CHC2D Grade 10 Academic History – Cuba, Avro Arrow, and the Quiet Revolution

Chapter 7: Competing Visions of Canada

Canada and the USA

  • after WWII, Canada’s most important international ally was the USA
    • Canada was liked by geography and economics
    • also linked by military agreements like NATO and NORAD
  • Canada hadn’t always seen eye to eye with the USA; growing Canadian nationalism and Canada’s desire to act as a middle power often left both countries following different paths
    • this situation was particularly clear during the international tensions of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, and the Vietnam War

 

Cuban Missile Crisis

  • in 1959, communist revolutionary Fidel Castro overthrew the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista in Cuba
    • in the following years, the USA sought to isolate the country and overthrow Castro’s communist government which gradually allied itself more closely with the Soviets
  • Canada refused to cut its ties with Cuba, much to the frustration of the USA
  • in October 1962, the USA learned that the Soviets were stockpiling nuclear missiles in Cuba; these missiles could reach the USA
    • the USA took incriminating photographs to the UN; the USA then placed a naval blockade around Cuba to stop Soviet ships from delivering any more nuclear supplies
      • this situation became very tense—nuclear war between the USA and Soviets seemed imminent
  • US blocked Cuba from Soviets with a navy
  • as USA raised their state of nuclear readiness, they called on Canada to do the same—Canada refused to do so, despite public opinion polls to show 80% of Canadians supported actions of US President J.F.K.
    • PM Diefenbaker didn’t agree with President Kennedy; but without Diefenbaker’s knowledge, the minister of Defence secretly ordered Canada to go on alert
  • eventually the PM agreed to put Canadian forces on alert as the crisis reached its most serious point,; however, Canadian-American relations had been severely strained
    • after 2 weeks of chilling threats and counter threats, it was now over; it had revealed the strengths and weaknesses of Canada’s relationship with the USA
  • USA told USSR if USSR don’t leave, USA will invade Cuba;; USSR said they’ll launch a nuclear war on USA
    • USA makes a deal—if USSR leaves nuclear weapons out of Cuba, the US will never attack Cuba
  • the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis was a terrifying event to people around the glove—for Canadians, it was the first time they felt directly threatened by the possibility of a nuclear attack—schools practiced air-raid drills so that students would know what to do in a case of a nuclear attack
    • cities such as Toronto practised sounding air-raid sirens during the day

 

Grounding the Avro Arrow

  • under the Liberals, Canada had pledged to develop a military defence jet called the Avro Arrow
    • however, with costs soaring and few countries interested in buying the aircraft, Diefenbaker cancelled the $12.5M project
  • Diefenbaker agreed to buy American-made Bomarc defence nuclear missiles instead
  • to the government, grounding the Avro Arrow made financial sense; however their decision dealt a crippling blow to the aircraft industry as almost 14 000 workers lost their jobs
  • Diefenbaker argued that he didn’t want to fund an industry through federal spending or expand the nuclear arms race; Liberal opponent Pearson called the decision irrational
  • Diefenbaker didn’t want to be part of the nuclear arms race
  • the Avro Arrow was immediately grounded—no effort to keep together the fine professional team of scientists and engineers
  • the decision was to turn the Avro Arrow into scrap—didn’t allow it to be shown in air museums
  • no need for Avro Arrow to fight and drop bombs, as intercontinental space missiles existed
  • as well, the Bomarc missiles that Diefenbaker bought were effective only when armed with nuclear warheads
    • since Diefenbaker refused to store the war heads on Canadian soil, many Canadians questioned why the missiles were bought if they couldn’t deploy
  • instead of planes, intercontinental space missiles used

 

Redefining Canada

  • although the Liberals never formed a majority government under Lester Pearson, they succeeded in passing legislation that strengthened Canada’s social safety net (a set of government programs that provide financial support to those who are sick, elderly, or unemployed):
    • Canada Pension Plan introduced (1965)—a mandatory investment fund that deducted wages from employee’s paycheques and redistributed them in the form of a retirement pension
    • launched Royal Commission on the Status of Women (1967) after women’s groups demanded equal rights
    • public healthcare system adopted (1967) from the health care system founded by Tommy Douglas in Saskatchewan when he introduced national Medicare
      • federal government contributes 50% of the costs, while the provinces have the power to manage their own healthcare systems
    • a temporary hold put on capital punishment
    • new labour laws were established—a minimum wage, 8 hour workday, 40 hour workweek, mandatory 2 week minimum paid vacation for full time employees

 

