Cent ans d'injustice
[One hundred Years of Injustice]
In the mid 1960's, as Canada prepared to celebrate its centennial in 1967, and basked in the success of the Universal Fair (Expo 67) of the same year, the growth of the separatist movement dampened the enthusiasm of federalists. To counter what they considered to be federal propaganda, which presented the country, and Quebec's place in it, in an idyllic form, sovereignists launched a campaign to portray the history of Quebec in Confederation as "Cent ans d'injustice" [One hundred years of Injustice]. Banners bearing this slogan were affixed to cars and to federal public buildings.
In the same year, a book using this slogan was written by François Hertel (pseudonym for Rodolphe Dubé). A writer, essayist, philosopher and long-time separatist, Hertel was particularly well placed to articulate the discontent of many Québécois with the state of affairs in Canada. In his view, "we [were] condemned to not getting along with each other as long as we were forcefully kept together by an obscure and distant treaty, the Confederal Pact". Yet, in his opinion, through two separate national states, the two people of Canada could continue to have amicable, indeed fraternal, relations with each other. Indeed, the title of the book did not reflect the perspective of Hertel. Rather, it was the editor of Hertel that suggested that the slogan of Cent ans d'injustice be chosen. Perhaps, he hoped that the provocative title would boost sales...
Again, in the same year, the Bank of Canada issued a new series of bank notes that carried the logo, and celebrated, the centennial of Canada. Separatists used the bills to express their discontent with the country by affixing the slogan of Cent ans d'injustice to the bills.
The dollar bills were supplied by André Montpetit, president of the Association des Numismates et des Philatélistes de Boucherville (A.N.P.B.)
© 2008 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College