Following are texts associated with the chapter on "Social Realities.”

Texts include:

The Formation of Leftist Movements
The Decline of the Catholic Religion
Expo 67
Demanding Unionism
Following are texts associated with the chapter on "Social Realities.”

Texts include:

The Formation of Leftist Movements
The Decline of the Catholic Religion
Expo 67
Demanding Unionism

© 2011, Musée québécois de culture populaire. All Rights Reserved.

1968, an Eventful Year

The year 1968 was a year of protests. The Beatles sang Revolution and the Rolling Stones Street Fighting Man. Huge student demonstrations took place in Paris, Mexico, Tokyo and other major cities around the world. Many among them were suppressed violently. In the United States, protests against the war in Vietnam were rampant. Riots broke out in Chicago after the death of Martin Luther King. In Czechoslovakia, the Spring of Prague and the advent of socialism with a human face ended abruptly with the appearance of Soviet tanks in the capital. In Quebec, students brandished the flag of rebellion.

Student Associations Demand Free Education

The premises of this storm went back to the onset of the decade, when student associations expressed the wish to be consulted by school network management and demanded a freeze on tuition. For this initiative, old associations such as university associations in Montréal and Laval dating back to the first third of the 20th century joined more recent associations such as the Fédération des associations générales des Read More
1968, an Eventful Year

The year 1968 was a year of protests. The Beatles sang Revolution and the Rolling Stones Street Fighting Man. Huge student demonstrations took place in Paris, Mexico, Tokyo and other major cities around the world. Many among them were suppressed violently. In the United States, protests against the war in Vietnam were rampant. Riots broke out in Chicago after the death of Martin Luther King. In Czechoslovakia, the Spring of Prague and the advent of socialism with a human face ended abruptly with the appearance of Soviet tanks in the capital. In Quebec, students brandished the flag of rebellion.

Student Associations Demand Free Education

The premises of this storm went back to the onset of the decade, when student associations expressed the wish to be consulted by school network management and demanded a freeze on tuition. For this initiative, old associations such as university associations in Montréal and Laval dating back to the first third of the 20th century joined more recent associations such as the Fédération des associations générales des collèges classiques du Québec (FAGECCQ) and the Union générale des étudiants (UGEQ), created in 1962 and 1964, respectively. A few years later (in 1966) they joined forces to demand free education.

October 1968: the Student Revolt

In 1968, the student movement in Quebec culminated in a massive strike at the CEGEPs (general education and trade colleges). In the early months of 1968, the revolt gained increasing momentum. The anger exploded in October. The general strike at the Lionel-Groulx de Sainte-Thérèse-de-Blainville CEGEP was the spark that set things off. Nearly two-thirds of all colleges (15 out of 23), high schools and a few hundred university students joined the movement. However, the great October revolt was only a flash in the pan, since a few weeks later everything returned to normal.

Demands, Always More Demands

A number of factors were at the origin of the uprising. In the CEGEPs, the students denounced the lack of equipment, inadequate laboratory facilities and the shortcomings in services offered. They were also dogged by other fears such as the inability to attend a school of higher learning and the difficulty of entering the seemingly closed job market. Finally, the list of their reproaches regarding the school system and the education offered to them was interminable. And if this were not enough, they reviled government and the political and economic system. In short, in the students’ opinion the world needed to revamped from top to bottom.

© 2011, Musée québécois de culture populaire. All Rights Reserved.

An Omnipresent Religion

As of the mid 19th century, the Catholic religion exercised considerable influence in Quebec, to the point that historian Lucia Ferretti gave it the status of principal organizer of society in Quebec. Its hold was so great that French writer Paul Claudel referred to Quebec as the Tibet of Catholicism. English Canadians referred to Quebec as the priest-ridden province.

Crucifixes, Rosaries and Scapulars Forsaken

Designations fell quickly with the Quiet Revolution. Quebec became secularized within the space of a few years. The withdrawal affected not only the population, but church representatives as well. Although on the rise throughout the 20th century, the number of priests and nuns dropped dramatically after 1961 owing to numerous departures (see figure). Terms with religious connotations were secularized. Thus the Confédération des travailleurs catholiques du Canada (CTCC) became the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN); the Corporation des instituteurs catholiques became the Centrale des enseignants du Québec (CEQ); the Sacré-Coeur and Read More
An Omnipresent Religion

As of the mid 19th century, the Catholic religion exercised considerable influence in Quebec, to the point that historian Lucia Ferretti gave it the status of principal organizer of society in Quebec. Its hold was so great that French writer Paul Claudel referred to Quebec as the Tibet of Catholicism. English Canadians referred to Quebec as the priest-ridden province.

