Chronicling Covid-19 (7): The Plan



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I would invite you to reread the article I posted yesterday.

I have not changed my mind. I believe that we have to test people and let the healthy return to the workplace. Self-isolation alone will not keep us safe. Not if we can no longer work and earn a living. There is no overnight miracle, but testing may allow the economy to recover more quickly.

Testing is much easier than discovering a vaccine. As I mentioned yesterday, there is an American group who is working with doctors and scientists and would send the healthy back to a safe workplace. Testing would be needed.

A vaccine will be produced, but it may not be produced in the foreseeable future, luck being a factor. Who will come up with the brilliant idea that will allow a cure and also allow the world to be as it should be. We can now see the magnificent Himalayan range of mountains.

Leaders, doctors and scientists must work together, but expertise must inform decisions made by elected officials. Mr Trump is ready to send people back to work to save the economy. But we cannot allow people who test positive to return to work. They must still self-isolate, or the pandemic will continue.

A Triage: Testing

What I am suggesting is a triage that would separate the healthy from the sick and allow those who test negative to return to work. The sick would be treated, but the healthy would keep the economy alive. We have new tools: Skype, etc. Although humanity has been scourged for millennia, it has survived.

I have a healthy nephew whose employees are healthy, but they are not allowed to work. So why do we not test them? Testing was carried out in Germany quite successfully.

We cannot close the future down. We cannot let massive unemployment follow the pandemic. That is a grim scenario. Scientists would continue to search for a vaccine, but the economy would not crumble. Testing may be difficult to organize, but it has to be organized. There is no other way.

Expertise is what world leaders need. I do not wish to trivialize world leaders, but they need guidance from doctors, scientists and economists, which is leadership in the days of the novel coronavirus.

Streets would still be disinfected as well as the workplace, but we would ensure economic stability and lift the world’s morale. Can we truly justify the self-isolation of my nephew and his healthy employees?

I am not a medical doctor, a scientist, or an economist. I am quite simply civic-minded. If we test and test, we will find those who test negative. I’m scared, because this virus may be airborne. Hence cleaning the workplace. But why isolate people who would test negative and create a new nightmare.


The Creation
, Die Schöpfung, by Joseph Haydn


Jerome Adams, Surgeon General of the United States.

© Micheline Walker
12 April 2020








Molière’s “L’Avare:” Doublings



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L’Avare by François Boucher (drawing) and Laurent Cars (engraving) (Photo credit: Pinterest)


  • Plautus (c. 254 – 184 BCE)
  • commedia dell’arte
  • French 17th-century misers: sources
  • Hellenic (ancient Greek) sources
  • French medieval farces and fabliaux
  • translations into English

As indicated in a previous post, Molière‘s L’Avare, The Miser, was first performed on 9 September 1668 at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal. It is a five-act play, in prose, inspired by Roman dramatist Plautus‘ (254 – 148 BCE) Aulularia, the Pot of Gold. As we have seen, it is also rooted in the commedia dell’arte as well as Italian comedies and tales, and in France’s own medieval farces and the largely scatological fabliaux.

However, Molière also drew his material from La Belle Plaideuse (1655), by François le Métel de Boisrobert, which features a father-as-usurer, and Jean Donneau de Visé‘s La Mère coquette (1665), where a father and son are in love with the same woman.[1]

L’Avare is one of Molière’s better-known comedies and it was translated into English by Thomas Shadwell (1772) and Henry Fielding, the author of Tom Jones. However, it was not a huge success in Molière’s own days. It has been speculated that Molière’s audience expected a play written in verse, the nobler alexandrine verse (12 feet or syllables), first used in the twelfth-century Roman d’Alexandre.


L’Avare (

The dramatis personæ is:

Harpagon, father to Cléante, in love with Mariane.
Cléante, Harpagon’s son, lover to Marianne.
Valère, son to Anselme, lover to Élise, and “intendant” to Harpagon
Anselme / Dom Thomas d’Alburcy, father to Valère and Mariane, and 
Master Simon, broker.
Master Jacques, cook and coachman to Harpagon.
La Flèche, valet to Cléante.
Brindavoine, and La Merluche, lackeys to Harpagon.
A Magistrate and his Clerk.
Élise, daughter to Harpagon.
Mariane, daughter to Anselme.
Frosine, an intriguing woman.
Mistress Claude, servant to Harpagon.

The scene is at Paris, in Harpagon’s house.

Act One

We will be focusing on the manner in which the young couples featured in the Miser, L’Avare, manage to overcome the obstacle to their marriage. Short of a miracle, they are condemned to do as their father’s greed dictates. All the elements of L’Avare’s plot are introduced in the first act of the play, which reflects the Græco-Roman origins of comedy and tragedy. As a five-act play, Molière’s L’Avare is a ‘grande comédie,’ not a farce (Molière wrote both), and its plot is the archetypal struggle, also called the agôn, between, on the one hand, the alazṓn of Greek comedy, or the blocking character, and, on the other hand, the eirôn, the young couple and their supporters: valets, maids, zanni. In other words, it is a traditional blondin-berne-barbon plot. The young couples will succeed in marrying.

A Comedy of Manners and A Comedy of Intrigue

  • doublings: two young couples and two fathers
  • Harpagon is the father of Élise and Cléante
  • Anselme is Valère and Mariane’s father, which we do not know until the fifth act (V. v) of the comedy

L’Avare is both a comedy of manners, a form we inherited mostly from Greek dramatist Menander, and a comédie d’intrigue, a comedy where the plot prevails. As the portrayal of a miser, L’Avare is a comedy of manners (see the full text in Wikisource and eBook #6923). Harpagon’s greed constitutes the obstacle to the marriage of Cléante (Harpagon) and Mariane as well as the marriage of Valère and Élise (Harpagon).

Cléante gambles and wins, which allows him to buy elegant clothes and court Mariane, but he does not have sufficient money to marry and must therefore go to a moneylender. Ironically, the moneylender happens to be Harpagon himself who demands no less than the now metaphorical “pound of flesh” (Shylock) as repayment. The moneylender episode—act two, scene two (II. i) [II. 2]—shows to what extent Harpagon’s greed is an obstacle to the marriage of our young couples. The plot advances in that Cléante cannot obtain a loan that might enable his marriage. Another “trick” must be devised. However, plot and manners (greed) are inextricably woven.

Obstacles to Two Marriages

  • “genre” art
  • a family tyrant

The action takes place in Harpagon’s house in Paris and can be described as genre arta depiction of ordinary people engaged in ordinary activities. Will G Moore has remarked that Molière’s characters

“[a]re concerned with everyday life; the stuff of which it was made was by tradition the doings of ordinary people in ordinary surroundings.”[2]

L’Avare is a five-act comedy, but it is written in prose, not verse, and Harpagon, our blocking character, is an enriched bourgeois. Although he does not feed his horse properly, he owns a carriage and he has servants. As depicted by François Boucher, the interior of his house is rather elegant. However, he is extremely greedy and he behaves as though he owned his children. He is a domestic tyrant. In act one, Harpagon states that he has arranged for his children to marry, but has not consulted them. Cléante will marry a “certain widow,” our tyrant has just heard of, and Élise will be “given” to Mr. Anselme, a gentleman who will not request the customary dowry, or “sans dot

Quant à ton frère, je lui destine une certaine veuve dont ce matin on m’est venu parler; et, pour toi, je te donne au seigneur Anselme. (Harpagon to Élise, [I. iv])
[As to your brother, I have thought for him of a certain widow, of whom I heard this morning; and you I shall give to Mr. Anselme. [1. 6] [eBook #6923]

