Quebec Studies

Québec-U.S. Economic Interdependence: A Historial Overview

Quebec Studies (1988), 7, (1), 48–73.

Abstract

Québec Studies, No. 8,1988 QUÉBEC-U.S. ECONOMIC INTERDEPENDENCE: A HISTORIAL OVERVIEW by Alfred O.Hero,]r} Quebec's relations with the lower British colonies, and thereafter with the United States, developed from limited smuggling prior to the Conquest into more than half of Quebec's foreign trade in goods and services and nearly three-quarters of its capital investments from abroad by the late 1950s. Even before the middle of the nineteenth century, economic relations with the United States became critical both to Quebec's economic development per se and to its rates and types of development relative to those of other Canadian provinces. While growing trade with the United States generated only spo­ radic controversy among Québec francophone elites, it became a source of conflict between francophones and the British colonial authorities as early as the 1830s. Rapidly growing American direct investment beginning in the 1890s resulted in much more heated controversy both within the francophone body politic and between conservative francophone elites and the largely anglophone commercial community. U. S. direct invest­ ment was intimately linked with concern among francophone elites over the emigration of approximately a million young francophones to un­ skilled jobs in the textile and other factories of New England and upstate New York. Familiarity with this economic evolution in Québec is essential to understanding the current state of Quebec's economic interdependence with its superpower neighbor. Many of the earlier controversies, more­ over, foreshadowed those which followed the Quiet Revolution. Expanding Trade Linkages Legitimate trade between the French and British colonies prior to 1760 was minor. The two mercantilist systems, particularly the more

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Hero, Alfred