Québécois (pronounced [kebekwa] ( listen); feminine: Québécoise (pronounced [kebekwaz] ( listen)), Quebecois (fem.: Quebecoise), or Québecois (fem.: Québecoise) is a word used primarily to refer to a French-speaking native or inhabitant of the Canadian province of Quebec. It can refer to French spoken in Quebec. It may also be used, with an upper or lower case initial, as an adjective relating to Quebec, or to the French culture of Quebec. A resident or native of Quebec is usually referred to in English as a Quebecer or Quebecker. In French, Québécois or Québécoise usually refers to any native or resident of Quebec. Its use became more prominent in the 1960s as French Canadians from Quebec increasingly self-identified as Québécois.
The name "Quebec" comes from a Mi'kmaq word k'webeq meaning "where the waters get narrow" and originally referred to the area around Quebec City, where the Saint Lawrence River narrows to a cliff-lined gap. French explorer Samuel de Champlain chose this name in 1608 for the colonial outpost he would use as the administrative seat for the French colony of Canada and New France. The Province of Quebec was first founded as a British colony in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 after the Treaty of Paris formally transferred the French colony of New France to Britain after the Seven Years' War. Quebec City remained the capital. In 1774, Guy Carleton obtained from the British Government the Quebec Act, which gave Canadiens most of the territory they held before 1763; the right of religion; and their right of language and culture. The British Government did this to in order to keep their loyalty, in the face of a growing menace of independence from the 13 original British colonies.
The term became more common in English as Québécois largely replacing French Canadian as an expression of cultural and national identity among French Canadians living in Quebec during the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s. The predominant French Canadian nationalism and identity of previous generations was based on the protection of the French language, the Roman Catholic Church, and Church-run institutions across Canada and in parts of the United States. In contrast, the modern Québécois identity is secular and based on a social democratic ideal of an active Quebec government promoting the French language and French-speaking culture in the arts, education, and business within the Province of Quebec. Politically, this resulted in a push towards more autonomy for Quebec and an internal debate on Quebec independence and identity that continues to this day. The emphasis on the French language and Quebec autonomy means that French-speakers across Canada now self-identify more specifically with provincial or regional identity-tags, such as acadienne, or franco-canadienne, franco-manitobaine, franco-ontarienne or fransaskoise. As a result, francophone and anglophones now borrow the French terms when discussing issues of francophone linguistic and cultural identity in English, though outside of Quebec terms such as Franco-Ontarian, acadian and Franco-Manitoban are still predominant.
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The political shift towards a new Quebec nationalism in the 1960s led to Québécois increasingly referring to provincial institutions as being national. This was reflected in the change of the provincial Legislative Assembly to National Assembly in 1968. Nationalism reached an apex the 1970s and 1990s, with contentious constitutional debates resulting in close to half of all of French-speaking Québécois seeking recognition of nation status through tight referendums on Quebec sovereignty in 1980 and 1995. Having lost both referendums, the sovereigntist Parti Québécois government renewed the push for recognition as a nation through symbolic motions that gained the support of all parties in the National Assembly. They affirmed the right to determine the independent status of Quebec. They also renamed the area around Quebec City the Capitale-Nationale (national capital) region and renamed provincial parks Parcs Nationaux (national parks). In opposition in October 2003, the Parti Québécois tabled a motion that was unanimously adopted in the National Assembly affirming that the Quebec people formed a nation. Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe scheduled a similar motion in the House of Commons for November 23, 2006, that would have recognized "Quebecers as a nation". Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper tabled the Québécois nation motion the day before the Bloc Québécois resolution came to a vote. The English version changed the word Quebecer to Québécois and added "within a united Canada" at the end of the Bloc motion.