Élise does not know Mr Anselme and refuses to marry him, threatening to commit suicide. As for Harpagon, he plans to marry Mariane, who loves his son (Cléante). For Harpagon, Mr Anselme is a perfect choice because Élise will marry at no cost to the miser: “sans dot.” (I. iv FR) (I. 6 EN) 

Harpagon’s Rigidity

Valère will attempt to save Élise from a marriage to a person other than himself. Valère, Harpagon’s “intendant,” begs Harpagon to free Élise. However, the objections he presents are followed by Harpagon’s “sans dot” (without a dowry). Molière’s blocking characters are inflexible or rigid. This rigidity is the feature Henri Bergson (18 October 1859 – 4 January 1941) attached to the comical or comedic in his Laughter. Valère’s objections having been rebuked by a litany of “sans dot,” he is literally speechless. He simply repeats what the Harpagon, the miser, has told him:

Lorsqu’on s’offre de prendre une fille sans dot, on ne doit point regarder plus avant. Tout est renfermé là-dedans, et sans dot tient lieu de beauté, de jeunesse, de naissance, d’honneur, de sagesse, et de probité. (Valère à Harpagon, I. v)
[When a man offers to marry a girl without a dowry, we ought to look no farther. Everything is comprised in that, and “without dowry” compensates for want of beauty, youth, birth, honour, wisdom, and probity.] (I. 10[eBook #6923]

But there is some hope. As the story goes, Valère’s father, Dom Thomas d’Alburcy, is believed to have drowned when he and his family (his wife, Valère and Mariane) were fleeing Naples. It appears, however, that Dom Thomas has survived and that he is a man of means. Valère was looking for him when he met Élise. At her request, he decided to stay near her and made himself Harpagon’s “intendant,” but someone else is looking for Valère’s father.

Mais enfin, si je puis, comme je l’espère, retrouver mes parents, nous n’aurons pas beaucoup de peine à nous le rendre favorable. J’en attends des nouvelles avec impatience, et j’en irai chercher moi-même, si elles tardent à venir. (I. i)
[However, if I can find my parents, as I fully hope I shall, they will soon be favourable to us. I am expecting news of them with great impatience; but if none comes I will go in search of them myself.] [I.1]

The curtain will then fall on an anagnorisis  (V. v) [V. 5], a recognition scene. However, when Anselme enters Harpagon’s house and hears that there is opposition to the contract he has come to sign, he tells Harpagon that he will not coerce a woman into a mariage, which frees Élise. He also remarks that he will not “lay claim to a heart which has already bestowed itself,” thereby allowing Mariane, his daughter, to marry Cléante, Harpagon’s son, rather than Harpagon.

Ce n’est pas mon dessein de me faire épouser par force, et de rien prétendre à un cœur qui se serait donné ; mais pour vos intérêts, je suis prêt à les embrasser ainsi que les miens propres. (Anselme to Harpagon [V. v])
[It is not my intention to force anybody to marry me, and to lay claim to a heart which has already bestowed itself; but as far as your interests are concerned, I am ready to espouse them as if they were my own.] (V. 5) [eBook #6923]

Anselme seems a fine gentleman whom the anagnorisis (V. v) [V. 5], the dénouement (see Dramatic Structure, Wikipedia), will identify as Valère and Mariane’s father. A greedy Harpagon has chosen Anselme as the perfect groom because Anselme would marry Élise without requesting the customary dowry, or at no cost to the miser: “sans dot.” (I. v) [I. 5]


Qu’il faut manger pour vivre, et non pas vivre pour manger. (III. i)

A Comedy of Intrigue

  • a plot or intrigue
  • a chiasmus (a mirror image in a sentence)
  • a quiproquo (a misunderstanding)
  • the doubling of the father figure (mirror image)

Harpagon’s greed is enormous, so students are taught that Molière concentrates on manners rather than the plot. He does, but in L’Avare, although the plot is mainly episodic, manners and plot (intrigue) are inextricably linked. For instance, when Harpagon is having a meal prepared to celebrate the marriage(s) that are to take place that very day, Harpagon hears Valère say that il faut manger pour vivre and not vivre pour manger, that one should eat to live and not live to eat, Harpagon so loves Valère’s witty chiasmus, that he wants these words engraved in gold and placed above his fireplace. (III. i) [III. 1] It is unlikely that Harpagon would use gold to celebrate greed, but it is true to character and comical. A meal often ends comedies and may solemnize a wedding.

Moreover, it is a quiproquo, a comical misunderstanding which, in L’Avare, leads to the anagnorisis. When Harpagon realizes his cassette has disappeared and may have been stolen, he loses his composure and accuses Valère, at the instigation of Maître Jacques. Maître Jacques resents the trust Harpagon has placed in Valère. If he could, Harpagon would have Valère drawn and quartered. Valère has not stolen Harpagon’s cassette, but he and Élise have signed a promise to marry another. Valère has ‘robbed’ Harpagon, but it is Élise he has taken, not a cassette. (V. iii & iv) [V. 3 & 4] [eBook #6923]

Anselme first steps foot on the stage as the battle rages. Given Élise’s promise, he cannot and would not marry her. However, Valère stands accused of a theft and wants to tell his story. The anagnorisis has now begun. To give himself credibility, Valère says that he is the son of Dom Thomas d’Alburcy, which Anselme hesitates to believe because he is a friend of Dom Those and, to his knowledge, all members of Dom Thomas’ family drowned as they were trying to flee Naples, which is not the case.Valère says that he was rescued by Pedro, a servant, and later adopted by the captain of the ship he and Pedro were allowed to board. He can prove his identity. As he speaks, Mariane realizes that Valère is her brother.

For their part, Mariane and her mother were also saved, but their helpers were corsaires, pirates, who enslaved them. Following ten years of enslavement, they were released and they returned to Naples where they could not find Dom Thomas d’Alburcy. They therefore picked up a small inheritance in Genoa and moved to Paris. Mariane’s mother is Valère’s  mother and Dom Thomas d’Alburcy’s wife. As he watches this scene, Dom Thomas learns that no member of his family died leaving Naples. He has just found his children and his wife. He would not stand in the way of Valère and Mariane’s marriage who wish to marry Harpagon’s children. Le sieur Anselme knows le sieur Harpagon.

Le Ciel, mes enfants, ne me redonne point à vous, pour être contraire à vos vœux. Seigneur Harpagon, vous jugez bien que le choix d’une jeune personne tombera sur le fils plutôt que sur le père. Allons, ne vous faites point dire ce qu’il n’est point nécessaire d’entendre, et consentez ainsi que moi à ce double hyménée. (V. v)

[Heaven, my dear children, has not restored you to me that I might oppose your wishes. Mr. Harpagon, you must be aware that the choice of a young girl is more likely to fall upon the son than upon the father. Come, now, do not force people to say to you what is unnecessary, and consent, as I do, to this double marriage.] [V. 5] [eBook #6923]


Molière’s L’Avare has an intrigue which resembles the intrigue of most comedies. A young couple wishes to marry, but a blocking character, or alazṓnprevents their marriage. However, Molière has doubled the young couple who are a brother and sister wishing to marry a brother and a sister, so Molière has therefore doubled the father figure which happens during the anagnorisis. As Dom Thomas d’Alburcy, Anselme is the eirôn who allows the young couples to marry.

