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The French term pure laine (also mistakenly rendered in English as pur laine), literally meaning pure wool (and often interpreted as true blue or dyed-in-the-wool), is a politically and culturally charged phrase referring to the people having original ancestry of the French-Canadians. Another similar term is de souche (roughly in English, old stock).

While most French-Canadians are able to trace their ancestry back to the original settlers of New France, a number are descended from mixed marriages between the French and Irish settlers.[citation needed] When these shared the same Roman Catholic faith, their unions were approved by the once-powerful Roman Catholic Church in Quebec. Another complicating factor was the settlement of many English people in the region, many of whom were ultimately assimilated into the francophone culture. Recently, Quebec has also enjoyed the benefits of a policy of immigration from French-speaking countries, which has added to, and changed, French-Canadian culture.

The use of pure laine is sometimes deprecated [1][2]. Regardless, English-language commentators Brigitte Pellerin of the Ottawa Citizen [3] and Jan Wong of The Globe and Mail [4] continue to use the term. Mainstream French-language newspaper La Presse, however, still uses both the terms pure laine and de souche.[5]

Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society President Jean Dorion has declared "There is no obsession for racial purity in Quebec, definitely not. [...] The expression 'pure laine' is absolutely obsolete." [1].

These feelings are best illustrated by some people reactions of a recent Parti Québécois policy proposal debate.[6]. On October 18, 2007, Pauline Marois, leader of the Parti Québécois submitted a Private Member's Bill in the National Assembly (Bill-195: Quebec Identity Act) in which it is proposed that any future citizenship in a separate Quebec be based on French language requirements, and that people would have to pass a French proficiency test to merit full citizenship. Those who have been given Canadian citizenship but do not pass a French proficiency test would have certain rights withheld; for example, they would be barred from running for municipal or provincial elections.[7]

This proposed legislation was immediately discredited, having been criticized by many significant politicians and commentators in the province (including former PQ Premier of Quebec Bernard Landry).[citation needed]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Charest seeks Globe apology over notion culture a factor in school shootings" by the Canadian Press, The Gazette, September 19, 2006. Retrieved September 20, 2006.
  2. "Les « pures laines » coupables ?" by Antoine Robitaille, La Presse, September 19, 2006.
  3. Ottawa, The (2007-03-20). "''Don't faint, I'm siding with a separatist''". Retrieved 2010-01-02.
  4. Post, National (2006-09-23). "''L'affaire Wong' becomes talk of Quebec''". Retrieved 2010-01-02.
  5. Katia Gagnon : La commission Bouchard-Taylor... à l'envers | Actualités | Cyberpresse
  6. "Citizenship proposal has a price" by Chantal Hébert, Toronto Star, October 26, 2007.
  7. "Seizing Solitude: Creating Quebec citizenship" The McGill Daily, October 29, 2007

Further reading

  • Taras Grescoe. Sacre Blues: An Unsentimental Journey Through Quebec. Macfarlane Walter & Ross, 2004. ISBN 1551990814

fr:Pure laine ru:Пюр-лэн

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