durham was asked to undertake a study and prepare a report on the matter and to offer a solution for the British Parliament to assess. Following Durham's report, the British government merged the two colonial provinces into one Province of Canada in 1840 with the Act of Union. The two colonies remained distinct in administration, election, and law.
In 1848, Baldwin and LaFontaine, allies and leaders of the Reformist party, were asked by Lord Elgin to form an administration together under the new policy of responsible government. The French language subsequently regained legal status in the Legislature.
In the 1860s, the delegates from the colonies of British North America (Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland) met in a series of conferences to discuss self-governing status for a new confederation. The first Charlottetown Conference took place in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, followed by the Quebec Conference in Quebec City which led to a delegation going to London, Britain, to put forth a proposal for a national union.
As a result of those deliberations, in 1867 the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed the British North America Acts, providing for the Confederation of most of these provinces. The former Province of Canada was divided into its two previous parts as the provinces of Ontario (Upper Canada) and Quebec (Lower Canada). New Brunswick and Nova Scotia joined Ontario and Quebec in the new Dominion of Canada. The other provinces then joined the Confederation, one after the other: Manitoba and the Northwest Territories in 1870, British Columbia in 1871, Prince Edward Island in 1873, Yukon in 1898, Alberta and Saskatchewan in 1905, Newfoundland in 1949 and finally Nunavut in 1999.
When Great Britain declared war on August 4, 1914, Canada was automatically involved as a dominion. About 6,000 volunteers from Quebec participated on the European front. Although reaction to conscription was favourable in English Canada the idea was deeply unpopular in Quebec. The Conscription Crisis of 1917 did much to highlight the divisions between French and English-speaking Canadians in Canada.
During World War II, the participation of Quebec was more important but led to the Conscription Crisis of 1944 and opposition. Many Quebecers fought against the axis power between 1939 to 1945 with the involvement of many francophone regiments such as Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal, le Régiment de la Chaudière and many more.
The conservative government of Maurice Duplessis and his Union Nationale dominated Quebec politics from 1944 to 1959 with the support of the Catholic Church. Pierre Trudeau and other liberals formed an intellectual opposition to Duplessis's regime, setting the groundwork for the Quiet Revolution under Jean Lesage's Liberals. The Quiet Revolution was a period of dramatic social and political change that saw the decline of Anglo supremacy in the Quebec economy, the decline of the Roman Catholic Church's influence, the formation of hydroelectric companies under Hydro-Québec and the emergence of a pro-sovereignty movement under former Liberal minister René Lévesque.
Beginning in 1963, a paramilitary group that became known as the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) launched a decade-long series of propaganda and terrorism that included bombings, robberies and attacks directed primarily at English institutions, resulting in at least five deaths. In 1970, their activities culminated in events referred to as the October Crisis when James Cross, the British trade commissioner to Canada, was kidnapped along with Pierre Laporte, a provincial minister and Vice-Premier. Laporte was strangled with his own rosary beads a few days later. In their published Manifesto, the militants stated: "In the coming year Bourassa will have to face reality; 100,000 revolutionary workers, armed and organized." At the request of Premier Robert Bourassa, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act.
In 1977, the newly elected Parti Québécois government of René Lévesque introduced the Charter of the French Language. Often known as Bill 101, it defined French as the only official language of Quebec in areas of provincial jurisdiction.
Lévesque and his party had run in the 1970 and 1973 Quebec elections under a platform of separating Quebec from the rest of Canada. The party failed to win control of Quebec's National Assembly both times – though its share of the vote increased from 23 percent to 30 percent – and Lévesque was defeated both times in the riding he contested. In the 1976 election, he softened his message by promising a referendum (plebiscite) on sovereignty-association rather than outright separation, by which Quebec would have independence in most government functions but share some other ones, such as a common currency, with Canada. On November 15, 1976, Lévesque and the Parti Québécois won control of the provincial government for the first time. The question of sovereignty-association was placed before the voters in the 1980 Quebec referendum. During the campaign, Pierre Trudeau promised that a vote for the "no" side was a vote for reforming Canada. Trudeau advocated the patriation of Canada's Constitution from the United Kingdom. The existing constitutional document, the British North America Act, could only be amended by the United Kingdom Parliament upon a request by the Canadian parliament.
Sixty percent of the Quebec electorate voted against the proposition for sovereignty-association. Polls showed that the overwhelming majority of English and immigrant Quebecers voted against, and that French Quebecers were almost equally divided, with older voters less in favour and younger voters more in favour. After his loss in the referendum, Lévesque went back to Ottawa to start negotiating a new constitution with Trudeau, his minister of Justice Jean Chrétien and the nine other provincial premiers. Lévesque insisted Quebec be able to veto any future constitutional amendments. The negotiations quickly reached a stand-still. Quebec is the only province not to have assented to the patriation of the Canadian constitution in 1982.
