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The Picture Gallery of Quebec History


Last revised:
23 August 2000

The Denunciation of "Duplessisme" by Abbés Gérard Dion and Louis O'Neill [1956]

Father Gérard Dion was the Director of the Department of Industrial Relations of Université Laval at the time of the publication of the manifesto entitled L'Immoralité Politique dans la Province de Québec. He had entered the University as a professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences in 1943. In the 1950's, he was also closely associated with the Confédération des travailleurs catholiques du Canada, the prominent Catholic trade union of Quebec [CTCC].

The co-writer of the manifesto was Louis O'Neill. In 1956, he was a professor of philosophy and social ethic at the Séminaire de Québec. He wrote extensively on social issues throughout his career. Among his writings were two books he co-authored with Gérard Dion: Le Chrétien et les élections [1960] and Le Chrétien en démocratie [1961]. In the 1970's, he left the priesthood and was elected to the National Assembly for the Parti Québécois.

The denunciation of political corruption in Quebec in general, and of "duplessisme" in particular, by the two priests, in 1956, had a tremendous impact. When published as a pamphlet by the Ligue de la Moralité publique [public morality league] it sold over 100,000 copies. Several daily newspapers reproduced the document as well. It also received wide editorial commentaries and support. It served to further distance the Roman Catholic Church from the Duplessis regime and to anchor it solidly on the side of the progressive forces in Quebec that were hard at work in trying to change conditions in the province.

Consult the document section for further information.