The anagnorisis, the recognition scene, does not take place unannounced. As mentioned earlier, as he despairs,Valère tells Élise that he hopes to find his father who may still be alive. Act one (I. i) [I. 1] has prepared the reader or spectator:

Mais enfin, si je puis comme je l’espère, retrouver mes parents, nous n’aurons pas beaucoup de peine à nous le rendre favorable. (Valère à Élise, I. i)
[However, if I can find my parents, as I fully hope I shall, they will soon be favourable to us.] [I. 1] [eBook #6923]


Der Geizigue, Harpagon & La Flèche by August Wilhelm Iffland, 1810 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


In L’Avare, Molière does not use a deus ex machina. He simply introduces a second father figure who will allow the young couples to marry and will pay all costs. L’Avare‘s young couple are in fact very resourceful, but one cannot marry without money. Mariane (Dom Thomas) recoils at wishing Harpagon’s death, feelings that are reciprocated by Cléante (Harpagon).

Mon Dieu, Frosine, c’est une étrange affaire, lorsque pour être heureuse, il faut souhaiter ou attendre le trépas de quelqu’un, et la mort ne suit pas tous les projets que nous faisons. (Mariane à Frosine, III. iv)
[Oh, Frosine! What a strange state of things that, in order to be happy, we must look forward to the death of another. Yet death will not fall in with all the projects we make.] [III. 8] [eBook #6923]

Que veux-tu que j’y fasse ? Voilà où les jeunes gens sont réduits par la maudite avarice des pères ; et on s’étonne après cela que les fils souhaitent qu’ils meurent. (II. i)
[What would you have me do? It is to this that young men are reduced by the accursed avarice of their fathers; and people are astonished after that, that sons long for their death.] [II. 1] [eBook #6923]

When his father falls, accidentally, Cléante is worried:

Qu’est-ce, mon père, vous êtes-vous fait mal ? (III. ix)
[What’s the matter, father? Have you hurt yourself?] [III. 14] [eBook #6923]

Critic Northrop Frye states that “[t]he tendency of comedy is to include as many people as possible in its final society: the blocking characters are more often reconciled or converted than simply repudiated.”[3]

As for Harpagon, although he may he has been tyrannical, when Dom Thomas and the young couples leave to bring good news to Dom Thomas’ wife, Harpagon is off to see his dear cassette. His cassette, a casket, his vital to Harpagon.

Et moi, voir ma chère cassette. (I. vi)
[And I to see my dear casket.][1. 6] [eBook #6923]


I have already suggested that Molière uses doubling and fusion of functions.[4] Harpagon is a miser and will remain a miser ready to sacrifice his children. It is a sad reflection on humanity but perhaps less sad than the intervention of a deus ex machina. Dom Thomas d’Alburcy is a  major member of the play’s society, the intervention of a second father figure allows the happy ending the play demands. An anagnorisis may not be as dazzling a dénouement as the intervention of a deus ex machina, the prince in Tartuffe and a godlike figure in Dom Juan, but all’s well that ends well. 

Love to everyone



Commedia dell’arte


Sources and Resources

The Miser is a Wikisource eBook (Charles Heron Wall, translator)
The Miser is an Internet Archive publication EN
The Miser is a Project Gutenberg publication [eBook #6923] EN
The Miser, Henri Fielding is an eText EN
L’Avare is a publication FR
Molière21 is a research group
Le Salon littéraire FR
The Miser is a LibriVox text publication (YouTube)
Laughter, Henri Bergson is an Internet Archive publication EN

[1] L’Avare in Maurice Rat, Œuvres complètes de Molière (Paris : Éditions Gallimard, coll. La Pléiade, 1956), p. 968.
[2] Will  G. Moore, Molière, a New Criticism (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1968 [1949], pp. 69-70.
[3] Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973 [1957]), p. 165.
[4] Micheline Bourbeau-Walker, « Le Misanthrope, ou la comédie éclatée, » in David Trott & Nicole Boursier, eds. L’Âge du théâtre en France (Edmonton, Alberta: Academic Printing and Publishing, 1988 ), 53 – 63. (papers from a conference held in Toronto, May 14 – 16, 1987) ISBN 0-920980-30-9 — PQ527.A33 1988

The Miser


L’Avare by Jean Degrassi, 1955 (

© Micheline Walker
1 December 2016

Confederation Reconsidered


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Sir John A. Macdonald, lawyer, businessman, and the first prime minister of Canada (photo by William James Topley, courtesy Library and Archives Canada/c-10144). (The Canadian Encyclopedia)

A week ago, Canadians celebrated their nation’s birthday: Confederation. On 1st July 1867, Confederation united four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Previously, all Canadians observed their national holiday and were proud of their first Prime Minister. That is no longer the case.

A statue of Sir John A. Macdonald was removed in Victoria, British Columbia. John A. Macdonald put Amerindians on reservations and took Amerindian children from their parents and enrolled them in Residential schools, so they would be assimilated. Many were abused. One is reminded of Tzvetan Todorov‘s La Conquête de l’Amérique. La question de l’autre.[I]

Moreover, as soon as Rupert’s Land was bought, he let a land rush happen in the Red River Colony.

In the wake of Confederation, arrangements were made to transfer the colony and the vast neighbouring territory of Rupert’s Land to Canada, yet without either consultation with the colony’s inhabitants or any guarantees of their political or property rights. That set the stage for the Red River Resistance (…)
(See Red River Settlement, The Canadian Encyclopedia.)

Later, he allowed Louis Riel to be hanged. Louis Riel had entered federal politics and was elected three times as a member of Parliament for Provencher, Manitoba. He was not permitted to enter the House of Commons. When he entered, “he was expelled from the House on a motion introduced by the Ontario Orange leader Mackenzie Bowel.” (See Louis Riel, The Canadian Encyclopedia.)  The government of the Red River Resistance had executed Orangeman, Thomas Scott. However, Jean-Louis Riel was viewed as Thomas Scott’s killer.

The Red River Colony was bought from the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), by the Earl of Selkirk. After the Earl of Selkirk’s death, the Colony was returned to the Hudson’s Bay Company, but it was settled. Settled land, such as the Red River Colony and the land the Indigenous people inhabited could not belong to the HBC/Canada, by virtue of the Royal Charter signed on 2nd May 1670.

Sir John A. MacDonald was a member of the Orange Order. The Orangemen opposed the presence of French-speaking Canadians and Catholics outside Quebec. Sir John A. MacDonald had a beautiful dream, a Canada stretching from sea to sea: A Mari usque ad Mare. That is Canada’s motto, its devise. But French-speaking Canadians would have to stay on one side of the wide country. He promised British Columbia a railroad. The railroad had to go across ranges of mountains, the Rocky Mountains. Several Chinese died building the railway whose chief supervisor was Sir Cornelius van Horne. On 4th July 1886, a passenger train arrived at Port Moody, British Columbia. British Columbia entered Confederation in 1871, believing that a railroad would be built.


Arrival of the first Canadian Pacific transcontinental passenger train at Port Moody, British Columbia, July 4, 1886. Canadian Pacific Limited Rail Corporate Archives (Photo Credit: Britannica)

Rupert of the Rhine.jpg

Prince Rupert of the Rhine (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

British Columbia had been New Caledonia. However, it was renamed on 2nd August 1858, by Queen Victoria.

New Caledonia (“New Scotland”), was a name given in 1806 to the central and highland plateau area of British Columbia by Simon Fraser, a partner, trader and explorer in the North West Co.
(See New Caledonia, The Canadian Encyclopedia.)

When Canada bought Rupert’s Land, the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company had merged. The North West Company had forts in British Columbia. But it was no longer called the North West Company. Rupert’s Land was bought from the Hudson’s Bay Company.

In 1821, a parliamentary Act granted exclusive trade to the HBC and to William and Simon McGillivray and Edward Ellice of the NWC, in an effort to placate all parties by devising coalition, not amalgamation.
(See The North West Company, The Canadian Encyclopedia.)

The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) and The North West Company (NWC) had quarreled for years but they were now the Hudson’s Bay Company. The school I attended in Victoria, British Columbia, St. Ann’s Academy, was built in 1859, before Confederation.