The "Québécois nation" was recognized by the Canadian House of Commons on November 27, 2006. The Prime Minister specified that the motion used the "cultural" and "sociological" as opposed to the "legal" sense of the word "nation". According to Harper, the motion was of a symbolic political nature, representing no constitutional change, no recognition of Quebec sovereignty, and no legal change in its political relations within the federation. The Prime Minister has further elaborated, stating that the motion's definition of Québécois relies on personal decisions to self-identify as Québécois, and therefore is a personal choice.
Despite near-universal support in the House of Commons, several important dissenters criticized the motion. Intergovernmental Affairs minister Michael Chong resigned from his position and abstained from voting, arguing that this motion was too ambiguous and had the potential of recognizing a destructive ethnic nationalism in Canada. Liberals were the most divided on the issue and represented 15 of the 16 votes against the motion. Liberal MP Ken Dryden summarized the view of many of these dissenters, maintaining that it was a game of semantics that cheapened issues of national identity. A survey by Leger Marketing in November 2006 showed that Canadians were deeply divided on this issue. When asked if Québécois are a nation, only 53 per cent of Canadians agreed, 47 per cent disagreed, with 33 per cent strongly disagreeing; 78 per cent of French-speaking Canadians agreed that Québécois are a nation, next to 38 per cent of English-speakers. As well, 78 per cent of 1,000 Québécois polled thought that Québécois should be recognized as a nation.
Québécois in census and ethnographic studies
The Québécois self-identify as an ethnic group in both the English and French versions of the Canadian census and in demographic studies of ethnicity in Canada. In the 2001 Census of Canada, 98,670 Canadians, or just over 1% of the population of Quebec identified "Québécois" as their ethnicity, ranking "Québécois" as the 37th most common response. These results were based on a question on residents in each household in Canada: "To which ethnic or cultural group(s) did this person's ancestors belong?", along with a list of sample choices ("Québécois" did not appear among the various sample choices). The most common ethnicity,"Canadien" or Canadian, did appear as an example on the questionnaire, and was selected by 4.9 million people or 68.2% of the Quebec population.
In the more detailed Ethnic Diversity Survey, Québécois was the most common ethnic identity in Quebec, reported by 37% of Quebec’s population aged 15 years and older, either as their only identity or alongside other identities. The survey, based on interviews, asked the following questions: "1) I would now like to ask you about your ethnic ancestry, heritage or background. What were the ethnic or cultural origins of your ancestors? 2) In addition to "Canadian", what were the other ethnic or cultural origins of your ancestors on first coming to North America?" This survey did not list possible choices of ancestry and permitted multiple answers. In census ethnic surveys, French-speaking Canadians identify their ethnicity most often as French, Canadien, Québécois, or French Canadian, with the latter three referred to by Jantzen (2005) as "French New World" ancestries because they originate in Canada. Jantzen (2005) distinguishes the English Canadian, meaning "someone whose family has been in Canada for multiple generations", and the French Canadien, used to refer to descendants of the original settlers of New France in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Those reporting "French New World" ancestries overwhelmingly had ancestors that went back at least 4 generations in Canada: specifically, 90% of Québécois traced their ancestry back this far. Fourth generation Canadiens and Québécois showed considerable attachment to their ethno-cultural group, with 70% and 61% respectively reporting a strong sense of belonging.
The generational profile and strength of identity of French New World ancestries contrast with those of British or Canadian ancestries, which represent the largest ethnic identities in Canada. Although deeply rooted Canadians express a deep attachment to their ethnic identity, most English-speaking Canadians of British ancestry generally cannot trace their ancestry as far back in Canada as French-speakers. As a result, their identification with their ethnicity is weaker tending to have a more broad based cultural identification: for example, only 50% of third generation "Canadians" strongly identify as such, bringing down the overall average. The survey report notes that 80% of Canadians whose families had been in Canada for three or more generations reported "Canadian and provincial or regional ethnic identities". These identities include "Québécois" (37% of Quebec population), "Acadian" (6% of Atlantic provinces) and "Newfoundlander" (38% of Newfoundland and Labrador).
