The idea of any separation movement is an emotional one, and the secession movement by the Canadian province of Quebec is no exception. Quebec is a primarily French-speaking province of 7 million that has been frustrated with being part of the primarily Anglo Canada. It has held two independence referendums and in 1995 nearly voted to officially split from Canada.
It is an emotional issue for both nationalists and separatists. It hurts both sides to know that they each see the nation differently. Nationalists see a Canada that includes Quebec; a province whose differences the Canadian government has respected ever since Quebec was gained from France by the Treaty of Paris in 1763. For separatists, the nation is Quebec, and only Quebec. They feel culturally isolated and wish to be politically isolated as well. For separatists, secession is a matter of pride.
This is a province whose peoples pride and culture has felt threatened since the eighteenth century, when at the end of the Seven Years War the people of Quebec were handed over by France to Britain, as if they were property to be owned and traded. Although the people were not mistreated or oppressed by Britain, it was a bitter feeling then and remains so today. The provinces sad motto is Je me souviens which means I remember, and it appears on every Quebec license plate and is inscribed in flowers in Quebec City. It refers to a popular poem in which the author remembers being born happy under France, and raised unhappy under Great Britain.
Still, is this unhappiness so deep, is the separation felt so strongly that the province needs to be even more separate? Why exactly do Quebecois feel threatened? One of their deepest complaints has to do with the protection of their language, the French language. It seems that from as far back as 1763 both the French and the English have been waiting for the other side to assimilate, to become mor