By Garth Stevenson
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Extra resources for Community Besieged: The Anglophone Minority and the Politics of Quebec
Recent attempts by Quebec anglophones to claim some kind of moral superiority over their francophone neighbours on the grounds that anglophones believe only in "individual rights" betray an ignorance of their own history, whether or not there is any reason to believe that individual rights deserve a higher level of legitimacy. In addition to the guarantees outlined above, some Englishspeaking inhabitants of Canada East may also have found reassurance in Section 90 of the Constitution Act, although it was not drafted with them in mind.
O. Chauveau, the former superintendant of public instruction for Canada East, who was known to appreciate Protestant sensitivities. Dunkin entered the cabinet as provincial treasurer, establishing a convention of anglophone treasurers in Quebec that lasted almost without interrrupdon until 1944. George Irvine of Megantic was named attorney-general, and so the two most important portfolios in the first government of Quebec were held by English-speaking Protestants. The Chauveau government established the pattern of elite accommodation between anglophones and francophones in Quebec politics that lasted, despite some periods of difficulty, for a hundred years.
Alliance Quebec opened a dialogue with the government and was able to secure some concessions in language legislation through lobbying, while other victories were won through litigation. Chapter 6 begins with the return of the Liberals to office in 1985 and the restoration of significant anglophone representation in the cabinet. The new government, as anticipated, made some concessions to anglophone interests but one of its major promises - to allow the public display of commercial signs in English as well as French - was abandoned, despite a judicial ruling that the prohibition of bilingual signs violated a constitutional right to freedom of expression.