Note: Honoré Mercier was Premier of Quebec from 1887 to 1891. He is well-known as a defender of Quebec’s rights within Canada.

In the following extract, Honoré Mercier uses certain words that ate less used today such as «provincial autonomy» «motherland» and « subservient ». What do these words mean? Once you understand the meaning of these words, will you be better able to understand the meaning of Mercier’s speech?


“The right cause is the motherland, provincial autonomy, the cause our forefathers fought for, the cause of all , the cause of all those who hope that Quebec is not a subservient province, that it is self-governing according to the wishes of its citizens. We do not want Quebec to continue to be associated with this kind of derogatory language… We want to be masters of our destiny, and we want the voice of the majority [of citizens] to be heard and respected by all.”

Source of extract: Free translation of Honoré Mercier, Discours prononcé à l’hôtel Clarendon de Quebec, le 26 janvier 1887, cité dans Gilles Gallichan, Honoré Mercier : la politique et la culture, Sillery, Septentrion, 1994, p.46