Quebec 2018 Year in Review: Wave of change sweeps the province

François Legault's Coalition Avenir Québec won the provincial election on Oct. 1, 2018. Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

The year 2018 marked a wave of change across Quebec.

It was a series of firsts, including a historic provincial election with the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) forming the next majority government.

The debates have heated up since the party’s victory.

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Coalition Avenir Quebec sweeps to power

WATCH: François Legault addresses Quebec’s English-speakers

Click to play video: 'Quebec Election: Legault tells Anglophones ‘my government will be your government’'
Quebec Election: Legault tells Anglophones ‘my government will be your government’

After a 39-day campaign, the province’s election came to a groundbreaking end.

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François Legault’s CAQ surged to power for the first time and ousted the ruling Quebec Liberals in a stunning defeat.

The CAQ, which has positioned itself as centre-right of the spectrum, is also the first new party to take power in the province since 1976.

READ MORE: François Legault leads Coalition Avenir Québec to majority

Secularism debate heats up

WATCH: François Legault stands firm on proposed religious symbol ban

Click to play video: 'François Legault stands firm on proposed religious symbol ban'
François Legault stands firm on proposed religious symbol ban

The new Quebec government’s proposal to ban certain civil servants from wearing religious symbols in the workplace has made headlines ever since it was first proposed during the election.

The contentious plan has drawn both support and criticism from across the province.

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Legault, for his part, has not backed down on his plan for secularism.

READ MORE: François Legault stands firm on religious symbol ban, eliminating school boards in inaugural address

Recreational cannabis hits Quebec

WATCH: Line grows outside pot shop on first day of legalization

Click to play video: 'Huge lineup at Montreal store as pot makes legal debut'
Huge lineup at Montreal store as pot makes legal debut

Quebecers lined up around the block for the first day of legal marijuana sales in the country.

Within two weeks, the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) announced it was slashing operating hours by nearly half due to supply shortages.

The new CAQ government also tabled legislation that would impose the strictest cannabis controls in Canada.

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The province plans to raise the legal minimum age to 21 from 18.

READ MORE: Long lineup at Montreal pot shop as legalization begins

Battle over English school boards

WATCH: Quebec MNAs debate over plan to abolish school boards

Click to play video: 'Quebec MNAs debate over plan to abolish school boards'
Quebec MNAs debate over plan to abolish school boards

A fight is underway over the CAQ government’s plan to abolish school boards.

The province says it won’t compromise its position, but groups representing the English-speaking community argue cutting school boards would inhibit the needs of the community.

Quebec Education Minister Jean-François Roberge counters that anglophones have nothing to worry about — and their rights will be protected.

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READ MORE: Quebec education minister stands firm on abolishing school boards, open to meeting with Anglo groups

Robert Lepage plays prompt concerns

WATCH: Montreal singer Hanorah reflects on cancellation of SLAV

Click to play video: 'What is cultural appropriation'
What is cultural appropriation

Quebec playwright Robert Lepage’s creations have come under fire this year for what critics have labelled as cultural appropriation.

Both SLAV and Kanata sparked a mix of opposition and support from across the province.

The former was also pulled from the Montreal Jazz Festival.

READ MORE: Protesters denounce predominantly white show of songs by black slaves at Montreal Jazz Festival

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