The conference website says:
Widely remembered in the United States as one of the “Intolerable Acts” that led to the American Revolution [but see here about that term], the Quebec Act riled British mainland colonists and gave dissenters from the Empire another potent rationale for their agendas. Among colonial governing authorities in Canada, by contrast, the Quebec Act offered a pragmatic solution to inherently difficult problems of governance by attracting the support of Francophone residents.The Declaration of 1763, forbidding British settlers from moving west into areas reserved for the Empire’s Native American allies, is often cited as one of colonial Americans’ reasons for resenting rule from London. (Some authors disagree, noting subsequent treaties that opened land west of Virginia.) But that wasn’t a big deal in Massachusetts. The province was already blocked on the west by New York; for farmers from Massachusetts, the frontier land was up in Maine.
From Great Britain’s vantage point, the Quebec Act’s granting of civil privileges to Canada’s French Catholics—the first time a Protestant empire had ever taken such action—may have been an initial step toward the formulation of a multi-ethnic, universal imperial ideology. Finally, for North America’s indigenous population, the Quebec Act appeared to suggest a potentially hopeful future—British-Native cooperation in the Ohio Valley to bar further European expansion into the interior and strengthened ties of commerce and culture between the peoples of the Ohio and the St. Lawrence.
By examining the Quebec Act of 1774 from the multiple perspectives of the peoples and nations within its ambit, the conference aims to clarify the Act’s context, elucidate its meanings, and interrogate its legacies.
The Quebec Act of 1774, on the other hand, was a big deal. One problem was the law’s tolerance for Roman Catholics; the descendants of Puritans saw that as a threat and betrayal. Another was how the law laid out a colonial government for Quebec with an appointed governor and council but no elected legislature. That reflected the Massachusetts Whigs’ fear that the Crown wanted to rewrite their province’s charter the same way. Both those complaints were a bit paranoid, but that was the local mood in 1774.