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|Part of the Canada-Quebec conflict (Independant QC)|
Canadian CF-18 fighter jet flying over Quebec
|Alliance for Canada
|Commanders and leaders|
|Daniel Johnson||Jacques Parizeau|
|15,000 - 20,000 insurgents||40,000 - 60,000 ground forces and militia members|
|Casualties and losses|
|3,472 insurgents killed||5,000 - 7,000 combatants killed|
|12,000 - 14,000 civilians killed|
In October 1995, a referendum was held in what was at the time the Canadian province of Quebec. The referendum asked voters whether they wanted Quebec to declare sovereignty and become an independant state. The "yes" vote won slightly, however there were allegations of small scale vote rigging, particularly by the Canadian government, who did not recognize the referendum results. The Republic of Quebec officially declared independance on 3 November and forcefully evacuated all Canadian military bases in its territories, taking Canadian equipment and angering the Canadian government. 13 UN members, including Russia, Cuba and Iran recognized Quebec's independance by the end of November, however Canada and most of its allies called the new state "illegitimate". In December, Canada began funding a pro-Canadian group in Quebec called "La garde québecois canadien" (GQC), or the "Quebec Canadian Guard".
On 16 December, upon finding out about the increasingly influential GQC, the newly formed Quebec Army launched a raid against the group's headquarters, arresting 20 members. This marked Quebec's first military engagement. After this, GQC leaders began smuggling weapons from into Quebec from Canada and the United States in preparation for an armed rebellion against the new government. On 29 December, a GQC team of over 100 forces raided a Quebec military installation, stealing weaponry and other equipment. As a result of this, Quebec president Jacques Parizeau ordered a military crackdown in Montreal and Quebec in attempt to capture all suspected members of the GQC. In January 1996, the New Canadian Front, another pro-Canadian group was formed in Montreal. Unlike the GQC however, it comprised of mostly english speaking Quebeckers. As violence intensified in January and February, the two rebel groups merged their forces, creating an alliance known as "l'Alliance pour Canada", or the "Alliance for Canada". Rebel forces soon took control of several Montreal suburbs.
Course of the War
On 27 January 1996, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien announced that Canada would be sending around $18 million worth of ammunition and non-lethal military aid to pro-Canadian "freedom fighters" in Quebec. Airdrops of these supplies over rebel-controlled areas, along with deliveries of humanitarian aid began in February. The Battle of Montreal quickly intensified into a conventional war, with the Alliance for Canada recruiting over 10,000 soldiers by April. In May, the newly formed Quebec Republican Air Force purchased twelve Russian Su-25 aircraft for close air support against rebel forces, with deliveries being expected by early 1997. For the time being, the QRAF had been dropping unguided bombs from transport aircraft acquired from former Canadian Air Force bases in Quebec. Few legitimate targets were destroyed, however many civilians were killed in these strikes due to lack of accuracy. The Canadian government claimed that these actions qualified as a war crime and later became an argument for intervention.
Although Canadian opposition leader Preston Manning had made calls for Canadian military intervention in Quebec since the beginning of the conflict, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien was reluctant at first to take action of this sort. Chrétien stated that he would do whatever he could to prevent further escalation of the conflict. However, around July 1996, he said that Canadian airstrikes against Quebec were under consideration. After weeks of debate, Chrétien addressed the nation on 14 August, announcing that he had approved Canadian airstrikes in Quebec. The first sorties by Canadian CF-18s began on 16 August and by the end of the month, over 200 bombs had been dropped in Quebec, killing approximately 150 civilians. In response to this, the Quebec Republican Army began firing numerous rockets over the Quebec-Canada border, however most failed to hit any significant targets. Most targets of Canadian airstrikes were based in the Montreal area, where most of the violence ensued, however Quebec military bases further inland saw some airstrikes. In response to a growing emergence of New Canadian Front insurgents in Sherbrooke, 4,000 Quebec military personnel were deployed to the city. Heavy artillery shelling, along with Canadian and later American airstrikes, made the battle there the second deadliest in the war. In December 1996, the first two Su-25 aircraft were delivered to the QRAF. After familiarizing its pilots with the aircraft, the QRAF began its first airstrikes on rebel targets on 27 December. One of these aircraft was shot down by Canadian CF-18s in January.
On 1 February 1997, US president Bill Clinton announced that the US Air Force would launch airstrikes of its own against Quebec military targets. Strikes by American F-16s began the following day. American airstrikes persisted until mid-1998, with around 18 American sorties taking place per week. Most American airstrikes targeted Quebec military equipment, particularly near Montreal and Sherbrooke.
Canadian Invasion of Western Quebec
See the 1997 invasion of Quebec
On 16 May 1997, it was reported that Canadian ground forces had entered Western Quebec. The deployment of up to 8,000 Canadian Army personnel was confirmed by the Canadian Ministry of National Defence on 19 May. Canadian forces began taking control of much of Western Quebec, conquering Gatineau on 28 May and all of Montreal on 10 June. On 13 June, the Canadian government announced that it had ended its ground offensive, however would continue occupying its conquered territories and would resume combat operations, including artillery strikes on Quebec personnel and equipment.
Quebec Invasion of New Brunswick
On 4 October 1997, Quebec Army personnel began invading Northern New Brunswick. Quebec president Jacques Parizeau said that the invasion was part of "Operation Reunited", an attempt to unite the predominantly French speaking population of Northern New Brunswick to an independent, sovereign Quebec. The Quebec Republican Army enjoyed some early victories at Edmunston and Dalhousie due to lack of preparation by the Canadian Armed Forces and heavy air support by Quebec's newly acquired Su-25s. By 15 October, Quebec ground forces had reached the city of Bathurst. However, as Canadian reinforcements were deployed to New Brunswick, a Canadian counter-offensive was launched in November. By January 1998, Canadian forces in the East had advanced back to Dalhousie.
De-escalation and Ceasefire
On 18 February 1998, Canada signed an agreement with Quebec, stating that Canadian forces would withdraw from Montreal, however would continue occupying Gatineau and other cities and towns near the Quebec-Canada border. As part of the agreement, Quebec would withdraw from most of New Brunswick, with the only exception being the predominantly French town of Edmunston. Quebec also agreed that it would no longer attack any Canadian ground forces in occupied areas and would cease air attacks against rebel forces. Despite the agreement, Canadian and American airstrikes against Quebec continued for a few months.
Reduced rebel presence
With many of its soldiers killed, wounded or captured, much of its equipment damaged, an end to direct Canadian combat support and little to show for its losses, the Alliance for Canada began reducing its attacks on government forces beginning in the Fall of 1998. Throughout early 1999, the number of casualties on both sides decreased dramatically and much of Quebec's infrastructure damaged by previous engagement began being repaired.
On 24 August 1999, an unconditional permanent ceasefire was signed between the Quebec government and rebel leaders. With the exception of the territory occupied be Canada and a few rebel-held Montreal suburbs, the Quebec government had control of most of Quebec. Despite numerous ceasefire violations by government forces, rebel forces, and the Canadian Armed Forces, no significant fighting in the region has occured since the 1999 ceasefire.