People who argue against statehood for Puerto Rico sometimes compare it with Quebec, a province in Canada.

What do Quebec and Puerto Rico have in common?

  • Quebec was gained by Great Britain from France in a war and became part of Canada. Puerto Rico was gained by the U.S. from Spain in a war.
  • The Americans attempted to liberate Quebec from Britain when they declared independence from Britain. The Americans presented their ownership of Puerto Rico as liberation from Spain.
  • Quebec’s official language is French, while the rest of Canada is primarily English speaking. Puerto Rico is primarily Spanish speaking, and has both English and Spanish as official languages, while much of the rest of the U.S. is English speaking, although there are other smaller pockets of populations where Spanish is predominant.
  • Language can be an emotional topic in both Quebec and Puerto Rico.

What differences are there?

  • Quebec is a province of Canada, while Puerto Rico is not a State of the U.S. It holds 75 of the 295 seats in Canada’s parliament, while Puerto Rico has no voting members in the U.S. House of Representatives and no representation in the U.S. Senate or in the election of the president and the vice president of the U.S.
  • Quebec enjoys a strong economy, which Puerto Rico does not.
  • Some people in Quebec express nationalistic feelings. Only a minority do in Puerto Rico.
  • Quebec and Puerto Rico both have independence movements, and both have had incidents of related violence in the past. But the support for independence in Quebec is much greater than that in Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico, it is only 4.5%, according to the territory’s status plebiscite, in November 2012. In Quebec, it was 49% in the last referendum, in 1995. Some in Puerto Rico who do not want independence want nationhood in an association with the U.S. but statehood received 61.2% of the vote against any form of nationhood in the plebiscite.

This post was originally written in English and may be being auto-translated by Google.



2 Responses

  1. I’d add a few points to your Quebec/Puerto Rico compare/contrast:

    While Quebec was conquered by the British, that is not how it came to be part of Canada, it did so by way of self-determination/not so for Puerto Rico;

    Quebec was one of the 4 founding provinces of Canada/Puerto Rico was not a founding member of the US;

    7 Canadian prime minister have been from Quebec/no US presidents of been from Puerto Rico and it does not seem possible.

    The comparison between the two is like apples and oranges. Even if you did draw an analogy with a Canadian territory, all 3 Canadian territories elect members to Parliament, have the exact same citizenship rights and are covered by the Constitution and the Charter like all Canadians. The governance/constitutional perspectives and histories of Canada and the US are so different that a comparison is moot.

  2. Thank you, Kelly, those are important points. We wrote about this question because a number of media outlets were saying that Puerto Rico after statehood would be like Quebec in the sense of having language-related conflicts with the U.S. Our point is that Puerto Rico is not like Quebec, and your comments have done a better job of making that point.

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