Crucifixes, Rosaries and Scapulars Forsaken

Designations fell quickly with the Quiet Revolution. Quebec became secularized within the space of a few years. The withdrawal affected not only the population, but church representatives as well. Although on the rise throughout the 20th century, the number of priests and nuns dropped dramatically after 1961 owing to numerous departures (see figure). Terms with religious connotations were secularized. Thus the Confédération des travailleurs catholiques du Canada (CTCC) became the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN); the Corporation des instituteurs catholiques became the Centrale des enseignants du Québec (CEQ); the Sacré-Coeur and Dames de Sainte-Anne leagues became the Chrétiens d’aujourd’hui and the Mouvement des femmes chrétiennes, respectively. In the 1970s, the Union catholique des cultivateurs (UCC) became the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA).

The Will to Adjust to a New Reality

Perfectly aware of the divide between itself and the faithful, the Church sought to revamp and renew its image. To this effect, Pope John XXIII introduced the Vatican II ecumenical council in 1962. A series of measures were set forth, among them the replacement of the Latin mass with masses in the language of the people, the distribution of communion by laymen, mass on Saturday evening and an end to the obligation of women to wear a hat in church, et.al. The measures were welcomed wholeheartedly. However, such was not the case with the position of the Church on divorce in 1967 and contraception in 1968, which the Church vehemently condemned. This did nothing to draw the faithful back into the fold.


© 2011, Musée québécois de culture populaire. All Rights Reserved.

The Union Movement Held in Check by Duplessis

 It was common knowledge that the Union nationale government under Maurice Duplessis was prejudiced against unions. Although consolidated at the close of the Second World War, the foundations of the union movement were challenged at the end of the 1940s and throughout the following decade. The situation was so difficult that the proportion of union workers among all workers decreased between 1946 and 1951 prior to regaining lost ground in the following years (see figure). A few of the most terrible strikes of the 20th century took place under the reign of Duplessis: asbestos in Thetford-Mines, Asbestos in 1949, the Associated Textiles of Canada in Louiseville in 1952-1953, and Murdochville in 1957. In each of these conflicts, the trade unions were trounced soundly or made little in the way of gains.

The Unions Participate in the Quiet Revolution

Immediately after the death of Maurice Duplessis, his successor, Paul Sauvé, instilled a new climate, mitigating tensions between the trade unions and the government of Quebec. Read More
The Union Movement Held in Check by Duplessis

 It was common knowledge that the Union nationale government under Maurice Duplessis was prejudiced against unions. Although consolidated at the close of the Second World War, the foundations of the union movement were challenged at the end of the 1940s and throughout the following decade. The situation was so difficult that the proportion of union workers among all workers decreased between 1946 and 1951 prior to regaining lost ground in the following years (see figure). A few of the most terrible strikes of the 20th century took place under the reign of Duplessis: asbestos in Thetford-Mines, Asbestos in 1949, the Associated Textiles of Canada in Louiseville in 1952-1953, and Murdochville in 1957. In each of these conflicts, the trade unions were trounced soundly or made little in the way of gains.

The Unions Participate in the Quiet Revolution

Immediately after the death of Maurice Duplessis, his successor, Paul Sauvé, instilled a new climate, mitigating tensions between the trade unions and the government of Quebec. Premier Jean Lesage, elected in 1960, embraced the philosophy advocated by Sauvé. A new labour code was voted into law in 1964, the earlier labour code having been curbed to excess by Duplessis. Under the aegis of the new code, public service workers obtained the right to strike, with the exception of firemen and police officers, something completely unthinkable under the Union nationale. Moreover, unions now had a voice in reforms set forth by the government. Several among them had been long awaited by the unions. Union representatives sat on commissions and advisory committees. Given the context, it is not surprising that the proportion of unionized workers increased substantially (see figure). After having exceeded the ceiling of 30% in 1961, their numbers increased to 38% ten years later.

The Unions Become More Radical

Influenced by ideas inspired by Marxism, trade unions became more radical in the second half of the 1960s. Consequently, relations between the trade unions and employers and the state deteriorated. From 1966 to 1970, an average 143 strikes and lockouts took place each year, primarily in the public and parapublic sectors. In 1966 alone, the Syndicat des fonctionnaires du gouvernement du Québec (civil servants union - 25 000 people), the 32 500 hospital workers in Quebec and 2 300 professors at normal schools and agricultural and technical schools threatened to strike. However, only 1 800 civil service professionals, Hydro-Québec engineers and construction workers went on strike. Throughout the 1970s, unionism in Quebec continued to move forward before experiencing a setback in the context of the crisis at the onset of the decade between 1980 and 1990.

