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La fin du bicaméralisme au Québec
Canadian Journal of Political Science / Revue canadienne de science politique
Vol. 2, No. 3 (Sep., 1969), pp. 312-326
Published by: Canadian Political Science Association and the Société québécoise de science politique
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3231778
Page Count: 15
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The End of Bicameralism in Quebec. American or Australian readers will not be surprised, at least at first glance, that a province should have kept a bicameral system for so long as Quebec since in their own country all but one of the states has a second legislative chamber. For other readers, and Canadians particularly, the survival of a Legislative Council poses a whole series of problems which, for the most part, are explained by the economic and social evolution of Quebec. Why has Quebec maintained an upper chamber for so long when the other Canadian provinces have never had one or have abolished it a long time ago? The facts here presented confirm on several counts the classical theories about bicameralism, and add to them certain points arising specifically from Quebec's unique socio-cultural context: the overrepresentation of privileged social classes, irrespective of partisan attachment; or the representation in the Legislative Council of the English-speaking minority whose spokesmen were, however, closely tied to the French-speaking members by a community of economic interests. It was during the last century that the Legislative Council exhibited most energy; it frequently interfered with the most progressive projects of the different Liberal governments. In the twentieth century, however, it was thought wiser to adapt itself to the changing mood, and it gradually became more self-effacing with respect to the elected chamber. Therefore its reasons for existence became doubtful as it either adopted without question all the proposals of the Legislative Assembly (and so provoked the accusation that it did nothing), or if it did object to anything in any way, it was accused of going against the wishes of the elected representatives of the people. Groups which had supported it finally decided that the council had become obsolete and their representatives have allied themselves with the enemies of the council to vote out of existence the last provincial upper chamber in Canada.
Canadian Journal of Political Science / Revue canadienne de science politique © 1969 Canadian Political Science Association