The French Fact

Sir John A. MacDonald put aside not only Canada’s Indigenous population, but he also ignored what I call the French Fact. Jacques Cartier discovered what would become Canada in 1534. In 1867, the year Confederation occurred, the French had been on the North American continent for 333 years and many had married Amerindians. I learned, late in life, that I am métissée, as are other Québécois.

In 1633 and 1635, the Huron-Wendat were asked by Champlain and Father Paul Le Jeune, S.J. to consider intermarriage with the French.
(See Huron-Wendat, The Canadian Encyclopedia.)

One could take the view that it was all about the weather. Winters were cold in New France. Moreover, how could the colony’s few colonists get beaver pelts without a canoe and snowshoes. The inhabitants of New France depended on Amerindian skills and equipment to survive. Champlain could not alienate Amerindians. He in fact fought the Iroquois, the Huron‘s enemies.

An account of the alliance between the Indigenous people and the French can be found in the Encyclopedia Britannica. Interestingly, The Canadian Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica have joined forces to tell the history of Canada.

“Already in 1603 Champlain had noted that the Iroquois, whom Jacques Cartier had found there, had withdrawn from the St. Lawrence under pressure from the Algonquin Indians of the north country. The French then became the allies of the Algonquin in the rivalry that began for control of the inland fur trade. In 1609, in accordance with this alliance, Champlain and three companions joined an Algonquin war party in a raid against the Mohawk, the easternmost group of the Iroquois Confederacy. The party ascended the Richelieu River toward Lake Champlain. In an encounter with a Mohawk band, Champlain and his men killed some Iroquois, and the Europeans’ firearms panicked the remainder. This skirmish signaled the initial commitment of New France to the side of the Algonquin and the Huron (the latter being Iroquoian but hostile to the confederacy) in what became a century-long struggle for control of the output of furs from as far away as the western Great Lakes.”[II]

(See Confederation, The Canadian Encyclopedia.)


Sir George-Étienne Cartier, Quebec’s Premier, found merit in the partnership Confederation proposed. He died in 1873.


We cannot change the past, but we can shape the future. The killing of George Floyd led to soul-searching everywhere.


This list is incomplete. I will complete it later.

Love to everyone 💕

I apologize for the delay.


[I] Tzvetan Todorov, La conquête de l’Amérique. La question de l’autre, Paris, Éditions du Seuil, 1982.

[II] David J. BercusonRalph R. Krueger and Others (See All Contributors), Canada, Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica Inc, June 20, 2020.

Sir George-Étienne Cartier, the prime minister of Quebec when it entered Confederation, composed this song.

Ô Canada! mon pays, mes amours (click on the title to see the lyrics)

Jacques Cartier 1851-1852.jpg

Jacques Cartier by Théophile Hamel (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
4 July 2020








The Blacks in Canada


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Depiction of Loyalist refugees on their way to the Canadas during the American Revolution,  (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

The image above belongs to:


The Royal Proclamation of 1763

  • the Capitulation of Montreal
  • from 1760 to 1763
  • the Royal Proclamation 1763

We have seen that the slaves in Nouvelle-France were mostly the Indigenous people of North America who themselves had slaves. Slavery between Amerindians is humiliating, but it is not racism. Amerindian nations fought one another and the better warrior enslaved rival and lesser warriors.  For the purpose of this post, suffice it to know that as France grew more vulnerable. France was outnumbered. After losing the battle of the Plains of Abraham, thus named because the land where the battle was fought belonged to fisherman Abraham Martin, Montreal capitulated, but its native allies were no longer protected. (See The Capitulation of Montreal, Canadian Encyclopedia.)  In fact, they were at the mercy of the inhabitants of Britain’s Thirteen Colonies. They feared a land rushes, but Chief Pontiac, an Ottawa leader, fought the Thirteen Colonies quite successfully, which he could not do indefinitely.



No authentic images of Pontiac are known to exist. This interpretation was painted by John Mix Stanley. (Photo and Caption Credit: Wikipedia)

To protect Amerindians, England issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763, providing Aboriginals with a vast reserve. The territory was large and nearly impenetrable. Later, the Act of Quebec (1774) ended attempts to assimilate the former New France. A very large province of Quebec was created, which, in the eyes of American patriots, was an Intolerable Act.

The light pink shows the land where the Indigenous population of Canada could live without fear of losing their land. In 1775, Louisiana belonged to Spain. In the second map, we see Quebec as it was in 1791, under the Constitutional Act. We also see part of Rupert’s Land.

The Revolutionary War

The future United States signed a Declaration of Independence on 4th July 1776 and it then fought its Revolutionary War, or War of Independence, from 1675 to 1783, defeating Britain. This victory was formalized by the Treaty of Paris 1783.

United Empire Loyalists: the Constitutional Act of 1791

  • shift in demographics
  • slavery
  • White loyalists and Black loyalists

However, among Americans, some families and individuals did not approve of independence. They fled to the large British province of Quebec. To help United Empire Loyalists, the large Quebec was divided into two Canadas: Upper Canada and, lower down the St Lawrence, Lower Canada. The Constitutional Act, which divided the Province of Quebec, was legislated in 1791.

The Constitutional Act did not divide the province of Quebec into an English-language Upper Canada and a French-language Lower Canada. The Eastern Townships,[1] the area of Quebec where I live, was given to the Loyalists and their slaves, whom they were allowed to bring to Canada as part of their property. The Loyalists also settled in Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

The arrival of the Loyalists was a blessing and a curse. The future Canada welcomed the Loyalists, Whites and Blacks. However, the citizens of the former New France were a minority.

White Loyalists and Black Loyalists

There were Black loyalists who had earned their freedom by fighting with Britain against the future United States had earned their freedom. They settled in Ontario and New Brunswick, but most tried to settle in Nova Scotia.



The earliest known image of a black Nova Scotian, in British Canada, in 1788. He was a wood cutter in Shelburne, Province of Nova Scotia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Blacks in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia would be Black slaves’ best destination. Although the Imperial Act of 1790 assured slave owners that they could retain Black slaves, in 1788, Nova Scotia abolitionist James Drummond MacGregor from Pictou “published the first anti-slavery literature in Canada and began purchasing slaves’ freedom” (…).  He set an example. Many Nova Scotia Loyalists freed their slaves. (See Slavery in Canada, Wikipedia.)

However, a total of 3,500 Black Loyalists left the current United States. Nova Scotia would be home to many, were it not that white Loyalists attacked Black Loyalists.  The Shelburne Riots that took place in July 1784 revealed racism. White Loyalists were given the best land, which they felt entitled to as White Loyalists. So, in 1792, 1300 Black loyalists left for Sierra Leone, where they would be free and would govern themselves.

Until recent reforms in immigration, about 37% of Canada’s Black community lived in Nova Scotia.

The Act Against Slavery, 1793 (Wikipedia)

Vrooman vs Cooley

Ontario slave owners opposed the enfranchisement of Black slaves. In Ontario the case of Chloe Cooley, is a sad example of entitlement. Chloe tried to escape an abusive owner, Sergeant Adam Vrooman. He had bound her in a boat in an attempt to take her to the State of New York, to sell her. She protested violently and the event, witnessed by William Grisley, led to the passage of the Act Against Slavery of 1793. On 14 March 1793, The event was reported to Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe. However, Vrooman had not broken the law. Loyalists could bring their slaves to British North America. He also noted that in 1760, the French inhabitants of Lower Canada had been allowed to keep their slaves. Yet, despite the reluctance of the several representatives of the government of Upper Canada, the Act Against Slavery of 1793 was legislated.

