Advertisement

24 July 1967: De Gaulle speaks up for Quebec's independence

French president Charles de Gaulle shocked Canada, on this day in 1967, when he declared to a welcoming crowd “Vive le Quebec libre”.

Quebec, originally a French colony, was ceded to the British in the Treaty of Paris of 1763. The Quebec Act of 1774 recognised the French language, and religious rights for Catholics. But in 1838, a pro-independence uprising forced Britain to turn its North American colonies into the Province of Canada in 1840.

Advertisement - Article continues below

This evolved into the semi-autonomous Dominion of Canada in 1867, made up of several regions, including Quebec, which had a degree of regional autonomy and cultural distinctiveness within Canada.

In the late 1950s this arrangement broke down due to concerns that Quebec was becoming "Anglicised". In 1963 the terrorist Front de Libration du Quebec (FLQ) carried out a series of bombings.

However, the independence movement did not take off until Charles de Gaulle, then French president, shocked Canada in July 1967 by declaring "Vive le Quebec libre" to a welcoming crowd, while on a state visit to Canada. Protests forced him to cut short his trip, but the symbolic importance of the French president and war hero endorsing separation delivered a huge boost to the pro-independence movement.

In 1968 the pro-independence Parti Quebecois was formed, gaining regional power by 1976. It passed laws mandating the use of French and forced a referendum on negotiating independence. While it was rejected by 60% of voters, a second referendum in 1995 came within 1% of gaining a majority.

The language laws have become increasingly strict over the years, culminating in a family being fined C$3,000 (£1,500) last year for writing in English on boxes of household goods. 

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

How long can the good times roll?
Economy

How long can the good times roll?

Despite all the doom and gloom that has dominated our headlines for most of 2019, Britain and most of the rest of the developing world is currently en…
19 Dec 2019
The MoneyWeek Podcast: how to age well and profit from the “longevity dividend”
Investment strategy

The MoneyWeek Podcast: how to age well and profit from the “longevity dividend”

Merryn talks to economist and author Andrew J Scott and discusses how we can profit from the "longevity dividend" as we live longer; why we need to re…
6 Aug 2020
6 August 1889: The Savoy hotel opens its doors
This day in history

6 August 1889: The Savoy hotel opens its doors

The traditional home away from home for the rich and famous, The Savoy hotel checked in its first guest on this day in 1889.
6 Aug 2020
5 August 1858: the first transatlantic telegraph cable is completed
This day in history

5 August 1858: the first transatlantic telegraph cable is completed

On this day in 1858, HMS Agamemnon and the USS Niagara completed the mammoth task of laying the first transatlantic telegraph cable.
5 Aug 2020

Most Popular

BP has slashed its dividend – and markets love it
Income investing

BP has slashed its dividend – and markets love it

BP has bowed to the inevitable and cut its dividend in half – and its share price promptly rose. John Stepek explains what it means for shareholders …
4 Aug 2020
Listed companies are dying out, and that could have serious consequences
Stockmarkets

Listed companies are dying out, and that could have serious consequences

Private equity is taking over from public stockmarkets as the biggest provider of capital to companies. That’s bad for investors and bad for society a…
3 Aug 2020
Gold hits the big $2,000 level – are Aim miners about to play catch up?
Gold

Gold hits the big $2,000 level – are Aim miners about to play catch up?

With the price of gold shooting through $2,000 an ounce, the yellow metal looks unstoppable. Things are so bullish, even Aim-listed junior gold miners…
5 Aug 2020