Most[weasel words] French usage employs references to people and things of Quebec origin.
- Les Québécois et Québécoises (masculine and feminine genders) to include women when referring to Quebecers as a whole.
- Le québécois (e.g., Je parle québécois./I speak Quebec French.).
- Québécois de Québec: from Quebec City.
- Québécois du Québec: from province of Quebec.
Possible use as an ethnic designation in French
The dictionary Le Petit Robert, published in France, states that the adjective québécois, in addition to its territorial meaning, may refer specifically to francophone or French Canadian culture in Quebec. The dictionary gives as examples cinéma québécois and littérature québécoise.
However, an ethnic or linguistic sense is absent from Le Petit Larousse, also published in France, as well as from French dictionaries published in Canada such as Le Dictionnaire québécois d'aujourd'hui[need quotation to verify] and Le Dictionnaire du français Plus, which indicate instead Québécois francophone "francophone Quebecer" in the linguistic sense. These dictionaries also include phrases like cinéma québécois "Quebec cinema", but do not classify them as relating to language or ethnicity.[original research?]
Special terms using 'Québécois'
French expressions employing "Québécois" often appear in both French and English.
- Parti Québécois: Provincial-level political party that supports Quebec independence from Canada
- Bloc Québécois: Federal-level political party that supports Quebec independence from Canada
- Québécois de souche ("old-stock Quebecker"): Quebecer who can trace their ancestry back to the regime of New France
- Québécois pure laine: "true blue" or "dyed-in-the-wool" Quebecker
- Québécois francophone: "francophone Quebecer"
- Québécois anglophone: "anglophone Quebecer"
- néo-Québécois ("new Quebecers"): immigrant Quebecers
- Le Québec aux Québécois ("Quebec for Québécois", or "Quebec for Quebecers"): slogan sometimes chanted at Quebec nationalist rallies or protests. This slogan can be controversial, as it might be interpreted both as a call for a Quebec controlled by Québécois pure laine, with possible xenophobic connotations, or as a call for a Quebec controlled by the inhabitants of the province of Quebec, and free from outside interference.
- List of people from Quebec
- Language demographics of Quebec
- English-speaking Quebecer
- Irish Quebecers
- "Quebecker, Quebecer, Québécois". TERMIUM Writing Tips. Public Works and Government Services Canada. 2012-02-03. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
A French-speaking Quebecker is often referred to as a Québécois (masculine) or Québécoise (feminine) written with two accented é’s, although some editorial styles prefer none.
- The form Québecois (fem.: Québecoise) – with one acute accent é – is valid in French, and appears in English publications (e.g., Canadian Oxford Dictionary (ISBN 0-19-541816-6; p. 1265)). Yet, in the entry "Quebecker, Quebecer, Québécois(e), Franco-, French Canadian" in the Oxford Guide to Canadian English Usage. (ISBN 0-19-541619-8; Fee, Margery & McAlpine, Janice; Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1997; p. 405-6): "... note that Québécois(e) requires either two accents or none. Often anglophone writers omit the second accent in Québécois, probably because Québec has only one accent and because in English Québécois is usually pronounced KAY beck wah, not KAY BAY kwah." As well, "[s]ometimes English writers use Québécois, without a final e, to refer to a woman; in French, this e would be required."
- "Canadian Oxford Dictionary".
|chapter=ignored (help) "a francophone native or inhabitant of Quebec"
- In entry "Quebecker, Quebecer, Québécois(e), Franco-, French Canadian". In Oxford Guide to Canadian English Usage. (ISBN 0-19-541619-8) Fee, Margery & McAlpine, Janice. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1997; p. 405-6: "The French words Québécois and Québécoise (feminine) are also frequently used in English, but generally only to refer to the French-speaking residents of Quebec."