Expo ’67: Canada Celebrates

  • in 1967, Canada turned 100—the government celebrated with a year-long birthday bash
    • a centennial train carried displays about Canadian history and culture; it toured across the country
    • communities from coast to coast joined in with their own Centennial projects—from skating rinks to libraries to statues
    • Canadian musician Bobby Gimby wrote a special song called “CA-NA’DA”  which became the Centennial’s anthem
  • the centrepiece of the celebration was the world fair, called Expo ’67 in Montreal
    • 90 countries participated, organizing shows and exhibits on the 2 islands in the St. Lawrence River
      • a new subway shuttled over 50M visitors to the islands
  • Expo ’67 made headlines around the world—many world leaders visited Montreal that summer including French President Charles de Gaulle
  • everywhere Gaulle went, crowds of Quebec people gathered to hear him speak; for most Canadians, he injected a sour note in the national celebrations when he declared the battle cry of Quebec separatists “Vive Montreal! Vive le Quebec! Vive le Quebec libre!” (Long live Montreal! Long live Quebec! Long live a free Quebec!) from the balcony of Montreal’s city hall
    • compared Canada to Nazis; slap in the face to Canada, as Canada helped liberate France
    • Gaulle’s proclamation was seen as an interference in Canada’s internal affairs, and also a slap in the face to the federal government
    • Pearson was so angry he refused to meet with Gaulle
  • Expo ’67 unleashed a new feeling of national pride and confidence—many Canadians discovered they had more in common with one another than they thought
    • for some, the Expo’s success marked Canada’s coming of age as a country

 

Quebec and Canada

  • in the late 1960s, dissatisfaction over Quebec’s place in Canada was on the rise
  • PM Pearson wanted to focus on the strained relationship between Quebec and Ottawa, and to control the development of Quebecois nationalism and separatism (political idea supporting Quebec being an independent nation)
  • in 1963, Pearson appointed the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism to examine the growing crisis
    • at a federal conference in 1964, Pearson attempted to find a formula that would allow Canada to amend its Constitution and give the provinces greater powers
      • however, his efforts failed after Quebec premier Jean Lesage refused to support Pearson’s plans
  • Quebec was still a priority after Pearson was re-elected with a second minority government in 1965—Pearson recruited 3 leading Quebec activists to join the federal government and help staunch the separatist tide in Quebec
    • Jean Marchand, Gerard Pelletier, and Pierre Trudeau
  • Marchand, Pelletier, and Trudeau joined Pearson’s cabinet—when Pearson announced his retirement in 1968, Pearson worked quietly behind the scenes to choose his successor—Trudeau

 

The Quiet Revolution

  • French people control everything (not the English or the church)
  • for generations, political and religious leaders in Quebec had protected French culture by embracing French-Canadian traditions
    • Quebec society favoured rural life over urban, religion over state, and isolationism over engagement with the world
    • Maurice Duplessis, the domineering premier of Quebec from 1944 until his death in 1959 had kept a tight rein on these traditions
  • economically, American and English-Canadian business interests owned and operated most Quebec industries and maintained English as the language of the workplace
  • after Duplessis’ death, the Union Nationale lost the election of 1960 to the Quebec Liberal party
    • the Liberals’ slogan was “Il faut que ca change” (things have to change)
      • under the leadership of Jean Lesage, the Liberals promised to end the corruption and patronage (appointing people to government jobs as a reward for past political support) of Duplessis’ government
  • the Liberal victory marked the start of a stunning transformation in Quebec society on all fronts—political, social, cultural, and industrial
    • it was called the Quiet Revolution
  • the Quiet Revolution occurred in the 60s, but the attack on society of the past had actually began with the publication of a manifesto called “Le Refus global” (Total Refusal) by a group of artists and intellectuals in 1948
    • led by abstract artist Paul-Emile Borduas, the group called for Quebec society to overcome its attachment to Roman Catholicism, the French language, and the idealization to rural life

 

