Québec around 1980

The right to vote

From 1905 on, all members of Quebec and Canadian society were allowed to vote. In 1980, all citizens, men and women eighteen years and older from all backgrounds had the right to vote in provincial and federal elections.


Women gained the right to vote in federal elections in 1917 and in provincial elections in 1940. Women won this right as a result of many years of struggle. They had to fight against the prejudices of the time which suggested that they should not meddle in politics and that it was for men to lead society. Thanks to their determination, they were granted the right to vote and made ​​a big step towards greater democracy in Quebec.


Until 1964, the voting age was 21 years, while the age of majority was 18. This limited the right of young people to speak in political debates. In addition, the rising generation of baby boomers had a lot to say and more claims to make. To enable them to have greater participation in Quebec politics, Jean Lesage’s Liberal government lowered the voting age to 18 in 1964.

Indigenous Peoples

Before 1960, Indigenous people living in Quebec and Canada had to give up their status to obtain the right to vote. Due to this, few Indigenous Peoples participated in Federal and Provincial elections, though many were involved in local politics. A law passed in 1960 which gave Indigenous Peoples the unconditional right to vote. Since this time, Indigenous people have become more involved in Quebec and Canadian politics.

Those with no right to vote

In 1980, there were still groups who did not have the right to vote? Who were they? They were those with mental illness, prisoners and the homeless. Between 1980 and 2000, these groups obtained the right to vote because the Supreme Court of Canada declared that the right to vote was a fundamental right that could not be denied to anyone. Since 2000, homeless people can even run as candidates.

Author: Alexandre Lanoix. Additions and Adaptations by LEARN


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