Following are texts associated with the beginnings of the Quiet Revolution: the postwar period.

They include:

The Long Reign of the Union nationale
“Désormais” (Henceforth)
A Forerunner of the Quiet Revolution
Following are texts associated with the beginnings of the Quiet Revolution: the postwar period.

They include:

The Long Reign of the Union nationale
“Désormais” (Henceforth)
A Forerunner of the Quiet Revolution

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

The Union nationale Overthrows the Liberal Regime

In 1936, a new political party known as the Union nationale won the provincial elections. The leader of the Union nationale was Maurice Duplessis, a talented and ambitious lawyer from Trois-Rivières. Bringing scandals to light and positioning himself as a reformer, he almost single-handedly brought down the Liberal government of Louis-Alexandre Taschereau. As promised, the Union nationale initiated a number of reforms, the most important being the creation of the Office du crédit agricole (farm credit board) in 1936 that allowed many farmers to save their farms from bankruptcy during these years of serious economic crisis. Other measures announced during the election campaign, such as the nationalization of electricity, were pushed into the background and party MLAs who demanded them were silenced. In an ill-fated and poor political move, Duplessis dissolved the Legislative Assembly in 1939 and called an election. The Liberal Party of Adélard Godbout won the election and the Union nationale became the official opposition.

A Fundamentally Read More
The Union nationale Overthrows the Liberal Regime

In 1936, a new political party known as the Union nationale won the provincial elections. The leader of the Union nationale was Maurice Duplessis, a talented and ambitious lawyer from Trois-Rivières. Bringing scandals to light and positioning himself as a reformer, he almost single-handedly brought down the Liberal government of Louis-Alexandre Taschereau. As promised, the Union nationale initiated a number of reforms, the most important being the creation of the Office du crédit agricole (farm credit board) in 1936 that allowed many farmers to save their farms from bankruptcy during these years of serious economic crisis. Other measures announced during the election campaign, such as the nationalization of electricity, were pushed into the background and party MLAs who demanded them were silenced. In an ill-fated and poor political move, Duplessis dissolved the Legislative Assembly in 1939 and called an election. The Liberal Party of Adélard Godbout won the election and the Union nationale became the official opposition.

A Fundamentally Conservative Government

The Union nationale returned to power in 1944 in the wake of the conscription crisis of 1942 and the encroachment of the federal government in certain provincial jurisdictions, given the context of the Second World War. Thus began the 15-year reign of this political party. During this period, Quebec experienced an industrialization and urbanization boom. However, as the years passed, the Union nationale government appeared to be increasingly detached from new realities. On economic issues, the government advocated development at all costs. On social issues, the government was conservative to a fault. In each of these fields, there was to be no question of government intervention, and when there was, it was sparing at best. In its relations with the federal government, the Union nationale was defensive, categorically refusing any funds that Ottawa was prepared to place at the disposal of Quebec. In a blatant show of nationalism, the Union nationale spearheaded the creation of a provincial tax that stunned the federal government.

Always the Same Message

During its 15 years in power, the Union nationale repeatedly emphasized the same program in three points: 1- as a reasonable man, Duplessis gave generously to his province; 2- the Union nationale’s achievements were impressive; 3- the Union nationale provided a solid line of defence against the federal government.

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

The Instigator of the 100-day Revolution

In the opinion of many social science researchers, the election of the Liberal Party in 1960 marked the beginning of the Quiet Revolution. However, the short, but significant, passage of Paul Sauvé as Premier of Quebec warrants close inspection. Journalists dubbed this period the 100-day Revolution.

A New Leader, a New Direction

On September 10, 1959, the same day as Maurice Duplessis’ funeral, Paul Sauvé, Duplessis’ dauphin and trusted ally for 30 years, was designated to replace him. The official announcement was made the next day.  Immediately thereafter, and to the surprise of all, a new order of business was initiated and the Union nationale embraced new positions. Although Sauvé stated that he would pursue the work of Duplessis, he specified that henceforth things would be done differently.