Transformation of Québécois Society

  • the Quebec government urged the Quebecois to reject their status as second-class citizens in their own province, and to take control of their destiny to become “maître chez nous” (masters in our own house)
    • masters in our own house means the French control everything (not the English or the Church)
  • under Lesage, the government established a stronger French presence in the province’s economy—it took over several private power companies to create Hydro-Quebec, a publicly owned hydroelectric company
    • Canada is cold therefore electricity was a necessity; by public ownership, electricity costs are low (because there’s no profit), giving the French more money
  • major infrastructure changes
  • investment agencies were set up to help finance Quebecois business initiatives
  • a French Language Office was established to promote the use of French in business
  • the government took control of the province’s social services—restricting the role played by the Roman Catholic Church
    • to improve healthcare, the province built new hospitals and introduced a provincial health insurance plan
    • it created government departments to oversee cultural affairs and federal-provincial relations
    • the province took education away from the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches and created a ministry of Education
      • mandatory school attendance was extended until age of 16; the CEGEP system, a 2 year pre=university program was introduced to improve the quality of education across the province
  • events in Quebec had a significant impact on the rest of the country
    • Quebec demanded more powers and more money from the federal government
    • the provinces gained the power to levy their own taxes
    • Quebec was given the right to opt out of national social programs and create their own provincial counterparts
      • Quebec withdrew from federal pension plan and created its own provincial plan
      • in total, Quebec opted out of 29 federal-provincial cost-sharing projects in an effort to assert its provincial rights
  • artists of all genres contributed to a new sense of Quebec nationalism
    • in theatres, playwrights used joual (Quebec slang) to draw attention to the lives of working class people in the cities
      • his 1969 play Les Belles-soeurs, with its all female cast, focused on Quebec’s working class women
    • in music, Gilles Vigneault captured Quebec’s growing nationalism with songs like “Mon Pays” which became the anthem of the separatist movement
  • although the changes in Quebec were rapid, not everyone agreed on how far they should go
    • some saw Quebec as a unique province and the homeland for French-speaking peoples in North America; they wanted a more assertive Quebec within Confederation, with special status to protect and encourage French language and culture
    • others believed Quebec needed to exert greater influence over government in Ottawa by sending top-quality candidates to the House of Commons
    • other Quebec residents wanted a separate nation

 

Terrorism Comes to Canada

  • during the Quiet Revolution, some Quebecois began to embrace the idea of Quebec separating from Canada to become an independent state
    • most separatists wanted to work for change peacefully, but a few separatists were impatient and chose to work for change outside the law
  • Canadians were used to news reports about acts of terrorism—bombings, kidnappings and assassinations happened regularly, but just not in Canada
  • in the 1960s in Canada, Canadians found terrorism in their own country
    • in 1963, the FLQ launched a campaign of terror in Quebec
  • the FLQ were a small group of extremists who carried out a string of bombings and bank robberies, mainly in Montreal
    • between 1963 and 1970, the FLQ committed over 200 violent acts that killed several people
    • they targeted symbols of English business establishment and English symbols and the federal government
      • bombs were placed in mailboxes in Montreal’s largely English, Westmount district
      • the FLQ exploded bombs in the Montreal Stock Exchange and at McGill University
      • they threatened the life of Queen Elizabeth II in advance of a royal visit to Canada
  • by 1970, 23 members of the FLQ were in jail

 

Handout: The Quiet Revolution

  • before 1960, Maurice Duplessis was premier (Union Nationale)
    • greatly for the French, but gave English Canadian business
    • Duplessis died; then his replacement died
  • before 1960, church was greatly involved in the people’s lives (including schools and hospitals)
  • before 1960, French were the poorest in Quebec; English were the rich ones
    • most were farmers, and since everyone was destined to be a farmer, church didn’t need to educate that well
  • before 1960, immigrants would join the English communities in Quebec, further making the English greater

 

Handout: Separatism in Quebec

  • reasons why French Canadians feel inferior:
    • French Canadian’s country is the whole of Canada, but French Canadians are only accepted in Quebec
    • French Canadians are told they belong to the great French civilization, but at the same time he hears someone speak of “those damned Frenchmen”
    • French Canadians are forced to bilingual; others are unilingual
    • French Canadians hear nothing but raise at school and elsewhere for the beauty of the French language, yet he is obliged to learn English
    • French Canadians are told Canada is made of 2 cultures; yet they get difficulty getting service in west Montreal (English-speaking area) in French
    • French Canadians enter French universities only to study from American textbooks
    • French Canadians are told all about national unity, but are told to stay in Quebec
    • French Canadians hear people say Canada’s an independent nation; everyday, French Canadians see the queen on the coins and stamps

 

Handout: How to Make French Feel Less Excluded

  • make Canada bilingual
  • treat French as equals to English
  • get rid of foreign symbols (Queen on Coins; new anthem instead of God Save the Queen)
  • create Canadian symbols (change Union Jack flag with Canadian flag)
  • make Canadian government bilingual—hire French Canadians in government jobs (as French are already bilingual mostly)
  • make ON and NB bilingual because of high French population
  • recruit more French politicians

 

Handout: What Canada Did to Make Quebec Feel Included

  • Bilingual and Bicultural Group established by Pearson made these changes:
    • made Canada bilingual
    • didn’t get rid of current symbols, but brought new symbols
    • hired more bilingual bureaucrats into government jobs
    • NB was made bilingual
    • more French Canadian politicians (Liberal PMs—Trudeau, Chretien, Martin)
    • new anthem in 1980 (O Canada)
    • new flag in 1965
  • even though changes were made, separatism went up because French knew that if they threatened to separate, they’ll get lots of “stuff”
    • separatism is dying down today, but it will probably come back up