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The Trudeau Years, Quebec Referendum
bilingualism, provincial government, Ottawa, social programs, Montreal
In 1976 Quebec elected Rene Levesque’s PQ as its provincial government. During the campaign, the PQ had pledged to consult the province in a referendum before implementing its policy of sovereignty-association. The PQ government introduced both social programs and nationalist measures. Rejecting bilingualism, the PQ legislated French as Quebec’s sole official language. French quickly challenged English as the language of commerce. The shift was particularly dramatic in Montreal, which had long been dominated by its English-speaking minority. In 1980 the promised referendum took place. Quebec voters were asked to decide whether the province should negotiate with Ottawa toward achieving sovereignty-association. However, the vote was 60 percent against and 40 percent in favor.
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