The famous `Free Quebec' speech that was delivered in 1967 by the former French President, Charles de Gaulle, was re-enacted in Montreal on Sunday (24 July).
The famous `Free Quebec' speech that was delivered in 1967 by the former French President, Charles de Gaulle, was re-enacted in Montreal on Sunday (24 July). Organised by the Saint Jean-Baptiste Society, its purpose was to highlight the movement in Quebec that wants the province to attain independence. Some observers say the re-enactment could be the first step in a process resulting in a referendum in which the people of Quebec will decide whether they wish to break away from the rest of Canada.
In May, Prime Minister Trudeau told journalists in Ottawa that the late French President Charles de Gaulles was 'an obnoxious fellow' and the montreal speech in 1967 had soured Franco-Canadian relations for years.
SYNOPSIS: A detachment of riflemen were part of the parade who marched through the streets in the order section of Montreal.
It was organised by the Saint Jean-Baptiste Society, which some reports describe as a right-wing orientated body. Outwardly at least, it was to honour de Gaulle's famous 'Free Quebec' speech.
The Quebec separatist movement has been a thorn in the side of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau for a number of years. Only last April he said he would resign from office if Quebec voters decided to break away from Canada. He said if it did happen he would fell that he'd failed miserably.
The problem became more acute when M. Rene Levesque led his Parti Quebecois to government on a specific promise that the province would split from Canada. Although Premier Levesque has not done this nor even introduced a referendum to decide the issue, it's through by some political commentators to be only a question or timing. Already a bill is being debated in Quebec's lower house that, if passed, will make French the supreme language of the province.
The highlight of the celebration was the re-enactment of former French President, Charles do Gaulle's speech, which was performed by comedian, Gilles Pellestierre. President de Gaulle said in 1967 that Montreal had an atmosphere that reminded him of the liberation days after World War Two.
Although the address was received enthusiastically, moves to break away should prove a lot more difficult. Finance Minister, Donald MacDonald has already warned a separate Quebec should not rely on economic support from the rest of Canada.