CHC 2D 2011: The Jean Baptiste Parade

Yesterday, you read about the changes that took place during Quebec’s Quiet Revolution. Today. you will examine the 1968 Jean Baptiste Parade. This will prepare you for our discussions of the FLQ on Thursday.

First, some background…

While some people in Quebec were satisfied with the changes of the Quiet Revolution, some people wanted greater change. In fact, some called for a separate and independent Quebec. The Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau, was a strong federalist. He wanted a strong national government, and rejected calls for more power to the provinces; he rejected the notion of Quebec Separatism.

Trudeau was a brilliant man. He was extraordinarily popular with some Canadians. Before you get much farther, you need to watch a few short clips to help you understand what Trudeau was like:

  • Here is a clip about Trudeau’s visit to Strathroy
  • A few Canadians talk about Trudeau
  • In this silent clip, watch as Trudeau has to run away from a group of adoring teenage girls. This happened with surprising frequency.

On the other hand, Trudeau was heavily criticized by other Canadians. He could be arrogant and dismissive.  As far as I know, he is still the only Canadian Prime Minister to use a certain hand gesture to get rid of the press. Think about it…you’ll get it.

The Parade

I want you to imagine that you are a Canadian citizen watching the Parade from home. Suddenly, a small riot breaks out in the middle of the parade. Some of the citizens of Montreal start throwing bottles and rocks at the Prime Minister; clearly, they are not fans of his federalist policies. Interestingly, however, Trudeau doesn’t leave. He smiles at them!

Your task is to write a letter to the editor of a newspaper outlining your response to this event. Your perspective of the event will be shaped by your political views. For example, if you support Trudeau, you will probably be shocked by the behaviour of the crowd; on the other hand, if you are a separatist, you will probably be  infuriated by Trudeau’s smugness. Here are some points to consider as you write your 3/4 to 1 page, single-spaced letter.

If you are a separatist:

  • Why is the crowd justified?
  • How do you feel about Trudeau’s smug response?
  • How can the Québécois finally get Trudeau’s attention?
  • Why isn’t the Quiet Revolution enough for you? (look at your answers from yesterday)

If you are a federalist

  • Why is the crowd wrong? (lack of respect for authority?)
  • How do you feel about Trudeau’s brave response in the face of danger?
  • What should Trudeau do to deal with such unlawful behaviour?
  • Why should the people of Quebec be content with the Quiet Revolution? (look at your answers from yesterday)

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