Queen addresses Quebec Parliament in French in 1964
The Liberal Party’s leader and Canada’s Prime Minister holds a “colonial” grip over the state of Quebec’s people, Express.co.uk was told. It comes as a movement in the region pushes for an independence referendum under the new leader of the Parti Québécois. The separatist group has failed twice in breaking away from the federal government.
In 1980, the ‘No’ campaign won by a considerable majority, but 15 years later, in 1995, the ‘Yes’ missed out by a percentage point.
Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, leader of the party, told Express.co.uk that much of French Quebecers’ grievances stem from being treated like “second class citizens”.
From the late 15th century, French and British expeditions arrived in what is now called Canada, fighting over territories they found.
The colony of New France was claimed in 1534, with permanent settlements starting from 1608.
Following the Seven Years’ War, Britain claimed the region in the mid 16th century, and more than 60,000 French Canadians became British subjects.
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The country later became a colony of the British Empire in 1867
A string of events happened in later years, with many French Quebecers accusing British occupiers of mistreating them.
Mr St-Pierre Plamondon claimed the power imbalance was far from over, accusing Mr Trudeau of the “injustices” that continue.
Asked why Quebec wanted independence after failing twice, he said: “There’s a historical argument for justice.
“French Canadians throughout their history have suffered from colonialism, they still do, and it’s the same thing for First Nations people in Canada.
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“It’s very hard to accept that in 2021 we’re not yet under the mould of democracy.
“It’s colonialism and it should be put in the rubbish; colonialism should be eradicated from our lives because it has consequences.”
He drew attention to the fact that Canada, as a Commonwealth nation, has Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state.
Mr Trudeau and the Queen are known to share a good relationship.
He first met the Monarch as a child in 1977 while his father was Canadian Prime Minister.
It wasn’t until 2015 that they saw each other again, the Queen remarking: “Very nice to see you again, in rather different circumstances, isn’t it?”
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French colonists: An artist’s impression of the arrival of the French on the island of Newfoundland,
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Mr Trudeau replied: “I will say, you were much taller than me the last time we met.”
Afterwards, he gave a speech at Canada House on Trafalgar Square, noting the “important” role the Queen had played in Canada’s history.
While Mr St-Pierre Plamondon’s frustration over the treatment continues, snippets of backlash towards the Anglophone population have surfaced in recent years.
In 2019, Quebec denied immigrant status to a French citizen because she was unable to demonstrate adequate French-language proficiency.
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The state rejected Emilie Dubois’ application because part of her university thesis was in English, according to the BBC.
Many English speakers have also voiced fears they are being squeezed into insignificance.
In 2013, when Parti Québécois came into power, it pushed new laws through the provincial parliament that looked to further reduce the use of English in schools, hospitals and shops.
The state even has its own “language police” with inspectors from L’Office quebecois de la langue francaise enforcing the rule that the lettering of French signs should be three times bigger than that of other languages.
First Nations: For 30 years 4,000 indigenous women and girls have been killed or gone missing
While French Quebecers have and still experience persecution, many note that First Nations people – whose land was taken from then by French and British colonists – continue to face strife.
In the past 30 years, 4,000 indigenous women and girls are believed to have been killed or gone missing in Canada, although the true number is unlikely ever to be known.
Little has been done to probe the crisis.
This is added to the 60 percent of indigenous communities that died within years of European settlers arriving, according to a 2016 study.