Let us read the letter Sergeant Vrooman wrote to the authorities. He used the law to perpetuate an abuse. In this respect, his letter is a classic:

[…] been informed that an information had been lodged against him to the Attorney General relative to his proceedings in his Sale of said Negroe Woman; your Petitioner had received no information concerning the freedom of Slaves in this Province, except a report which prevailed among themselves, and if he has transgressed against the Laws of his Country by disposing of Property (which from the legality of the purchase from Benjamin Hardison) he naturally supposed to be his own, it was done without knowledge of any Law being in force to the contrary.
(See Chloe Cooley and the Act to Limit Slavery in Upper Canada. The Canadian Encyclopedia.) 

Laws can be used to wrong a human being. In this respect, the fate of Chloe Clooney is a classic. In the eyes of slave-owning Loyalists, ownership had no limits. If so, what a nightmare for a woman.

The arrival of the Loyalists led to the Constitutional Act of 1791, which separated a large Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada. French-speaking Canadiens lived in Lower Canada, part of which was the Eastern Townships, given to Loyalists. I cannot make sense of the Constitutional Act of 1871. It received royal assent in June 1791 and it seems an attempt to assimilate French-speaking Canadians.

The Act to Limit Slavery in Upper Canada received royal assent on 9 July 1793, but in Upper Canada, slavery was not abolished until 1833. However, the Underground Railroad, helped slaves flee to Canada. United Empire Loyalists had taken their slaves with them, as property. But Blacks that escaped were no longer owned.


I will conclude here. We must introduce the Underground Railroad, an organization that helped Black Slaves flee to Canada. I am reading The Slave in Canada by William Renwick Riddell. It is an Internet Archive publication. I have looked for videos and saw one about the Royal Proclamation of 1763. It features a rush for land which is called freedom. It is as though the proclamation deprived the colonists of their freedom. Does freedom allow human beings to displace and destroy other human beings? An Aboriginal was not seen as a person, nor was a mortal whose colour was not white. I must close.


Sources and Resources


Love to everyone

I’ve not been well and may need to close my blog.

[1] “Under the terms of the Constitutional Act of 1791, the Eastern Townships were open to settlement and a land rush followed. Most of the 3,000 or so settlers came from the United States. A few were Loyalists, at least in spirit, but most simply wanted land and had no strong feeling about nationality. Many more immigrated from the British Isles, including Gaelic-speaking Scots.” (See Eastern Townships, Wikipedia)

Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea)

Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea)
(courtesy National Gallery of Canada/5777)
Painting of Joseph Brant by William Berczy, circa 1807, oil on canvas.

© Micheline Walker
28 June 2020










Slavery in New France


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Labouring under the eye of the overseer, end of the eighteenth century (Photo and caption credit: Virtual Museum of New France, Slavery)

The image above can be found in Arnaud Bessière’s[1] entry on Slavery, in the Virtual Museum of New France, Slavery. Bessière’s document is short and authoritative. Morever, it is bilingual. I have used it to create this post. There were slaves in New France, but most were the Indigenous people of North America who themselves owned slaves.

Slave-owning people of what became Canada were, for example, the Yurok, a fishing society, who lived along the Pacific coast from Alaska to California or the Northwest Coast.

Some of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast, the Haida and Tlingit, were traditionally known as fierce warriors and slave-traders, raiding as far as California. Slavery was hereditary, the slaves being prisoners of war and their descendants were slaves. Some nations in British Columbia continued to segregate and ostracize the descendants of slaves as late as the 1870s.
(see Slavery in Canada, Wikipedia).

Slavery among Amerindians may not have been as ingrained a cultural element in the native population of America’s Northeast coast, but Amerindians living on the shores of the St Lawrence had slaves. It was not uncommon for an Amerindian friend to give a slave to a French colonist. These Amerindians were members of the First Nations.

Let us see the numbers.

Before the Conquest of New France by the British in 1659,[2] New France had 4,000 slaves, but 1,123 were Blacks and the remainder, 2,472, Aboriginals. After the Conquest, French- speaking Canadians owned 1,509 of which 181 were English. These are Marcel Trudel’s numbers, quoted in Slavery in Canada (Wikipedia). Marcel Trudel also notes 31 marriages between French colonists and Aboriginal slaves (see Slavery in Canada, Wikipedia).

After the Conquest of Canada by Britain (1759), formalized by the Treaty of Paris (1763), French Canadians owned 181 Black slaves and 1,509 Amerindian slaves. So, as Bessière writes, no slave ship sailed down the St. Lawrence River.

Despite colonial officials’ oft-reiterated yearning to have African slaves imported to the colony, no slave ship ever reached the St. Lawrence valley.

Bessière also writes that

[t]hose black slaves who arrived in the region came from the neighbouring British colonies, from which they were smuggled or where they were taken as war captives. A number of Canadian merchants also brought black slaves back from their business trips to the south, in Louisiana or in the French Caribbean.

Lower Canada: the First Black Citizen & the First Black Slave

  • Mathieu da Costa
  • Olivier le Jeune

We know that Mathieu da Costa was the first Black to come to New France. He was not a slave, but a free man of African-Portuguese descent and Canada’s first linguist. As for the first Black slave in New France, he was a six-year old child. The young slave belonged to Sir David Kirke, one of the Brothers Kirke, who blockaded the St. Lawrence during the Anglo-French War of 1627 – 1629. Quebec fell (1628), but Samuel de Champlain argued that the English seizure of his land was unlawful, as the war had already ended when David Kirke took Québec. The territory was therefore returned to France, in 1632.

Oliver le Jeune may have had other owners, but he was last bought by Father Paul le Jeune and then given to one of Nouvelle-France first colonists, perhaps the first, Guillaume Couillard (see Bessière and Slavery in Canada, Wikipedia).

Guillaume Couillard - 03.JPG

Guillaume Couillard, figure au monument Louis-Hébert, parc Montmorency, Québec (Wikipedia)

New France did not have large plantations requiring an enormous work force. It was a semi-feudal society consisting of Seigneuries, long and narrow tracts of land located on both sides of the St Lawrence river. It was owned by the Compagnie des Cent-Associés, the Company of a Hundred Associates, who had a monopoly over the fur-trade. Finally, Black slaves were too expensive for ordinary colonists.

“The company was closely controlled by Richelieu, and was given sweeping authority over trade and colonization in all of New France, a territory that encompassed all of AcadiaCanadaNewfoundland, and French Louisiana. Management was entrusted to twelve directors.” (See Slavery in Canada, Wikipedia)

Consequently, the Black slaves of New France were domestic servants. Moreover, most of the colonists of New France were poor. In Philippe-Aubert de Gaspé‘s 1863 Les Anciens Canadiens (The Canadians of Old), a male Ethiopian is mentioned. Jules d’Haberville’s father was a Seigneur. But to return to Olivier le Jeune, it is believed the child was manumitted (freed) by the Couillard family. He died in 1654.

According to Afua Cooper, author of The Hanging of Angélique: The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montréal, “enslaved First Nations people outnumbered enslaved individuals of African descent, under French rule. She attributed this to the relative ease with which New France could acquire First Nations slaves. She noted that the mortality of slaves was high, with the average age of First Nations slaves only 17, and the average age of slaves of African descent, 25.”[3]

The Seigneurial System

Farmers, later called cultivateurs, were given thirty acres of land. They paid their rente to their Seigneur and their dîme, to their curés, the parish priest. Their was a Chemin du Roy, but the river was the highway. It linked Quebec-city, Trois-Rivières and the island of Montréal. Under the Seigneurial System, farmers did the work.

