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  How did Quebec's nationalist movement become so white?
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ContributorIndyGeorgia 
Last EditedIndyGeorgia  Jul 12, 2018 09:25pm
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CategoryPerspective
AuthorMartin Patriquin
News DateThursday, July 12, 2018 09:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionGérald Godin, the first immigration minister of the separatist Parti Québécois (PQ), was also a poet. In 1983, he published an ode to new arrivals to Quebec. “Seven thirty in the morning the Montreal Metro is full of immigrants,” Godin wrote in Tango de Montréal. “The city’s old heart will beat again thanks to them.”

Godin’s words, which now form a mural behind Mont Royal metro station, still ring true 35 years later. Nearly 87% of the 50,000 immigrants arriving in Quebec each year settle in Montreal, bolstering the province’s moribund birthrate and curbing its demographic decline. Godin, like PQ premier René Lévesque, was adamant that immigrant communities and institutions would survive and thrive in an independent Quebec.

What’s more, given their ever-increasing demographic and electoral weight, Godin saw recruiting new Québécois to his cause as a matter of necessity. In his vision, these new arrivals would adopt both French and a Quebec first identity – and eventually vote to separate from Canada.

It was a bold vision, and so far it has been a failed one. Despite Godin’s best efforts, the Parti Québécois has consistently failed to convince immigrants to its side. In 1995, about a year after Godin’s death, the PQ held a referendum on Quebec sovereignty. The “No” side won by all of about 54,000 votes. In his concession speech, the PQ premier, Jacques Parizeau, blamed “money and some ethnic votes” for the loss.
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