Parti Québécois

views updated

Parti Québécois (pärtē kēbĕkwä´) (PQ), provincial political party committed to the independence of Quebec. Founded in 1968, it soon became a force in provincial elections. In 1976, led by René Lévesque, it captured control of the provincial assembly. Among its first acts was the passage of Bill 101, controversial legislation that made French the official language of Quebec and prohibited the use of English on signs and in most commercial transactions. It also introduced much social legislation, such as no-fault auto insurance legislation. In May, 1980, voters in the long-awaited provincial referendum rejected the proposition that Quebec should proceed to negotiate for its independence. Despite this, the party won the 1981 provincial elections. Internal dissension over the result of the 1980 referendum led to a weakening of the party. Lévesque resigned as party leader in 1985, and the PQ was defeated in provincial elections later that year. Subsequent party leaders Pierre-Marc Johnson and Jacques Parizeau struggled to return the PQ to its earlier success. In 1994 the party returned to power, and Parizeau became Quebec's premier. He resigned as premier and party leader, however, after Quebec voters narrowly rejected independence in a PQ-sponsored referendum in 1995; Lucien Bouchard succeeded him. The PQ remained in power after the 1998 provincial elections. Bouchard resigned as party leader and premier in 2001, and Bernard Landry succeeded him, serving as premier until the PQ's loss at the polls in 2003. André Boisclair succeed Landry as party leader in 2005. The PQ placed third in 2007 provincial elections, behind the Liberals and the conservative Action Démocratique, a party that called for autonomy for Quebec. Boisclair subsequently resigned as PQ leader; Pauline Marois succeeded him. Under Marois the PQ dropped its vow to hold a new referendum on independence soon after regaining control of the provincial government. In 2008 the PQ again lost to the Liberals but placed second. The party won a plurality in 2012, and Marois became Quebec's first woman premier, but lost to the Liberals in 2014.