Hutchison, Bruce
October 1977
Foreign Affairs;Oct77, Vol. 56 Issue 1, p175
This article explains the motivations of the provincial government of Quebec to withdraw from the union of Canada. Foreigners find it hard to believe that the Canadians would want to destroy their rich country. As foreigners may see them, these threats have appeared suddenly, overnight, but their seeds were planted more than three centuries ago when, in 1608, Samuel de Champlain, the first recognizable Canadian, unwittingly defined the later bisection of the continent through the 49th parallel of latitude--separating the French and English colonies. This line entered the power struggles of Europe and in 1763, under the Treaty of Paris, France ceded its North American territory to Britain. Within Canada, the legacy of the original separate French and English colonies remained. As a result, Canada must lead a double life, an amalgamation of different cultures. In present time, however, Premier René Lévesque and his Quebec government find no logic, visible or otherwise, in the mixed household. Feeling isolated in a generally English-speaking continent, French Canadians in Quebec feel fear of their language and culture. This fear has been exploited by Lévesque enough for Quebecois to want special status for their province; but not enough to evoke a separatist sentiment among the majority of Quebecois.


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