As the only French speaking area in North America, the Province
of Quebec is most certainly unique. Home to the separate native
tribes of the Abenakis, Algonquian, Attikameks, Cree, Huron-Wendats,
Innuu, Inuit, Malecites, Micmacs, Mohawks and Naskapis the first
western settlers arrived in 1534. Jacques Cartier was the first
westerner to set foot on the Quebec peninsula and claimed the area
for France. Samuel de Champlain founded the city of Quebec in 1608
with King Louis XIV of France granting the status of Royal Province
By the early 1700’s the British were a powerful force in
the “Upper Canada” region and eventually General Wolfe
defeated the French forces defending Quebec after the famous battle
of Abraham Plains. The French finally ceded the rights to New France
to the British in 1763 and the Province of Quebec joined the Federation
in 1867. That wasn’t to be the end of the drama in Quebec
as first the “Quiet Revolution” and then the rise of
the separatist movement have all led to interesting times. Still
a major part of Canada with abundant natural resources, Quebec is
a truly diverse Province.
The Province of Québec is bordered to the north by the Arctic
Ocean, to the south by the United States and New Brunswick, to the
east by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and to
the west by Ontario, the James and Hudson Bay’s. Covering
an enormous area of well in excess of 1.667 Million square Kilometers,
Quebec is the largest Province in Canada and its land mass is one
sixth of Canada’s total! With one eighth of the territory
being freshwater, the Province has exceptional natural resources
and is famous for its Hydro electric power generation capacity that
feeds the eastern seaboard of North America. Over 60% of the area
is covered in dense forest.
There are four distinct seasons: spring is mild, a normally hot
summer, a beautiful fall ( that compares well to New England) and
a winter that is white and cold. Seasonal temperatures and vegetation
vary depending on the latitude – Quebec is such a huge landmass
that the extreme north is in the Arctic Circle! Quebec has an astounding
27 national parks with the majority operated by Parcs Quebec, though
some are administered by Parks Canada.
The province of Quebec is divided into 17 separate administrative
regions Each administrative region of Québec is responsible
for providing all services essential to promoting and maintaining
excellent quality of life for its citizens. Education, social and
health care services, sports and leisure activities as well as transportation
fall under the jurisdiction of the different levels of government
in the region.
Political institutions refer to the National Assembly and the Executive
Council, and to municipal institutions, the administrative organization
of local municipalities, regional county municipalities (MRC), the
Kativik Regional Administration, as well as to the Municipal Commission
of Québec. These institutions represent the seat of decision
and power in Québec. Québec’s parliamentary system
is based on the British model. The National Assembly is composed
of 125 members, each elected in a riding under the single-member
constituency plurality system.
Established in 1791, the Québec Parliament is one of the
oldest in the world, aside from the British Parliament. It was established
just after the US Congress but at the same time as the French National
The last general election was held on April 14, 2003. The Québec
Liberal Party, and its leader Jean Charest, obtained 76 seats and
forms the Government.” Federally, the Province is well represented
by the Bloc Quebecois, led by Gilles Duceppe and most recently held
around 51 seats in the parliament who as recently as 1995 held a
referendum to declare Quebec’s sovereignty (which was defeated).
Now they are not so separatist but there are still such rumblings
around the Province.
Quebec has recently begun to offer some tax cuts though does add
QST at 7.5% that is added AFTER the GST 0f 7% which totals an additional
15% on top of the price of goods you see in the shops.
With over 75% of its 7.5 million population French speaking, this
is the primary language of the Province. English is a distant second
placed though many people are bi lingual. French was passed as the
official language of Quebec in 1974.
Quebec is an extremely historic city and with some magnificent
architecture is almost 400 years old. The scene of the early struggles
of the Canadians and then the francophone population, Quebec City
certainly offers a unique experience. With world class cuisine and,
the world famous Château Frontenac, perched atop towering
Cape Diamond the city promises memories you will never forget. An
exceptional place to live, the fortified city on the banks of the
St Lawrence waterway is a UNESCO world heritage site that welcomes
over 6 million visitors each year.
Montréal is the major city of the Province with over 3.3
million inhabitants spread throughout its 19 boroughs with 2 major
airports (Trudeau and Mirabel) and definitely the powerhouse of
the Quebec economy. The major aerospace manufacturing plants of
Rolls Royce, Bombardier, Dowty and the technical base for Air Canada
serve as major employers. With professional sports teams the Canadiens
(ice hockey) and the allouettes (CFL) the city is well represented,
with arts a major interest the international jazz festival offers
jazz lovers a 2 week experience that is the envy of many cities.
Outaouais, - this is a large region that is on the Quebec side
of the Ottawa river just across from Ottawa. Many federal civil
servants live here and cross the river for each work day, living
in the largest residential area of the region, the City of Gatineau.
The minimum wage is split into 3 distinct categories, the general
wage is $7.60 per hour, the limit for people earning tips is $6.85
and those in the clothing industry is $8.10 – these are the
2005 rates. There are comprehensive laws that regulate the employment
in Quebec and provide protection and rights for any employee’s
without a standard contract or decree. If you are new to the province
I would recommend you thoroughly understand these rights and obligations.
The main Quebec economy has a GDP of C$250 million which is built
upon several different areas of excellence:
Aerospace, IT, Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals provide a strong
area of technical expertise. The manufacturing industry (Montreal
area is especially renowned for its transportation manufacturing
– Bombardier for instance) are a major factor in the huge
export of goods (82%) into the USA with around1/3rd of the GDP coming
from external trade.
The natural resources are huge with 60% of the North American newsprint
manufactured from the lumber in Quebec, mining of gold, iron, titanium,
asbestos, copper, zinc and silver and the extensive hydro electric
power plants. With over 50,000 new jobs being produced each year
and estimated growth of over 2.5%, Quebec is definitely moving forwards,
though the unemployment rate of 9.1% is still fairly high compared
to other Canadian provinces.
About the Author:
The author immigrated to Canada in 2003 and has constructed a free
information website http://www.onestopimmigration-canada.com about
Canadian Immigration and life in Canada based on his family’s
Read more articles by: Dave Lympany
Article Source: www.iSnare.com
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