- Editing Canadian English, 2nd ed. (ISBN 1-55199-045-8) Cragg, Catherine, ed., et al.; Editors Association of Canada. Toronto: Macfarlane Walter & Ross, 2000; p. 230 (item 12.125): "A Quebecker (preferable to "Quebecer") is a person of or from Quebec province; a Québécois(e) is a French Canadian of or from Quebec province. As an adjective in English material, usually capped, as in Québécois cooking."
- "Quebecois. (n.d.). The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition.". Houghton Mifflin Company. 2000. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
A native or inhabitant of Quebec, especially a French-speaking one.
- ""Quebecois." Main entry. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition". 2003. Retrieved 2007-03-16.
a native or inhabitant of Quebec; specifically: a French-speaking native or inhabitant of Quebec
- "Québécois". Gage Canadian Dictionary. Toronto, Canada: Canada Publishing Corporation. 1983. "a Quebecer, especially a Francophone."
- "quebecois. (adj.). WordNet 3.0.". Princeton University. 2006. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
adjective 1. of or relating to Quebec (especially to the French speaking inhabitants or their culture)
- "Quebecker, Quebecer, Québécois". TERMIUM Writing Tips. Public Works and Government Services Canada. 2012-02-03. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
A resident of Quebec is known as a Quebecker or Quebecer.
- "Québécois". Travaux publics et Services gouvernementaux Canada. 2012-02-03.
Personne née dans la province de Québec ou qui y habite.
- Robert, Paul (1984). Petit Robert. Dictionaire de la langue française. Montreal: Les Dictionnaires Roberts-Canada S.C.C. ISBN 2-85036-066-X. "Specialt. (répandu v. 1965). Du groupe ethnique et linguistique canadien français composant la majorité de la population du Québec. Littérature québécoise; cinéma québécoise."
- Bélanger, Claude (2000-08-27). "The social-democratic nationalism: 1945 to today". Quebec Nationalism. Marianopolis College. Retrieved 2007-04-05.
- Churchill, Stacy (2003). "Language Education, Canadian Civic Identity, and the Identity of Canadians" (PDF). Council of Europe, Language Policy Division. pp. 8–11.
French speakers usually refer to their own identities with adjectives such as québécoise, acadienne, or franco-canadienne, or by some term referring to a provincial linguistic minority such as francomanitobaine, franco-ontarienne or fransaskoise.
- Denis, Angèle; Adrienne Shadd and Carl E. James, Editors (2001). "Corridors: Language as Trap and Meeting Ground". Talking about Identity: Encounters in Race, Ethnicity and Language. Toronto: Between the Lines. pp. 133–146. ISBN 1-896357-36-9.
The latent nationalism that is the corollary of folklorization is also visible in the persistence of Canadians in designating Québécois, Acadiens, and Fransaskois as French Canadian. Most Québécois speak French.
- Bédard, Guy; Adrienne Shadd and Carl E. James, Editors (2001). "Québécitude: An Ambiguous Identity". Talking about Identity: Encounters in Race, Ethnicity and Language. Toronto: Between the Lines. pp. 28–32. ISBN 1-896357-36-9.
In short, apart from the historical and cultural specificities, the process by which the Québécois identity was born was not much different from the formation of other community identities around the world.
- Ship, Susan J.; Adrienne Shadd and Carl E. James, Editors (2001). "Jewish, Canadian or Québécois: Notes on a Diasporic Identity". Talking about Identity: Encounters in Race, Ethnicity and Language. Toronto: Between the Lines. pp. 20–27. ISBN 1-896357-36-9.
... the Anglo-American culture of Canada; the French Québécois culture of Quebec; and the distinct cosmopolitan multiculture of Montreal.
- "House passes motion recognizing Québécois as nation". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2006-11-27. Retrieved 2006-12-21.
- "Who's a Québécois? Harper isn't sure". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2006-12-19. Retrieved 2006-12-21.
- Jim Brown (2006-11-28). "Harper Pays price for victory on Québécois nation motion". Canadian press (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 2007-09-23.[dead link]
- Hubert Bauch (2006-11-11). "Quebec 'nation' debate divides French, English: poll". CanWest News Service; Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 2007-09-23.
