Quebec

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Whereas rights associations proliferated in Ontario, there were surprisingly few in Quebec. Montrealers were active in rights associations, beginning with a chapter of the Canadian Civil Liberties Union in the 1930s and, years later, the Montreal Civil Liberties Association. The League for Democratic Rights also had chapters in Montreal and Quebec City, and the Jewish Labour Committee (JLC) was headquartered in Montreal, as was its affiliate, the United Council for Human Rights. Otherwise, the Ligue des droits de l’homme (now Ligue des droits et libertés) has been the dominant rights association in the province since the 1960s.

Established in 1963, the Montreal-based LDH toyed briefly with the possibility of establishing chapters throughout the province. As early as 1965, it corresponded with activists in Sherbrooke regarding the launch of a branch there, but nothing came of the initiative. Its first branch, formed in 1973 in Quebec City, survived for barely a year. Little is known about the branch or why it failed, except that it encountered difficulty in convincing people to play an active role in the group. The longest-lasting LDH branch, the Comité Regionale du Côte Nord (Sept-Îles) and was active between 1976 and 1980. Inspired by the accomplishments of the LDH itself, it was created by a group of local residents who were fighting against exploitation by landlords. It spent most of its time writing to politicians on key issues, preparing teaching aids, distributing press releases, and organizing petitions. Another LDH branch was founded in Estrie in 1978, but it too became defunct in a few years. The minutes of the Montreal LDH reveal that simple lack of interest by most of the executive probably accounted for the failure of the branches. They themselves sprang from local initiative, not the efforts of the executive, and the LDH offered them neither financial support nor a seat on its council, and took little interest in their work. The LDH itself remains one of the largest and most active rights associations in Canada today.