Parti Quebecois first elected 35 years ago today
Published Tuesday, November 15, 2011 11:04AM EST
35 years ago this week the first separatist government was elected in Quebec.
On November 15, 1976, the Parti Quebecois, led by its founder Rene Levesque, won the election and ended the six and a half year long government of Robert Bourassa's Liberal party.
PQ candidates snapped up 71 of the110 seats in the National Assembly.
In his victory speech before a delirious crowd at Montreal's Paul Sauve Arena, Levesque declared "I have never felt so proud to be a Quebecer."
Before the election the PQ had renounced its intention to implement sovereignty-association if it won power. Instead it promised to hold a referendum on Quebec sovereignty which took place in May 1980.
The separatist option was rejected by six out of ten Quebecers.
That 1976 election brought several PQ MNAs to power who later became famous, including Pierre-Marc Johnson, Bernard Landry, Jacques Parizeau, Camille Laurin, Jacques-Yvan Morin, Claude Charron, Jean Garon, Guy Chevrette, Jacques Brassard and Claude Morin.
The PQ remained as the government until December 1985, when they were defeated by former premier Robert Bourassa, who resumed the leadership of the Liberal party in 1983.
With files from The Canadian Press
Quebec Premier Rene Levesque tries to hush supporters at a Parti Quebecois rally in Montreal, Nov.15, 1976, following his party's victory over the Liberal party of Robert Bourassa in the provincial election. It was a meaningless mid-November game whose only memorable play occurred in the stands, yet decades later it still illustrates more than any Stanley Cup-winning heroics what the Montreal Canadiens have meant to their city. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Files)