- Ethno-Cultural Portrait of Canada, Table 1
- "Census questionnaire (long form)" (PDF).
- "Census questionnaire (long form)" (PDF).
To which ethnic or cultural group(s) did this person's ancestors belong? For example, Canadian, French, English, Chinese, Italian, German, Scottish, Irish, Cree, Micmac, Metis, Inuit (Eskimo), East Indian, Ukrainian, Dutch, polish, Portuguese, Filipino, Jewish, Greek, Jamaican, Vietnamese, Lebanese, Chilean, Somali, etc.
- Ethnic Diversity Survey: portrait of a multicultural society (PDF). Statistics Canada. 2003. ISBN 0-662-35031-6. Retrieved 2008-04-25.
For example, in Quebec, Québécois was the most common ethnic identity and was reported by 37% of Quebec’s population aged 15 years and older, either as their only identity or alongside other identities.
- "Ethnic Diversity Survey". The Daily. Statistics Canada. 2003. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
For example, 37% of Quebec's population aged 15 years and older reported Québécois, either as their only ethnic identity or alongside other identities.
- Statistics Canada (April 2002). "Ethnic Diversity Survey: Questionnaire" (PDF). Department of Canadian Heritage. Retrieved 2008-04-25.
- Jantzen, Lorna (2005). "The Advantages of analyzing ethnic attitudes across generations — Results from the Ethnic Diversity Survey". Department of Canadian Heritage. Retrieved 2008-12-26.
Footnote 2 - It should also be noted that respondents were not provided examples of ancestries and they were permitted to report multiple responses.
- Jantzen (2005) Footnote 9: "These will be called "French New World" ancestries since the majority of respondents in these ethnic categories are Francophones."
- Jantzen (2005) Footnote 5: "Note that Canadian and Canadien have been separated since the two terms mean different things. In English, it usually means someone whose family has been in Canada for multiple generations. In French it is referring to "Les Habitant", settlers of New France during the 17th and 18th Century, who earned their living primarily from agricultural labour."
- Jantzen (2005): "The reporting of French New World ancestries (Canadien, Québécois, and French-Canadian) is concentrated in the 4th+ generations; 79% of French- Canadian, 88% of Canadien and 90% of Québécois are in the 4th+generations category."
- Jantzen (2005): "According to Table 3, the 4th+ generations are highest because of a strong sense of belonging to their ethnic or cultural group among those respondents reporting the New World ancestries of Canadien and Québécois."
- Jantzen (2005): For respondents of French and New World ancestries the pattern is different. Where generational data is available, it is possible to see that not all respondents reporting these ancestries report a high sense of belonging to their ethnic or cultural group. The high proportions are focused among those respondents that are in the 4th+ generations, and unlike with the British Isles example, the difference between the 2nd and 3rd generations to the 4th+ generation is more pronounced. Since these ancestries are concentrated in the 4th+ generations, their high proportions of sense of belonging to ethnic or cultural group push up the 4th+ generational results."
- Jantzen (2005): "As shown on Graph 3, over 30% of respondents reporting Canadian, British Isles or French ancestries are distributed across all four generational categories."
- Jantzen (2005): Table 3: Percentage of Selected Ancestries Reporting that Respondents have a Strong* Sense of Belonging to the Ethnic and Cultural Groups, by Generational Status, 2002 EDS"
- See p. 14 of the report
- Perron, Paul (2003). Narratology and Text: Subjectivity and Identity in New France and Québécois Literature. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. xvii + 338. ISBN 0-8020-3688-0.
- Robert, Paul (1984). Petit Robert. Dictionaire de la langue française. Montreal: Les Dictionnaires Roberts-Canada S.C.C. ISBN 2-85036-066-X. "Specialt. (répandu v. 1965). Du groupe ethnique et linguistique canadien français composant la majorité de la population du Québec. Littérature québécoise; cinéma québécois."
