Quebec is a province within Canada, the only one which is officially french speaking and which has and overall majority of residents of french descent (roughly 80%).
What is now Quebec has undergone many name and boundary changes over the years but its most populous area, the Saint Lawrence valley, can be considered to be its core when one talks about the history of the province.
Before European colonization, what is now southern Quebec was inhabited by various ethnic groups which were the Abenakis, Atikamekw, Malecites, Mi'kmaqs, Mohawks, Naskapis & Wendats. Although not part of Quebec until much later, the north of the modern day province (also known as Nunavik) was and still is inhabited by the Crees & the Innus.
The first Europeans to explore the Saint Lawrence valley were the french who established their first permanent settlement in what is now Quebec City in 1608. More were established in the following years along the Saint Lawrence river between the capital and Montreal (first known as Ville-Marie). The whole of french posessions in North were called New France although the area around the Saint Lawrence valley was more properly refered to as Canada. This is why in later year the term "Canadien" or "canadien-francais" came to be used in various context to refer specifically to people or organisation related to the french colony of Canada and not necessarily as a synonym for "in relation to canadians in general who speaks french".
The French colony of Canada, including parts in was is now Ontario and the United States, was conquered by the british during the 7 years war with France officially renouncing its claim to the area in 1763. The whole was renamed Province of Quebec after its capital until after the US revolution when the western part was separated and given to defeated British Loyalists from the southern colonies as many of them did not wish to live under a french catholic majority in the east.
The eastern part was then renamed Lower Canada which gained an elected but almost purely consultative assembly. Troubled grew in regard to this lack of power which eventually erupted into 3 years of sporadic uprisings known collectively as the Patriotes Revolt after the name of the political party (Parti Patriote) that gave it its leaders.
Lower Canada was then merged by the british authorities with Upper Canada with the intent of eventual assimilation. Though legaly a single entity, often refered to by historians as "United Canada" or "The 2 Canadas", it continued to function as a dual entity with the role of Chief of Government being held jointly by the prime minister of Canada West (former upper canada) and Canada East (former lower canada)
The Province of Canada was split off once more in 1867 during Confederation to become the province of Ontario (west) and Quebec (east) within the Dominion of Canada.
French professional troops (as opposed to militia) sent to the colony were usually generally dressed in the same fashion as the rest of their regiment in europe. After spending any number of time in the colony however, soldiers had a tendency to adapt their clothing to the weather and the environment. Swords were replaced with hatchets, cloth legging with mitasse (native style leather leg covers), the justeaucorps was discarded in favour of a woolen capot in winter and so on.
The militia wore no uniform and while often in modern publication, the assertion that militiamen's districts in colonial time could be told by the colour of their tuque (a type of woolen knitted cap) doesn't appear to be based on any official contemporary sources. Rather, it appears to be based on anecdotes which might simply be due to the over-representation of the colour blue or red in the area around Montreal and Quebec respectively. Although interpreted by some as a concerted attempt at uniformization, it might simply be due to the prevalence of particular dye or even the natural colour of the local lamb's wool when unbleached with some wool being easier to dye one colour or another. The fact that only 2 of the 3 districts at the time (the third being trois-rivieres) were ever assigned colours makes the idea even more suspicious
As the french colony was conquered 3 decades before the french revolution, all uniforms, insignias and accessories that are now considered "french" were never worn in canada and so tend to be perceived as foreign by the locals which expains why, with few exceptions, organisations in the province tend not to borrow from french traditions but rather are more likely to draw from british or modern canadian sources. Until the second half of the 20th century, few uniformed services with Quebec even wore any other type of insignias then british based ones.
While all uniformed services which depend on the provincial or municipal governments within Quebec currently use a stripes-based progression system, these are unrelated to the french system (the number and size having no corrolations). Rather, it was adopted by some police services based on the post-unification system of the canadian armed forces. Originally 2 variants existed:
- one which followed exactly the canadian forces system only replacing the top ranks maple leaves with fleur-de-lys and having the sergeant and corporal wearing thin stripes instead of chevrons. This was first used by the montreal police service and is now used, with minor variations, by practically all municipal police forces in Quebec except for a few which operate on native reservations.
- one similar to the previous but which used clusters of thin stripes instead of wide ones, had no equivalent rank to major (called commandant in montreal) and had only 2 top ranks represented respectively by 2 clusters of 6 thin stripes and one large cluster of thin stripes covering the entire shoulder strap. This system was first used by the Sûreté du Québec and later by other organisations under the control of the provincial government as well as by some native police forces.
Fire departments currently allso use a stripe based rank system albeit a different one then the police.It is composed of thin stripes for lower ranks and thin stripes over a wide stripe for upper ranks, the top one having a star above the stripes. This system was later adopted by some paramedical and rescue services.
Non-government-sanctioned uniformed personnel in the province, for example security guards, are discouraged from wearing rank insignias that might in any way give the false impression that they exercise an authority granted to them by the province or municipalities. As such rank insignias, if any, are often very basic, often simply having the rank name itself embroidered on a patch.
Something noteworthy regarding works of fiction made in quebec is that unless it is part of a short comment made in passing, fictional stand-in names and symbols are always used for real world organisation, regardless of their nature and portrayal. This is such a standard practice that even if a real world organisation has given tacit approval to a work of fiction by way of technical advisors or access to equipment and locations, the name of that organisation will nonetheless always be changed.
It should be noted that in most cases, the change is not even meant to hide the identity of its real world counterpart and if anything, uniforms will be designed to look identical when given a cursory look with only patches and logos being changed ever so slightly and names often being simply synonyms. For example, the real world Surete du Quebec was replaced with the Surete National in the Omerta franchise and by the Securite du Quebec in Bon Cop Bad Cop with both having characters wearing uniforms that could easily be mistaken for their non-fictional ones.
The exact reason for this state of affair is unclear but clearly has legal implications.