Quebec general election, 1976

From Academic Kids

The Quebec general election of 1976 was held on November 15, 1976 to elect members to National Assembly of the Province of Quebec, Canada. It was one of the most significant elections in Quebec history, rivalled only by the 1960 general election. It caused major repercussions in the rest of Canada. The Parti Québécois, led by René Lévesque, defeated the incumbent Quebec Liberal Party, led by Robert Bourassa.

The Parti Québécois's campaign focused on providing "good government", to contrast the many scandals that had plagued the Liberals since 1973. The PQ's stated goal of achieving independence for Quebec from Canada was only a secondary. The election of a separatist government in Quebec caused great upset in the rest of Canada, however, and led to extensive discussions about reforming the Canadian Confederation and finding ways of accommodating Quebec.

The Parti Québécois used their its term in office to introduce numerous bills to implement its program. The first bill introduced in the new session of the National Assembly was legislation to confirm French as the sole official language of Quebec, and to implement measures to make this a social reality. The legislative number of this bill, "Bill One", was intended to signify the importance of this bill for the new government. The bill was withdrawn and significantly altered, however, and was eventually re-introduced as "Bill 101" (or la Loi 101 in French), also known as the Charter of the French Language. With some modifications, the Charter of the French Language remains in effect today and has shaped modern Quebec society in far-reaching ways.

The 1976 election also set the stage for the 1980 Quebec referendum on the PQ's proposal for political independence in an economic union with the rest of Canada called sovereignty-association. The proposal was soundly defeated in the referendum.

Bourassa resigned as Liberal leader, and his political career appeared to be over. He left Quebec and took up teaching positions in the United States and Europe. However he later made a remarkable comeback in the 1985 general election.

Bourassa had called the election after only three years, well before the five-year maximum possible term. It is possible that he may have counted on a boost from his successful rescue of the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal after cost overruns and construction delays by the Montreal municipal government of Mayor Jean Drapeau. If so, he badly miscalculated.

The once-powerful Union Nationale made a modest comeback, winning 11 seats under Rodrigue Biron, and for the first time won significant support from some anglophone voters. An anglophone UN member, William Shaw was elected to the National Assembly. However, this proved to be the party's last hurrah: it never won another seat in any subsequent election, and no longer exists. Vote-splitting between the Liberals and Union Nationale may have made a contribution to the Parti Québécois victory.


Party Party leader # of
Seats Popular Vote
1973 Elected % Change # % % Change

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/PQ/row

Parti Qubcois Ren Lvesque   6 71 +1083%   41.37% +11.2%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Liberal/row

Liberal Robert Bourassa   102 26 -74.5%   33.78% -20.9%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Union Nationale/row

Union Nationale Rodrigue Biron   - 11     18.20% +13.3%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Social Credit/row

Ralliement crditiste   2 1 -50.0%   4.63% -5.3%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Social Credit/row

Parti nationale populaire Jrme Choquette   * 1 *   0.79% *

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Other   - - -   1.23% +0.9%
Total   110 110 -   100%  


* Party did not nominate candidates in the previous election not available.

See also


External link

  • CBC TV video clip (

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