Code Noir of 1742, Nantes history museum

Le Code Noir

  • the Panis
  • the Black

The Code Noir, which regulated enslavement in the French colonial empire, was promulgated by Louis XIV, in 1685. The first Code Noir was written by Colbert, but it was amended. It stressed that slaves had to be Catholics or convert to Catholicism. In 1689, New France was granted permission to enslave Blacks. But New France’s slaves were mostly Amerindians, all of whom were called Panis, whether or not they belonged to the Pawnee people. New France had very few slaves in the 17th century, but their numbers grew in the 18th century.

It would be difficult to determine how many Panis were given by Amerindian friends to the citizens of New France and how many were taken by colonists. However, no one can dispute that most slaves in New France were Amerindians rather than Blacks. Slavery and racism can be linked, but Amerindians had Amerindian slaves. Slavery has existed since time immemorial, but the Blacks of New France were owned by Whites. The transatlantic slave trade was human trafficking. It is a practice that has yet to end. La traite des Blanches, white slavery, was/is also human trafficking, and racism cannot be excluded.

transatlantic slave trade

African captives being transferred to ships along the Slave Coast for the transatlantic slave trade, c. 1880. © 

The image above belongs to Britannica.

I have noted that given Canada’s harsh climate, survival is a keyword in both the history New France and English-speaking.[4] In other words, the French, fur traders in particular, depended on Amerindians: birch bark canoes, snowshoes, remedies. Jacques Cartier, Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Monts and his nagivator, Samuel de Champlain, were provided with thuja occidentalis, when their men were dying of scurvy. As for North America’s natives, they were not immune to certain European illnesses, such as smallpox, a devastating illness.

Arthur de Gobineau.jpg

1876 portrait of Gobineau by the Comtesse de la Tour (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Slavery vs Racism

Slavery may or may not be racist. However, enslavement is an extreme form of humiliation. So persons who have been slaves may be viewed as inferior.

Joseph Arthur, comte de Gobineau (14 July 1816 – 13 October 1882), the author of Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races (Essai sur l’Inégalité des races humaines), believed commoners were inferior to aristocrats. (See Arthur de Gobineau, Wikipedia) and the White race superior to other races. However, although Arthur de Gobineau believed in Aryan supremacy, he did not look upon the Jews as an inferior “race.”

However unsavoury Arthur de Gobineau’ writings, he is associated with Scientific Racism. The 19th century is the birthplace of sociology and related disciplines. Charles Darwin (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) developed the science of evolution. His ideas were shocking to many, but more scientific than Gobineau’s who thought the Black race was an inferior race.

The Disappearance of Indigenous Women

At the moment, the disappearance of aboriginal women in Canada is alarming.

“The issue gained increased awareness and attention after Amnesty International published Stolen Sisters: A Human Rights Response to Violence and Discrimination against Indigenous Women in Canada (2004) and No More Stolen Sisters (2009). Research conducted by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) established a database of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. In 2011, the NWAC database included 582 known cases, most of which had occurred between 1990 and 2010.” (The Canadian Encyclopedia)

The Hanging of Angélique

Marie-Josèphe dite Angélique is Canada’s most famous slave. Marie Josèphe, was a Portuguese slave brought to New England by a Flemish owner who sold her to a Montreal Seigneur, François Poulin de Francheville. When he died, his wife Thérèse de Couagne de Francheville decided to sell Marie-Josèphe to a Quebec City owner. Fearing she would lose the man she loved, an indentured servant whose name was Claude Thibault, the two escaped but were returned to Madame de Francheville, Thérèse de Couagne.

See the source image

Marie-Joseph-Angélique, (Photo credit: The Dictionary of Canadian Biography)

While she was absent, Thérèse de Couagne’s house was destroyed in a fire that spread to a large part of Old Montreal, including l’Hôtel-Dieu, a hospital. Marie-Josèphe was accused of arson. She was a runaway slave. She had run away with Claude Thibault who had been jailed and released. He disappeared. Marie-Josèphe was tried and convicted of arson. She was to be tortured, make amends (amende honorable), and be burned alive. The five-year old daughter of Alexis Monière, Amable, claimed she saw Marie-Josèphe- Angélique transporting coal. Marie-Josèphe-Angélique was tortured and hanged on 21 June 1734.

“The Hanging of Angélique: The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montréal”

Marie Josèphe’s guilt was questioned by Denyse Beaugrand-Champagne in a book published in 2004. The fire may have started elsewhere. Two years later, in 2006, Dr Afua Cooper, PhD, who was born in Jamaica and is a faculty member at Dalhousie University, in Halifax, published The Hanging of Angélique: The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montréal. According to Dr Cooper, Marie-Josèphe did set fire to her owner’s house, thus rebelling against her condition: slavery. (See Marie-Joseph Angélique, Wikipedia.)

In Lower Canada (Quebec), Sir James Monk, who could not abolish slavery, “rendered a series of decisions in the late 1790s that undermined the ability to compel slaves to serve their masters…” (See Slavery in Canada, Wikipedia). Later, Sir James Kempt refused a request to return a black slave to the United States. In practice, slavery had ended in Lower Canada.

Slavery was abolished in the British Empire by virtue of the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833.


There is racism in Canada, including Quebec, but I do not know whether it is “systemic.” The French in Québec, the former Lower Canada, have concentrated on preserving their language. Bill 21 (secularization) led to demonstrations.


Sources and Resources


[1] Arnaud Bessières, PhD, CIEQ, Virtual Museum of New France, Slavery

[2] Quebec City fell in 1759, but the treaty that ended the Seven Years’ War was
the Treaty of Paris, 1763.

[3] Quoted in Slavery in Canada (Wikipedia)

[4] Margaret Atwood’s Survival, a Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature (1972) applies to both cultures.

Best regards to everyone. 💕
I apologize for the delay. I was very tired.

Dr. Afua Cooper

Afua Cooper (The Canadian Encyclopedia)

© Micheline Walker
Micheline Bourbeau-Walker, PhD
22 June 2020




Rupert’s Land: Amerindians, Métis, and the Red River Colony


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a man wearing a microphone

Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

Above is a picture of Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. Mr Adam claims he was the victim of police brutality, which is unacceptable. However, although they may be the very devil, I would hesitate to put The Royal Canadian Mounted Police on trial. In my life, they have done what the police is supposed to do: to protect and to serve.


In fact, the killing of George Floyd has led to accusations, resignations, dismissals, or a form of revisionism. Some of these are convincingly justifiable, others, less so. There can be no doubt that there are rotten apples in nearly every basket, but although racism is a serious problem in the United States, I could not extend the term “racist” to every American. Too many Americans oppose racism for me to generalize. Moreover, Barack Obama, an African-American, was elected to the Presidency of the United States and proved one of its finest presidents.

Macdonald, Sir John A.

Sir John A MacDonald (The Canadian Encyclopedia)


cbb299c8-c0b7-460c-add9-2e245342dc9b (1)

The Métis provisional government (Wikipedia)

Aboriginals in Canada

  • Rupert’s Land
  • The Royal Charter of 1670
  • Aboriginal title
  • What of the Red River Colony?

I nevertheless researched the topic of Aboriginals in Canada and Blacks in Canada. However, this post is about the indigenous people of Canada. It cannot go further. It is about Amerindians after Confederation and the “purchase” of Rupert’s Land from the Hudson’s Bay Company, chartered in 1670. In Wikipedia’s relevant entry, by virtue of the Royal Charter, Rupert’s Land, which was bought by the first four confederated provinces of the future Canada, could not include territory already settled and inhabited by the indigenous people of North America.

However, this did not settle the issue of Aboriginal title over the land. At the time the Royal Charter was granted in 1670, the Crown did not have the authority to give jurisdiction of sovereignty over the territory already settled and inhabited by the indigenous people of North America.
(Rupert’s Land, Wikipedia)

Therefore, it appears that, by virtue of the Royal Charter of 1670, the “purchase” of Rupert’s Land by the first confederated provinces precluded settling land that was settled by the indigenous people of North America.

