P090-A_50-1004 | O.K. Everybody take a valium!
O.K. Everybody take a valium!
Aislin (alias Terry Mosher)
1976, 20th century
21 x 17.5 cm
Gift of Mr. Terry Mosher
© McCord Museum
Keys to History
The Parti Québécois (PQ) election victory of November 1976 left federalists feeling helpless, especially in Québec's English-speaking community, which was very apprehensive about the prospect of Québec independence. By having premier-designate René Lévesque tell everybody to take a Valium (a tranquillizer), cartoonist Aislin is reminding them, the day after the election, that there is no need to panic -- independence is still only a remote possibility.
The PQ victory was deeply worrying to English-speaking Quebeckers. Continuing a trend that had begun a few years earlier, tens of thousands of them would leave for other provinces in the years that followed.
Even though there are English-speaking minorities with deep roots in some of Québec's regions such as the Outaouais and the Eastern Townships, the biggest concentration of anglophones in the province is on the Island of Montreal, especially the West Island.
The election of November 15, 1976, and the bringing in of the Charter of the French Language (Bill 101) on August 26, 1977, were two major factors contributing to the growing tension in Québec's English-speaking community.
By drawing defeated Liberal premier Robert Bourassa standing next to his successor, PQ leader René Lévesque, Aislin wanted to offer a reassuring picture of the transition that was under way.