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Quebec election 1989: The Liberals hang on

Quebec elections are never dull because they are full of colourful characters, intrigue and more than a few surprises. Whether it's the Liberals ushering in the Quiet Revolution with their 1960 win, or the emotional 1976 election of René Lévesque and his separatist Parti Québécois, the voting habits of our belle province guarantee to fascinate.

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On Sept. 25, 1989, Quebecers give Robert Bourassa and his Liberals another solid majority. But the real news is the surprising success of the new Equality Party, reports CBC Television.
The upstart Equality Party was formed in 1989 in response to Bill 178, the controversial language law restricting English signs in Quebec.

Tapping into English Quebec's rage over Bill 178, the new party steals four seats from what has traditionally been Liberal heartland. The Equality Party wins big with its mandate of protecting civil rights of Quebecers of all ethnic and linguistic groups. The party's win sends a clear message to the Liberal party that the traditional support it has received from English Quebecers may be in jeopardy.
• Writer Mordecai Richler, who was upset over Bill 178, was a vocal supporter of the Equality Party. "Montreal is my home," he told CBC Television, "I can't believe it's now illegal to speak my language."
• The 1989 win gave Robert Bourassa his fourth win, making him one of the most durable leaders in Quebec.
• Despite the Equality Party's strong showing in the 1989 election, it was shut out in subsequent elections.
Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Sept. 26, 1989
Guest(s): Alain Dubuc
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Paul Workman
Duration: 2:56

Last updated: February 10, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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