© 2011, Musée québécois de culture populaire. All Rights Reserved.

Expo 67, a Privileged Moment in Time

 In 1967, everything was wonderful. It was the year of love and the year of Expo 67 (translation). These words, drawn from one of the best known songs by the group Beau Dommage (Le blues d’la métropole, 1975), perfectly describe the dream-like atmosphere of 1967 at the time of the Montréal World Fair. For six months, or exactly 185 days, the Canadian metropolis hosted a huge celebration to which the entire world was invited. More than any other event, Expo 67 caught the imagination of Quebecers. It was an unforgettable experience for those who attended.

Expo 67, a Huge Jobsite

However, the festivities were preceded by several years of hard labour. The year 1962, during which Montréal was designated to welcome the World Fair after the withdrawal of Moscow, marked the onset of a hubbub of activity. Ile Sainte-Hélène, at the centre of the St. Lawrence River, was chosen as the site for Expo. The island was expanded and another known as Notre-Dame was invented, to coin the expression of Stéphane Venne in his song entitled Un jo Read More
Expo 67, a Privileged Moment in Time

 In 1967, everything was wonderful. It was the year of love and the year of Expo 67 (translation). These words, drawn from one of the best known songs by the group Beau Dommage (Le blues d’la métropole, 1975), perfectly describe the dream-like atmosphere of 1967 at the time of the Montréal World Fair. For six months, or exactly 185 days, the Canadian metropolis hosted a huge celebration to which the entire world was invited. More than any other event, Expo 67 caught the imagination of Quebecers. It was an unforgettable experience for those who attended.

Expo 67, a Huge Jobsite

However, the festivities were preceded by several years of hard labour. The year 1962, during which Montréal was designated to welcome the World Fair after the withdrawal of Moscow, marked the onset of a hubbub of activity. Ile Sainte-Hélène, at the centre of the St. Lawrence River, was chosen as the site for Expo. The island was expanded and another known as Notre-Dame was invented, to coin the expression of Stéphane Venne in his song entitled Un jour, un jour. The new island was built with earth dredged from the river and 28 000 000 tons of rock and earth extracted from the bowels of Montréal during the construction of the metro. On the site, 850 pavilions and futuristic buildings were then built by a workforce numbering thousands. The La Ronde amusement park and Habitat 67, a real estate venue comprising 354 prefabricated concrete cubes consisting of 168 apartments and designed by a young student of architecture from McGill University completed the site. At the same time, Montréal, often referred to by singer Jean-Pierre Ferland as a woman, was undergoing a complete remake with the development of Place Ville-Marie, the skyscrapers of Place Bonaventure and the Montréal Exchange.

A Success beyond Everyone’s Wildest Dreams

The investments and efforts were worth it. April 28, opening day, 3 000 people crowded around the 200 or so turnstiles at 8 a.m. Official records indicate 300 000 visitors by the end of the first day and 1 400 000 by Day 3. The human sea dried up only six months later on October 29 (220 000 visitors), the last day of Expo. A total of more than 50 300 000 people visited the islands, vastly exceeding organizers’ original, extremely optimistic estimates of 30 000 000 at most.

Discovering the World

Expo 67 was a ferment of activities of all kinds. Up to 6 000 free concerts took place and 5 000 films screened. Thanks to Expo, Quebecers could tour the world in a few hours near their own home, discover customs and the gastronomy of dozens of countries, move on and discover even more. During the summer of 1967, Quebecers who visited Expo were immersed in a hotbed of culture.

© 2011, Musée québécois de culture populaire. All Rights Reserved.

Photomontage representing expo 67

Ad for the Montréal World Fair featuring hostesses of different pavilions.

unknown
20th Century
Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa.


Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

Acquire a historic perspective. Establish relations between Quebec as it was before, during and after the Quiet Revolution

Educational Connections (cross-curricular competencies)

Build on information (make the most of information).
Build on information (place knowledge in perspective).
Express one’s opinion (exercise critical judgment).
Take advantage of technology (make the most of information technology and communication).
Immerse oneself in a situation (apply one’s creative thinking).
Commit oneself to exploration (apply one’s creative thinking).

Educational Results

Encourage the student to examine the subject from a historical perspective.
Bring the student to understand the present based on the past.
Bring the student to express an opinion on this history.
Bring the student to develop critical thinking.

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