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The ‘dark age’ of Quebec

The Story

The 30s, 40s and 50s are considered the dark ages in Quebec. The chilling climate of the Cold War, McCarthyism paranoia and the repressive influence of the church lead to frequent bans and censorship. The Padlock Law, extolled in this clip by Premier Maurice Duplessis, allows seizure of property belonging to "suspected" communists. The law exemplifies the chill on Quebec society at the time. It is against this backdrop that young artists begin to gather at painter and mentor Paul-Emile Borduas's home. At these informal meetings, they passionately discuss art, philosophy and above all the need for intellectual and religious freedom in Quebec.

Medium: Radio
Program: IDEAS
Broadcast Date: Oct. 21, 1998
Host: Lister Sinclair
Reporter: Alan Conter
Duration: 1:06

Did You know?

• Paul-Emile Borduas's house in St. Hilaire, 35 kilometres outside Montreal, was the gathering place for young artists and intellectuals.
• Pierre Gauvreau, one of the artists who signed Refus global in 1948, described Montreal in the postwar days under Premier Maurice Duplessis as "pretty dull" with very little do to in terms of cinemas, theatres and galleries.


Le Refus global: Revolution in the Arts more