The quiet theory

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:49 AM ET

Don't play The Rocket and Rene Levesque on the same line says a leading professor of Canadian history.

"The Richard Riot has been interpreted to death as the start of the Quiet Revolution in Quebec, but that's crap," said Graeme Decarie, who teaches at Concordia University in Montreal. "Everything that happens in Quebec has language undertones and underlying (French-English) resentment, never mind the riot. It could have easily happened if they had played that game in 1890.

"We once had two teams here that were supposedly built on that resentment, the Canadiens and Montreal Maroons and they weren't even all French or all-English lineups. I think it was (Canadiens') Dickie Moore who said it best, 'the Richard Riot was a hockey riot and nothing else.' "

Decarie said the Quiet Revolution had been boiling a long time before the chaos on Ste. Catherine in 1955.

"It started because of (Word War II), the immediate post-war period, the sudden growth of the middle class, the collapse of the church and the rise of government in everyone's lives.

"You can say the riot was a side of Quebec separatism if you want. Certainly it didn't help that Rocket was French and Clarence Campbell was English. But Richard was far from being the leader of the movement. In fact he was a Canadian nationalist, who volunteered for the army in the war and had been refused. He was actually a humble man, a devout Catholic, who never considered himself more important than anyone else."

Decarie is old enough to have seen Richard play in the late 1950s.

"Watching Richard made your blood pressure rise. (Former Prime Minister) John Diefenbaker had the same effect when he walked into a room and started talking."


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