In subsequent years, two attempts were made to gain Quebec's approval of the constitution. The first was the Meech Lake Accord of 1987, which was finally abandoned in 1990 when the province of Manitoba did not pass it within the established deadline. (Newfoundland premier Clyde Wells had expressed his opposition to the accord, but, with the failure in Manitoba, the vote for or against Meech never took place in his province.) This led to the formation of the sovereigntist Bloc Québécois party in Ottawa under the leadership of Lucien Bouchard, who had resigned from the federal cabinet. The second attempt, the Charlottetown Accord of 1992, also failed to gain traction. This result caused a split in the Quebec Liberal Party that led to the formation of the new Action démocratique (Democratic Action) party led by Mario Dumont and Jean Allaire.
On October 30, 1995, with the Parti Québécois back in power since 1994, a second referendum on sovereignty took place. This time, it was rejected by a slim majority (50.6 percent NO to 49.4 percent YES).
Given the province's heritage and the preponderance of French (unique among the Canadian provinces), there has been debate in Canada regarding the unique status (statut particulier) of Quebec and its people, wholly or partially. Prior attempts to amend the Canadian constitution to acknowledge Quebec as a "distinct society" – referring to the province's uniqueness within Canada regarding law, language, and culture – have been unsuccessful; however, the federal government under Prime Minister Jean Chrétien would later endorse recognition of Quebec as a distinct society.
On October 30, 2003, the National Assembly of Quebec voted unanimously to affirm "that the people of Québec form a nation." On November 27, 2006, the House of Commons passed a symbolic motion moved by Prime Minister Stephen Harper declaring "that this House recognize that the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada." However, there is considerable debate and uncertainty over what this means.
The Lieutenant Governor represents the Queen of Canada and acts as the province's head of state. The head of government is the premier (called premier ministre in French) who leads the largest party in the unicameral National Assembly, or Assemblée Nationale, from which the Executive Council of Quebec is appointed.
Until 1968, the Quebec legislature was bicameral, consisting of the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly. In that year, the Legislative Council was abolished and the Legislative Assembly was renamed the National Assembly. Quebec was the last province to abolish its legislative council.
The government of Quebec awards an order of merit called the National Order of Quebec. It is inspired in part by the French Legion of Honour. It is conferred upon men and women born or living in Quebec (but non-Quebecers can be inducted as well) for outstanding achievements.
The government of Quebec takes the majority of its revenue through a progressive income tax, a 9.975% sales tax and various other taxes (such as carbon, corporate and capital gains taxes), equalization payments from the federal government, transfer payments from other provinces and direct payments. By some measures Quebec is the highest taxed province; a 2012 study indicated that "Quebec companies pay 26 per cent more in taxes than the Canadian average". A 2014 report by the Fraser Institute indicated that "Relative to its size, Quebec is the most indebted province in Canada by a wide margin".
Quebec has subdivisions at the regional, supralocal and local levels. Excluding administrative units reserved for Aboriginal lands, the primary types of subdivision are:
At the regional level:
At the supralocal level:
At the local level:
|Source: Statistics Canada|
In the 2016 census, Quebec had a population of 8,164,361 living in 3,531,663 of its 3,858,943 total dwellings, a 3.3% change from its 2011 population of 7,903,001. With a land area of 1,356,625.27 km (523,795.95 sq mi), it had a population density of 6.0/km (15.6/sq mi) in 2016. In 2013, Statistics Canada estimated the province's population to be 8,155,334.
At 1.69 children per woman, Quebec's 2011 fertility rate is above the Canada-wide rate of 1.61, and is higher than it was at the turn of the 21st century. However, it is still below the replacement fertility rate of 2.1. This contrasts with its fertility rates before 1960, which were among the highest of any industrialized society. Although Quebec is home to only 24% of the population of Canada, the number of international adoptions in Quebec is the highest of all provinces of Canada. In 2001, 42% of international adoptions in Canada were carried out in Quebec. By 2012, the population of Quebec reached 8 million, and it is projected to reach 9.2 million in 2056. Life expectancy in Quebec reached a new high in 2011, with an expectancy of 78.6 years for men and 83.2 years for women; this ranked as the third-longest life expectancy among Canadian provinces, behind those of British Columbia and Ontario.
All the tables in the following section have been reduced from their original size, for full tables see main article Demographics of Quebec.
Origins in this table are self-reported and respondents were allowed to give more than one answer.
|North American Indian||219,815||3%|
Percentages are calculated as a proportion of the total number of respondents (7,435,905) and may total more than 100 percent due to dual responses.
Only groups with 1.5 percent or more of respondents are shown.
