L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia
The Parti "Bleu" is the name given to the conservative political faction that emerged in Quebec (Canada East) in the early 1850's, following the break-up of the French Canadian Block that had dominated the political scene in Quebec since the creation of the United Province of Canada in 1840 (Union Act).
The achievement of Responsible Government and the return of Louis-Joseph Papineau, the radical leader of the Rebellion of 1837, to Canada, had led to a dislocation of the of the French Canadian Block. The result was a political realignment in the province and the creation of two new political parties: the Parti bleu and the Parti rouge.
The Bleu party was made-up of the more conservative individuals of the province. They promoted a mild form of nationalism, focused primarily on the objective of "survivance" (survival). They associated survival with respect for traditional values, religion and cooperation with anglophones, especially Upper Canadians of the tory persuasion. In their view, this cooperation was necessary to resist absorption into the United States. Rejecting the extreme solutions of the Parti rouge, they viewed annexation as the greatest danger to French Canadian interests.
The Bleus also supported railway expansion and, generally, economic development. They cooperated openly with the business community to create conditions propitious to prosperity in the province and the country.
Throughout the XIXth Century, the more moderate faction of the Bleus was constantly besieged by the ultra-catholic (ultramontane) faction; this latter group wished to subordinate the party to clerical control and impose a strict code of religious values. While the Bleus welcomed clerical support they did not wish to fall prey to it. Thus, there was friction from time to time within the party.
As it was preached from some church pulpits in the XIXth Century, "bleu" was the colour of heaven, and the "bleu party" was thus the party of God. The colour remains to this day the official colour of the Conservative Party of Canada.
Department of History,
© 2006 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College