For that matter, could the first four provinces of the Canadian Confederation resettle the Red River Colony? The Red River Colony was established by the Earl of Selkirk who purchased and settled the Colony to give a home to dispossessed Scottish crofters (See Crofting, Wikipedia). However, the Red River Colony was soon home to retired voyageurs, and to several members of the disbanded Régiment de Meuron and De Watteville Régiment. These were Swiss mercenaries and veterans of the War of 1812. The Red River Colony was multicultural and bilingual. It was also home to English-speaking Métis and French-speaking Métis. It was Louis Riel’s Canada, officially bilingual and bicultural, and eventually described as multicultural. But it wasn’t so until the Official Languages’ Act was passed, in 1969. The Red River Colony was bought and settled land.

There are times when “officials” act too quickly, but under the Royal Charter, could the Red River Colony be part of Rupert’s Land?  This is questionable. Yet, after the purchase of Rupert’s Land, descendants of United Empire Loyalists rushed west to get land. But it was not a Wild West.

Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald first began planning a permanent force to patrol the North-West Territories after the Dominion of Canada purchased the territory from the Hudson’s Bay Company.
(See The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Wikipedia.)

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police was established in 1873 and was first named the North West Mounted Rifles and renamed the North-West Mounted Police. Although Quebec and Ontario have their own provincial police corps, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is Canada’s national police force, so, as soon as it was appointed, settling west in Canada was policed. But, in a policed Canada Amerindians were nevertheless sent to reservations and French-speaking Canadians had to live in the Province of Quebec because of the Orange Order. Sir John A. MacDonald and three other Prime Ministers of Canada were members of the Orange Order.

In an earlier article, I quoted the Canadian Encyclopedia:

Its members generally viewed Roman Catholics and French Canadians as politically disloyal or culturally inferior.
(See Orange Order in Canada, The Canadian Encyclopedia.)

I will close by stating, once again, that the purchase of Rupert’s Land was not consistent with the Royal Charter. Officials may not have read the details or may have reached an agreement that ignored the Royal Charter. Land was taken that belonged to Amerindians. They were not given a word to say, nor were the Métis. As for the use of French outside Quebec, the Orange Order (Wikipedia), Orange order (The Canadian Encyclopedia) would not allow it. They had no tolerance for the French and despised Catholics. Four Prime Ministers of Canada were Orangemen. Louis Riel’s Canada was born in 1969, when the Official Languages Act was passed, but Amerindians have lived on reservations, and I wonder whether this arrangement was the best. Confederation was followed by sending children to Residential Schools. Canada’s aboriginals were compensated for the harm inflicted on children who attended these schools.

During the years I taught at Saint Francis Xavier University, a young woman came to talk to me. She was taking a course I taught. She told me she was Amerindian and that she would therefore pass the course. I could not understand what she wanted. In the end, I had to tell her that I did not base grades on race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, religion, etc., but on the quality of one’s performance. She could, however, come to see me, if she experienced difficulties with the subject matter. She could also phone me at the office or at home. I would help.

Before closing, I should note that there is confusion concerning the word “race.” In French, race means “breed” and “race.” In l’abbé Lionel Groulx’s L’Appel de la race (The Call of the Race) race is breed or roots. I never included L’Appel de la race as necessary reading in my classes on French-Canadian literature. However, it is central to what is called “la question des écoles,” French-language schools outside Quebec, an issue one cannot remove from the discussion.

A discussion of the War of 1812, is relevant to both the Amerindian and Métis populations. Individual Amerindian chiefs negotiated treaties with the White. The famous Tecumseh opposed these treaties. He favored a centralized body of indigenous people. Tecumseh was killed on 5 October 1813, at the Battle of the Thames during the War of 1812.

There is/was racism in Canada and there were racial wrongs. Many Chinese died building a rail road across ranges of mountains. Moreover, the Japanese were sent to camps. As for the Indigenous people of Canada, they had a right to their land, and French-speaking Canadians should have been allowed to move west. They faced the school question, la question des écoles, which takes us back to Louis Riel. It is possible that the Royal Charter was amended officially, but I doubt it.

I must read further, but for the time being, I would urge demonstrators to be extremely careful. Covid-19 could kill millions. Demonstrations are very dangerous.


Sources and Resources

The Canadian Encyclopedia

Love to everyone 💕

© Jean-Marc Philippe Duval, studio Spinner, Nancy – SACEM, Paris.


Theresa Tam, Canada’s Top Doctor

© Micheline Walker
Micheline Bourbeau-Walker, PhD
14 June 2020







Racism in Canada: Notes


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A Métis man and his two wives, circa 1825-1826.jpg

A Métis man and his two wives, circa 1825-1826 A half cast and his two wives, 1825-1826, Mikan # 2835810, Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1973-84-1

The killing of George Floyd nearly drowned the discussion about Covid-19. The current conversation is about a man who was killed by a man whose duty it was to protected him, even as he arrested him. The police has duties to everyone. Therefore, it was racism at its worst. George Floyd’s life didn’t matter.

Racism in the United States is a complex topic because the economy of the United States depended, in certain southern states, on slavery. Blacks travelled packed like sardines in the hull of slave ship and, on their arrival in North America, they were sold. Slavery took away a person’s life. A life belonged to the owner of a plantation, which means that life was was taken away from a human being. Black lives matter. The mindset of American racists, is therefore rooted in color and status.

Racism exists in Canada. A the moment, the question is whether it is “systemic” racism (racisme structurel) or racism. Our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, says racism in Canada is systemic. At first, monsieur Legault of Quebec stated that racism in Canada is not systemic, but it seems he changed his mind. Premier Doug Ford of Ontario also believes that racism in Canada is systemic. For my part, I need to read further before I position myself. As for Dr Theresa Tam, Canada’s top doctor, she urges protesters to stay safe.

Because the Black in the United States were slaves, racism in the United States cannot be the same as racism in Canada. Canada’s racism may be systemic, but Canada’s economy did not depend on the work of slaves. Diamonds were not found on the shores of the St Lawrence River. Canada’s diamonds where its precious pelts at a time when men wore high beaver hats.

In other words, in the 17th century, survival in Nouvelle-France depended on agriculture and fur-trading. Logging was also important. Some houses were log cabin. It should also stated that in New France, settling would not have been possible without the Amerindians. Jacques Cartier the official discoverer of Canada made three trips to Eastern Canada. He first travelled to Canada in 1534. He took to France chief Donnacona‘s two sons and returned them to their father in 1535. They had learned French.

Cartier waited too long to return to France, so his ship(s) was locked into the ice and his men were rapidly dying of scurvy. Amerindians provided thuya occidentalis, white cedar rich in  On his first trip,   the French could not have gone to les pays d’en haut, the countries above or to the north, as voyageurs, in particular. They needed bark canoes and, snowshoes and the guidance Amerindians could provide. A canoe could be made in a matter of hours and the French had to work with the natives. “Survival” is a keyword in the history of Canada.

The fact remains, however, that the fur trade in Canada did not preclude abuse. The French gave trinkets and alcohol to natives who were prone to alcoholism, which outraged Monseigneur Laval, François-Xavier de Montmorency-Laval (1623-1708). But their land was not taken from Amerindians.

François de Laval - Project Gutenberg eText 17174.jpg

The Bishop of Quebec

However, in the United States, settlers deprived aboriginals of the land they had inhabited for centuries, if not millennia. American natives were sent West forcibly west of the Mississippi. The Louisiana Purchase (1803) would facilitate that process. Moreover, the French had settled in New Orleans, Nouvelle-Orléans, but the population of the rest of Louisiana consisted primarily of Aboriginals. In Canada, their land was not taken from Amerindians until what is known as Confederation (in 1867), or the birth of Canada.

