It appears that due to conditioning, with help from the government education curriculum, many citizens of Canada have lost sight of, or have never known the political history of the country they call home. For example, many Canadians do not know what the 1763 “Treaty of Paris” is, and why Canada effectively has a French colony inside its borders.
From early contact with First Nations, to the basic-survival of the Pioneers, and their respective ensuing diplomatic struggles, leaders of different nations and cultures, some capable and some inept, forged forward with plans that did not always end well. From the French and Indian War/Seven Year War (1) of 1754-1763 that culminated in the ratification of “The Treaty of Paris”, to the failure of “The Albany Plan of Union” in 1774, there are volumes of history that answer many questions as to how Canada evolved divided, and how some historical decisions are still negatively reverberating today. (2)
For example, after the “Treaty of Paris”, addressing Quebec separately was accommodated by “The Quebec Act” of 1774 which reinstituted French Civil Law in Quebec, pointedly for matters of private law (i.e.: law between individuals) but left English Common Law intact for public matters (i.e.: between individuals, governments, and institutions). (3)
The “Official Languages Act” which formally added French as one of the official languages of Canada, did not exist until it was championed in 1969 by PM Pierre Trudeau. (4) Along with other increments, one of the most recent concessions Quebec has sought is to be recognized as a “Nation” – which will likely lead to future Constitutional repercussions. As the current Premier of Quebec, Mr. Legault signifies in his own words; …his government has “the right and duty to use the clause, especially when the foundation of our existence as a people in America is at stake.”, he emphasizes a rarely spoken opinion that Quebec has distinction and status above all other provinces. (5)
Parents of any family know that showering special treatment on one child, especially if it is at the expense of siblings, is a recipe for disharmony, if not complete disaster. If Canada can be seen as a big family of provinces, all the historical and recent concessions, along with exorbitant transfer payments to Quebec, extracted from provinces that are struggling, indeed come across as questionable. If the federal government truly wants equality, it should start here. It is long past time for Canada to become one country, undivided.
(1) Milestones: 1750–1775 – Office of the Historian (state.gov)
(3) Quebec Act, 1774 | The Canadian Encyclopedia
(4) Official Languages Act (Canada) – Wikipedia
(5) Quebec seeks to amend Canadian Constitution with new language law – The Globe and Mail