Four Months of Change

In short order, Sauvé initiated several reforms that he would be unable to complete in their entirety. Under his leadership, legislati Read More
The Instigator of the 100-day Revolution

In the opinion of many social science researchers, the election of the Liberal Party in 1960 marked the beginning of the Quiet Revolution. However, the short, but significant, passage of Paul Sauvé as Premier of Quebec warrants close inspection. Journalists dubbed this period the 100-day Revolution.

A New Leader, a New Direction

On September 10, 1959, the same day as Maurice Duplessis’ funeral, Paul Sauvé, Duplessis’ dauphin and trusted ally for 30 years, was designated to replace him. The official announcement was made the next day.  Immediately thereafter, and to the surprise of all, a new order of business was initiated and the Union nationale embraced new positions. Although Sauvé stated that he would pursue the work of Duplessis, he specified that henceforth things would be done differently.

Four Months of Change

In short order, Sauvé initiated several reforms that he would be unable to complete in their entirety. Under his leadership, legislation favourable to workers was voted in, provincial civil servants received substantial wage increases and their working conditions were improved. Measures were implemented to encourage progress in the field of education (increase in grants to classical colleges and legislation to increase teachers’ wages) and the minimum wage was increased. In federal-provincial relations, Sauvé agreed to the principle of hospitalization insurance and the construction of the Trans Canada Highway. He negotiated with Ottawa an agreement covering university grants, all items that Duplessis had rejected offhand in the name of sacrosanct provincial autonomy. He also began to purge the Union nationale party of its undesirable elements, a task completed by Daniel Johnson in the 1960s.

In the end run, the one hundred days or so while Paul Sauvé was in power shook up Quebec, setting the province on a new path.

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

A Mastermind of the Quiet Revolution

Many are those whose actions, positions, writings and artistic activities cleared the path and prepared the way for the Quiet Revolution. Georges-Émile Lapalme, Leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec from 1950 to 1958, was among them. He has to be considered as one of the architects of the Liberal Party victory in 1960, since he was the author of the Party’s political program. The program was an abridged version of a document entitled Pour une politique : Mémoire à quelques personnes that Lapalme wrote in 1959 after his departure as leader of the Liberal Party. Lapalme referred to reflections on resolutions adopted by the party during its convention and work by his political committee for inspiration in the preparation of the document. Merely twenty or so copies of this document circulated among Liberal Party authorities.

The New Ideas of a Philosopher

The ideas set forth in Pour une politique were very progressive. First, Lapalme advocated a revision of the Elections Act – the only means to eliminate certain electoral pra Read More
A Mastermind of the Quiet Revolution

Many are those whose actions, positions, writings and artistic activities cleared the path and prepared the way for the Quiet Revolution. Georges-Émile Lapalme, Leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec from 1950 to 1958, was among them. He has to be considered as one of the architects of the Liberal Party victory in 1960, since he was the author of the Party’s political program. The program was an abridged version of a document entitled Pour une politique : Mémoire à quelques personnes that Lapalme wrote in 1959 after his departure as leader of the Liberal Party. Lapalme referred to reflections on resolutions adopted by the party during its convention and work by his political committee for inspiration in the preparation of the document. Merely twenty or so copies of this document circulated among Liberal Party authorities.

The New Ideas of a Philosopher

The ideas set forth in Pour une politique were very progressive. First, Lapalme advocated a revision of the Elections Act – the only means to eliminate certain electoral practices – and a revised electoral map as well as a reform of party financing, a measure that the Parti québécois would implement once in power in the 1970s. Lapalme then proposed myriad reforms that would transform Quebec: promotion of the French language and culture, need to make education free at all levels, the expansion of Hydro-Québec and control of the distribution of electricity and, finally, positioning the State in a central role, particularly in economic issues. Pour une politique was a source of inspiration for several people. Reading this document convinced René Lévesque to enter the political arena in 1960.

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

Photography of Lapalme, Malraux and Drapeau during a visit to Quebec.

In 1963, the Minister of State for Cultural Affairs in France, writer André Malraux (4th in the photo) visited Quebec. His friend, Georges-Émile Lapalme, Minister of Cultural Affairs for Quebec (2nd in the photo), is at his side. The man between the two men in the photo is Jean Drapeau, Mayor of Montréal.

unknown
20th Century
Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec


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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