Rev­o­lu­tions, even ‘quiet’ ones, have their reper­cus­sions

The Canadian Jewish News (Montreal) - - News - IRA ROBIN­SON SPE­CIAL TO THE CJN

Ar­guably the great­est is­sue con­fronting Canada in the past half cen­tury has been that of Que­bec sep­a­ratism. For the Cana­dian Jewish com­mu­nity, there have been few is­sues of more sig­nif­i­cance. That pe­riod saw the 1976 elec­tion of the Parti Québé­cois on a plat­form of sep­a­rat­ing from Canada and ref­er­en­dums on Que­bec sep­a­ra­tion in 1980 and 1995. The events of these decades had an enor­mous ef­fect on Mon­treal’s Jewish pop­u­la­tion and caused sig­nif­i­cant changes in the makeup and struc­ture of the Cana­dian Jewish com­mu­nity as a whole, not the least of which was the rise of Toronto as Canada’s pre-em­i­nent Jewish com­mu­nity.

At the on­set of Que­bec’s Quiet Rev­o­lu­tion in the 1960s, Mon­treal Jews lived with sig­nif­i­cant so­cial dis­tance be­tween them and the French-cana­di­ans who made up a ma­jor­ity of Que­bec’s pop­u­la­tion. In 1965, jour­nal­ist and politi­cian Claude Ryan spoke truly when he stated: “I know of very few French-cana­di­ans who main­tain friendly pri­vate re­la­tions with Jews, or who have any se­ri­ous knowl­edge of the men­tal­ity, the real prob­lems, the frus­tra­tions and the as­pi­ra­tions of the av­er­age Jew … or who care about such things.”

The Quiet Rev­o­lu­tion aimed to change the pre­vi­ous sta­tus quo, in which French-cana­di­ans were per­ceived as dis­ad­van­taged, through the po­lit­i­cal, so­cial

I have great re­spect for Jews, but they take up too much room.

Busi­ness­man Pierre Péladeau in 1990

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