The 2006 census counted a total aboriginal population of 108,425 (1.5 percent) including 65,085 North American Indians (0.9 percent), 27,985 Métis (0.4 percent), and 10,950 Inuit (0.15 percent). It should be noted however, that there is a significant undercount, as many of the biggest Indian bands regularly refuse to participate in Canadian censuses for political reasons regarding the question of aboriginal sovereignty. In particular, the largest Mohawk Iroquois reserves (Kahnawake, Akwesasne and Kanesatake) were not counted.
Nearly 9% of the population of Quebec belongs to a visible minority group. This is a lower percentage than that of British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta, and Manitoba but higher than that of the other five provinces. Most visible minorities in Quebec live in or near Montreal.
|Total visible minority population||654,355||8.8%|
Percentages are calculated as a proportion of the total number of respondents (7,435,905).
Only groups with more than 0.5 percent of respondents are shown.
Quebec is unique among the provinces in its overwhelmingly Roman Catholic population. This is a legacy of colonial times when only Roman Catholics were permitted to settle in New France. The 2001 census showed the population to be 90.3 percent Christian (in contrast to 77 percent for the whole country) with 83.4 percent Catholic Christian (including 83.2 percent Roman Catholic); 4.7 percent Protestant Christian (including 1.2 percent Anglican, 0.7 percent United Church; and 0.5 percent Baptist); 1.4 percent Orthodox Christian (including 0.7 percent Greek Orthodox); and 0.8 percent other Christian; as well as 1.5 percent Muslim; 1.3 percent Jewish; 0.6 percent Buddhist; 0.3 percent Hindu; and 0.1 percent Sikh. An additional 5.8 percent of the population said they had no religious affiliation (including 5.6 percent who stated that they had no religion at all).
Percentages are calculated as a proportion of the total number of respondents (7,125,580)
The official language of Quebec is French. Quebec is the only Canadian province whose population is mainly Francophone; 6,102,210 people (78.1 percent of the population) recorded it as their sole native language in the 2011 Census, and 6,249,085 (80.0%) recorded that they spoke it most often at home. Knowledge of French is widespread even among those who do not speak it natively; in 2011, about 94.4 percent of the total population reported being able to speak French, alone or in combination with other languages, while 47.3% reported being able to speak English.
In 2011, 599,230 people (7.7 percent of the population) people in Quebec declared English to be their mother tongue, and 767,415 (9.8 percent) used it most often as their home language The English-speaking community or Anglophones are entitled to services in English in the areas of justice, health, and education; services in English are offered in municipalities in which more than half the residents have English as their mother tongue. Allophones, people whose mother tongue is neither French nor English, made up 12.3 percent (961,700) of the population, according to the 2011 census, though a smaller figure – 554,400 (7.1 percent) – actually used these languages most often in the home.
A considerable number of Quebec residents consider themselves to be bilingual in French and English. In Quebec, about 42.6 percent of the population (3,328,725 people) report knowing both languages; this is the highest proportion of bilinguals of any Canadian province. One specific area in the Bilingual Belt called the West Island of Montreal, represented by the federal electoral district of Lac-Saint-Louis, is the most bilingual area in the province: 72.8% of its residents claim to know English and French according to the most recent census. In contrast, in the rest of Canada, in 2006 only about 10.2 percent (2,430,990) of the population had a knowledge of both of the country's official languages. Altogether, 17.5% of Canadians are bilingual in French and English.
In 2011, the most common mother tongue languages in the province were as follows: (Figures shown are for single-language responses only.)
Following were Creoles (0.8%), Chinese (0.6%), Greek (0.5%), Portuguese (0.5%), Romanian (0.4%), Vietnamese (0.3%), and Russian (0.3%). In addition, 152,820 (2.0%) reported having more than one native language.
English is not designated an official language by Quebec law. However, both English and French are required by the Constitution Act, 1867 for the enactment of laws and regulations and any person may use English or French in the National Assembly and the courts of Quebec. The books and records of the National Assembly must also be kept in both languages. Until 1969, Quebec was the only officially bilingual province in Canada and most public institutions functioned in both languages. English was also used in the legislature, government commissions and courts.
Since the 1970s, languages other than French on commercial signs have been permitted only if French is given marked prominence. This law has been the subject of periodic controversy since its inception. The written forms of French place-names in Canada retain their diacritics such as accent marks over vowels in English text. Legitimate exceptions are Montreal and Quebec. However, the accented forms are increasingly evident in some publications. The Canadian Style states that Montréal and Québec (the city) must retain their accents in English federal documents.
|Largest Metropolitan Areas in Quebec|
|Rank||Core City||Administrative Region||Pop.||Rank||Core City||Administrative Region||Pop.||
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