Canadian Unity

June 12, 1968

Report Outline
Coming Election in Troubled Canada
Canadian Quest for National Identity
Canada's Relations with United States
Special Focus

Coming Election in Troubled Canada

Threat of Quebec Secession as Campaign Issue

Canada's national election campaign is focusing attention on what has been described as the gravest issue to confront that country in a century of nationhood. It is the growing threat that the people of French-speaking Quebec will actually make up their minds to break away from the nine other provinces and declare French Canada a separate and independent country. Choices made by the voters in electing a new House of Commons on June 25 will help to indicate the strength of sentiment, among both French-speaking and English-speaking Canadians, for and against so drastic a move.

Quebec separatism has dominated the election campaigning of candidates of the two major Canadian parties, the Liberal and the Conservative. Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the new prime minister and Liberal leader, has spoken out strongly against giving sovereignty, altogether or piecemeal, to his home province of Quebec. In contrast, his predecessor and political mentor, Lester B. Pearson, who was prime minister from 1963 until he resigned on April 20, 1968, was often accused of being “soft on Quebec”—making too many concessions to the restive province.

The attitude toward Quebec in the Conservative opposition is similarly scrambled, if not reversed. Robert L. Stanfield, the Conservative leader, has indicated a willingness to meet Quebec demands short of independence. The man he replaced as party leader last year, former prime minister (1957–63) John Diefenbaker, gave short shrift to nationalist aspirations in Quebec.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Oct. 06, 1995  Quebec Sovereignty
Apr. 12, 1991  The Deepening Canadian Crisis Over Quebec
May 11, 1990  Will Canada Fall Apart?
Mar. 08, 1985  Canada's Time of Change
Dec. 24, 1981  Canada's Political Conflicts
Nov. 04, 1977  Quebec Separatism
Nov. 05, 1976  Canadian-American Relations
Oct. 18, 1972  Canadian Nationalism
Dec. 09, 1970  Canada's Troubled Economy
Feb. 04, 1970  Canada's Changing Foreign Policy
Jun. 12, 1968  Canadian Unity
Oct. 07, 1964  Canadian Separatism
Jun. 06, 1962  Canadian Election
May 29, 1957  Relations with Canada
May 06, 1941  Canada's War Effort
Jul. 18, 1930  Canadian General Election, 1930
Aug. 10, 1929  Canada and the American Tariff
Sep. 21, 1926  Canadian Politics and the Imperial Conference
Imperialism, Colonization, and Independence Movements
Regional Political Affairs: Canada