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Discover the political marketing of the Union nationale at the Canadian Museum of History
Affiche Duplessis 1956. ©Musée québécois de culture populaire.

GATINEAU.- The Canadian Museum of History invites visitors to discover the fascinating history of the political marketing of the Union nationale in the exhibition “Duplessis Gives to His Province” – The Political Marketing of the Union nationale, presented until December 7, 2014.

The Union nationale was a Quebec political party with a right-wing ideology that history associates with a period called the “Great Darkness.” However, this backward-looking label cannot be applied to the party’s communication strategies — radio, film, slogans, specialty advertising — which were definitely ahead of their time. Most of the objects are from the collection of Alain Lavigne, a professor at l’Université Laval and the author of Duplessis, pièce manquante d’une légende. L’invention du marketing politique, the starting point and inspiration for this exhibition.

In this exhibition, you will learn more about the first manifestations of political marketing, which were just as effective as the marketing of today’s major political parties. You will also see how Maurice Duplessis himself was the object of a careful marketing campaign.

Divided into three zones, “Duplessis Gives to His Province” – The Political Marketing of the Union nationale first highlights the promotional methods used before the advent of television. Maurice Duplessis’ party and the governments he formed were quick to realize the importance of propaganda through photography, written documentation and audio, as well as through objects.

The second zone reveals the techniques used in marketing “the Chief” of the Union nationale. Visitors will be able to appreciate how the image of Maurice Duplessis was carefully crafted by his strategists. From the image of the charismatic party leader to that of the head of state, these images were scrupulously maintained during his life as well as after his death in office, on September 7, 1959.

In the final zone, visitors will learn more about election marketing and discover the variety and originality of the communications methods employed by the Union nationale during electoral campaigns.

“The Museum is proud to give visitors a chance to see exhibitions mounted by other Canadian museums — exhibitions on the events, individuals and places that have shaped our common identity,” said Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of History. “The presentation of Duplessis Gives to His Province” – The Political Marketing of the Union nationale provides us with another excellent opportunity for achieving this objective, and allows us to share this important part of our history with our visitors”.

“Duplessis Gives to His Province” – The Political Marketing of the Union nationale is a travelling exhibition produced by the Musée québécois de culture populaire and presented at the Canadian Museum of History from June 12 to December 7, 2014.

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