- Le Petit Larousse (1989)
- Entry for québécois in Dictionnaire québécois d'aujourd'hui. The entry is a column long.
- Entry for Québécois at the Grand dictionnaire terminologique.
- Gagnon, Lysiane (2006-11-13). "There's no Quebec 'nation'". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- Gagnon, Lysiane (2006-11-26). "La nation? Quelle nation?". La Presse. Retrieved 2007-04-04.
- Claude Bélanger (2000-08-23). "The Quiet Revolution". Marionapolis College. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
There was no doubt that the Québécois, governed for so long by "Negro-Kings" [to use the interesting expression of André Laurendeau] in the interest of foreign powers, economical and political, had to become masters of their destiny, had to be "Maîtres chez-nous". Scads of Parti Québécois supporters were later to echo these sentiments in chanting loudly during political rallies: "Le Québec aux Québécois".
- Bédard, Guy; Adrienne Shadd and Carl E. James, Editors (2001). "Québécitude: An Ambiguous Identity". Talking about Identity: Encounters in Race, Ethnicity and Language. Toronto: Between the Lines. p. 30. ISBN 1-896357-36-9.
The increasing uneasiness that I feel each time I hear nationalists say Le Québec aux Québécois illustrates this in another way. In adhering to this battle cry, indépendentistes are necessarily forced to admit that there are certain individuals whose status as residents of Quebec is not enough to qualify them as Québécois.
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- "Quebecers or Québécois?". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
- "Québécois". Trésor de la langue française au Québec. Département de Langues, linguistique et traduction, Faculté des Lettres, Université Laval. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
- "Quebecker". Trésor de la langue française au Québec. Département de Langues, linguistique et traduction, Faculté des Lettres, Université Laval. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
- Blattberg, Charles. "I am English Canadian". Tolerance.ca. Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- Coudé-Lord, Michelle (1994-04-30). "Une tache noire dans la neige blanche". vol. 18, no 4 (in French) (Journal de Montréal). pp. 24–25. Retrieved 2007-04-14.
- Dubuc, Pierre (2002). "Sans nous qui est Québécois ?". SPQ Libre! (Syndicalistes et progressistes pour un Québec libre). Retrieved 2007-04-08.
- Dufour, Christian (2003). "Trudeau's Legacy: A New Canadian Nationalism based on the Denial of the Québécois Heart of Canada" (PDF). London journal of Canadian Studies (London Conference for Canadian Studies) 18. ISSN 0267-2200. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
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- Grey, Julius (2006). "The Effect of Recognizing the Québécois Nation" (PDF). Ameriquests (Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee) 3. e-ISSN: 1553-4316. Retrieved 2007-09-03.
- Helly, Denise; Van Schendel, Nicolas (2001). Appartenir au Québec : Citoyenneté, nation et société civile : Enquête à Montréal, 1995 ( – Scholar search). Les Presses de l'Université Laval. ISBN 2-89224-326-2. Retrieved 2007-04-15.[dead link]
- Jantzen, Lorna (2005). "The Advantages of analyzing ethnic attitudes across generations — Results from the Ethnic Diversity Survey". Department of Canadian Heritage. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
Graph 1: Top Fifteen Reported Ancestries, 2002 EDS
- Noel, Jacques (2007-03-31). "Québécois francophones de vieille souche". Le Devoir. Retrieved 2007-04-15.
- Parenteau, François (2006-11-30). "LA NATION schtroumpf".
Teboul, Victor (2007), L'identité québécoise est-elle inclusive ? http://www.tolerance.ca/Article.aspx?ID=3621&L=fr
- Young, David (1999). "Céline Dion, the ADISQ Controversy, and the Anglophone Press in Canada". Canadian Journal of Communication (Public Knowledge Project) 24 (4). ISSN: 1499-6642. Retrieved 2007-03-16.
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