Home > Events > Introduction > A Precursor and Philosopher of the Quiet Revolution

Standard version of the video

In an interview with Fernand Séguin, Georges-Émile Lapalme discusses the document entitled Pour une politique that he prepared in 1959 and which was at the origin of the Liberal Party’s election campaign of 1960.
Image Description
A Precursor and Philosopher of the Quiet Revolution [Fernand Séguin] You have said that I started off abruptly and I will be even more direct, because a few days ago I read a document that truly flabbergasted me.
It was a two-volume document. Here is a volume entitled : "Pour une politique."
It contains a quotation from Molière: I hate those who incite anyone to predict too much but don't dare follow through.
This is a text you wrote in 1959, but that had only limited circulation
I think that perhaps a dozen people may have read it.
Yet when one refers to the Liberal Party program.
I am bringing to light bad memories or reminding you of memories.
When one consults the Liberal Party program of 1960 providing an overview of the main principles of the policy resulting from the Quiet Revolution.
One can see that it is exactly the same thing.
What was in that text is also in the program.
Is it a consequence thereof and is it a revelation that I seek from you ?
Are you the author of the political program for 1960?
Are you the unknown father of the Quiet Revolution?
[George-Émile Lapalme]: Eh, well, unknown, there are a few people who are aware of it.
[FS]: Yes, now there are. [GEL laughs] they learned about it about 2 seconds ago. [GEL] : Oh no, before then...
[GEL]: That is, it is, a summary. I wouldn't even call it a summary.
It is less than a summary of what you have before you.
The things indicated therein were not completely unknown, but they did go unnoticed much like everything that was done during, or everything that was said during the entire period while I was Opposition Leader.
What we said, (this, that) has gone with the wind but there comes a time like the times we have known, when all of a sudden a discovery is made.
This was begun in the spring of 1959 when Parliament opened
It started as a memorandum for me to prepare for the following session to begin in November when all of a sudden, I noted that the memorandum had 60 pages with no separations other than the spaces between the paragraphs the memorandum was much too long in format
So I divided it into chapters and then noticed that it began look like a book just begun
It started as something solely for me and then I thought [hesitation] that instead of preparing the 59-60 session alone. I might as well prepare something even more elaborate because there would be elections in 1960
Then it became a kind of [pause] party memorandum drafted by the party leader or former party leader on the one hand, followed by what would become the departure point for future policy
So it became a volume the start date... I'm not sure of the dates, but it was started in April and finished in May, I believe
[FS]: (look in the volume): yes, I think this is it
[GEL]: Whatever it was during the same summer, the same spring and the same summer
So in this, in this first part, it was not, how shall I say, theoretical, but let's just say that it approached theory. In the second, second part, the volume was somewhat smaller than this one
I began to study the functioning of ministries in operation based on what I had written in the first volume
And I stated that the volume was not altogether unknown, meaning it had not been kept tucked away in my desk drawer because I had copies, I distributed them
[FS]: Twelve copies maximum [GEL]: I distributed a dozen copies because the document was mimeographed and I clearly remember completing the second volume on August 31st, the 30th or 31st of August