The Impact of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 on Quebec: Then and Now
9 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2014
Date Written: October 7, 2013
The Royal Proclamation was the first imperial constitutional instrument in Canada that brought within its fold the indigenous people, the French people of Canada, and the British. For the first time in Canada the question of the fate of the French and the aboriginal peoples in British North America was posed.
I want to frame my presentation within this foundational triangular or tripartite relationship, which was laid down in the Royal Proclamation and which substantially endures to this day, although it has very much evolved since then with the emergence of a strong multicultural dimension.
In discussing the impact of the Proclamation on Quebec, I will of course be talking about its impact on the people that occupied the territory before the British took over and called it “The Province of Quebec” for the very first time in 1763.
These people were the aboriginal peoples who occupied their traditional land and also some reserves created under the French regime and the French people of Canada who had been in the St-Lawrence Valley since the early 17th century. Of course, the territory of New France had been much larger than the tiny Province of Quebec created by the Proclamation but the majority of French settlers did live in that part of the territory claimed by France. I will first briefly canvass the impact of the Proclamation on the French people which has not yet been addressed in detail today. I will also touch on the impact of the Proclamation on the relationship between the French people and indigenous peoples. I will then move on to its impact on indigenous peoples. Since this aspect has been extensively covered by other speakers, I will only add a few additional comments.
Keywords: Canadian Constitutional Law, Royal Proclamation, Quebec Studies
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