The Impact Of French-English Relations In 20th Century Canada

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20th century Canada has been heavily influenced by French-English relations and its negative impact on Canadian identity. The Conscription Crisis of WWI, the October Crisis, and the Meech Lake Accord, have been the most influential events in 20th century Canada.

Canadian identity, when defined by its progression of French-English Relations, changed negatively during the 1920s to the 1930s under the Conscription Crisis of WWI. For instance, when Prime Minister Borden introduced conscription in 1917 the French-Canadians grew restless as Borden had previously claimed in 1914 that “There has not been, there will not be, compulsion or conscription.” Due to this, the relationship between French-Canadians and English-Canadians worsened, causing
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After Duplessis died, a new government took over French Canada, a liberal government came into power with a new set of ideas and the slogan “Time for change”. Jean Lesage stamped out corruption, he raised wages, brought unions, and government jobs became awarded through merit. Through this, the Liberals began to modernize Quebec’s economy, politics, education and culture. As the Liberal government took hold over more social services, the mentality of the citizens changed. Residents of Quebec were encouraged to think of themselves as citizens of the 20th century, their ideals began to transform and evolve, and the church’s impact declined. This movement later came to be known as the Quiet Revolution. After the election in 1962, the liberal party was chosen yet again to lead the province, this time with a different slogan, “Masters in our own house”. What they accomplish while in power was acquiring Quebec’s power source and turning it into a provincially owned power monopoly. Hydro-Quebec became one of the largest crown corporations in North America, further strengthening Quebec’s economy. However, as the French Canadians became proud of their accomplishments, their resentment towards English Canada grew, further impacting French-English relations. They viewed the lack of French-Canadian representation in the federal government as a personal offense. In addition, they were forced to speak English in their work place and in stores. And so, once again, French-Canadians believe that the only way for this injustice to stop is for Quebec to become its own independent nation. This gave birth to the FLQ. The Front de liberation du Quebec, was a terrorist group whose motives were to “free” Quebec from English-Canada. This group

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