There was hostility between tribes which affected New France. Iroquois, captured and killed a number of French-speaking citizens of New France. Iroquois also tortured and killed eight Jesuit missionaries. They are the Canadian Martyrs. To defend the citizens of Nouvelle-France, France sent le Régiment de Carignan-Salières. Le Régiment de Carignan-Salières, soldiers, who arrived in 1759, which is during the ten years or so when les Filles du Roy, the King’s wards were sent to New France.

Before the arrival of the Filles du Roy, the French resorted to marrying the natives, which explains why some Québécois have Amerindian ancestry. Métissés Québécois never formed a nation and are not recognized as Métis. Therefore, I am métissée, but I must pay my taxes, and look after myself. Québecois are considered culturally French and we identify with France. However, I am proud of my Amerindian ancestry. It makes me feel a legitimate inhabitant of the North American continent. It appears I am also a descendant of Aleanor of Aquitaine.

The French lost the Seven Years’ War, called the French and Indian War in North America. France had to give some of its colonies. So when Nouvelle-France was officially ceded to Britain, Amerindians feared for their lives. They were rescued by George III’s Proclamation of 1763, which did not please Americans.

Ironically, Amerindians in the future Canada lost their waterfront lots beginning in 1867, when four provinces of Canada when Nova Scotia, New Brunswick Québec and Ontario confederated and bought Rupert’s Land. It was land that belonged to the Hudson’s Bay Company. The HBC retained its trading posts, but Amerindians were eventually placed on reservations, a mixed blessing.

See the source image

Rupert’s Land

Louis Riel was a Métis, the most famous among Métis, and three times a member of Canadian Parliament. Riel was executed on 16 November 1886 for the execution of Thomas Scott, an Orangeman (Protestant) from Ontario. The Métis thought they would participate in the creation of Canada and that it would be bilingual and Catholic, in the case of Catholic Métis. Between the Conquest, 1763, and Confederation, 1867, voyageurs were employed in the fur trade and when the beavers was nearly extant, they accompanied explorers, such as David Thomson, who married an Amerindian.

The Métis in Canada live West in or near Winnipeg and are the descendants of the voyageurs, persons who went west to collect fur from the Amerindians. But voyageurs also retired in Minnesota. When the border between Canada and the United States was traced, after the War of 1812voyageurs trading posts were suddenly located in Minnesota, where a significant number of voyageurs retired. One of the voyageur who settled in Minnesota is Gabriel Franchère, a hero to Americans. (See Gabriel Franchère, a Hero to Americans.)

Voyageurs married Amerindians, because they could be away from Quebec for three years. Some had two wives, one west and one in Quebec. As the picture above illustrates, some had two Amerindian wives. Derek Chauvin has a French name, which suggests voyageur ancestry, but not necessarily Amerindian ancestry. Derek Chauvin has a French name. Other Métis are the descendants of the baron de Saint-Castin, who was an Amerindian chief. (See Jean-Vincent d’Abbadie, Baron de Saint-Castin.) One of my readers is a descendant of Jean-Vincent d’Abbadie, Baron de Saint-Castin.

Several Québec are métissés but are not considered Métis. French-speaking Canadians identify with France, their motherland. We are culturally French must pay our taxes. I like being métissée because it makes me feel that I belong just a little more than others.

a person standing in front of a computer: Chief Allan Adam of the Athabascan Chipewyan First Nation.

© Global News Chief Allan Adam of the Athabascan Chipewyan First Nation

Northern Alberta First Nations chief alleges he was beaten by RCMP

The Blacks in Canada

Mathieu da Costa, an African-Portuguese translator, was “[t]he first Black inhabitant of Nouvelle-France. He was a member of the exploring party of Pierre Dugua, the Sieur de Monts, and Samuel de Champlain and arrived in Nova Scotia sometime between 1605 and 1608 as a translator for the French explorer Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mon(t)s. He was the first recorded free black person to arrive on the territory of today’s Canada.” (See Pierre Dugua, sieur de Mons, Wikipedia.) Mathieu da Costa died in Quebec City in approximately 1619.

Ironically, Pierre Du Gua de Mons travelled to North America in 1599 with Pierre Pierre de Chauvin de Tonnetuit who had a house built at Tadoussac. But Pierre de Chauvin probably returned to France. (See Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons, Wikipedia.)

Nova Scotia has a black population some of whom are part Amerindian.


However, I stand by George Floyd. His color is an accident of birth and his ancestors did not matter, a notion that has snowballed into racism. Officer Chauvin would not otherwise have knelt so heavily on his neck. We must not let this happen again and the Black must know that the White are indignant. The only justice is eradicating racism and the process must start at home and in schools. We must not let children bully others.

Kind regards to everyone. 💕

a man smiling for the camera

© Provided by The Canadian Press

© Micheline Walker
8 June 2020




Chronicling Covid-19 (18), Pause


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Theresa Tam, Promoting Vaccine Confidence.jpg

Tam speaks at a 2019 World Health Assembly event in Geneva (Wikipedia)

Dr Theresa Tam

The novel Coronavirus has taken many lives in Canada, 90% of which were in Quebec and Ontario. Moreover, we have no way of knowing whether persons who have recovered will be as they were before they contracted Covid-19. I caught the H1N1 virus in early February 1976 and developed what used to be called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It is now called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. Covid-19 could trigger other illnesses.

Quebec is reopening, but the number of cases is nevertheless rising though not significantly. It has been ascertained that fewer people are infected on days when rules are observed. Social distancing and wearing a face mask protect people. However, the government is testing everyone.

As you know, most of the victims were living in long-term care facilities. Premier Legault could not recruit the health care givers he needed. So he has taken action. Ten thousand individuals will be trained as orderlies. Training will be condensed, but it is not for the Armed Forces to be doctors and health workers outside the Armed Forces are working as though they had been dispatched to a mission abroad and are remunerated accordingly.

The training of orderlies cannot be delayed due to the expected second wave of Covid-19. The Government must act now. The last time I looked at figures, there were 55,000 applications. Orderlies will be paid close to $50,000.00 a year, with all fringe benefits, such as a pension plan. Moreover, the Armed Forces leave in mid-September. They were a blessing.

It would be my opinion that Premiers have worked responsibly. I did not know monsieur Legault, but the pandemic has lifted a veil. Moreover, Premier Legault has appointed a Secretary for Anglophone Affairs. We must live in harmony with one another.

This logic may seem a little a cracked, but it has occurred to me that Anglophone Canadians may wish for French-Canadians to keep their language. We owe Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Justin Trudeau’s father, an officially bilingual Canada. Later, he described Canada as multicultural.

I am nor returning to the killing of George Floyd. This post is a pause.


According to CBC News figures, as of May 5 there were more than 62,000 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases and 4,166 people had died.

There are 93,726 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada.

  • Quebec: 52,143 confirmed (including 4,885 deaths, 17,098 resolved)
  • Ontario: 29,403 confirmed (including 2,357 deaths, 23,208 resolved)
  • Alberta: 7,091 confirmed (including 146 deaths, 6,611 resolved)
  • Nova Scotia: 1,058 confirmed (including 61 deaths, 995 resolved)
  • Saskatchewan: 648 confirmed (including 11 deaths, 608 resolved)
  • Manitoba: 287 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 284 resolved), 11 presumptive
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 261 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 256 resolved)
  • New Brunswick: 136 confirmed (including 1 death, 120 resolved)
  • Prince Edward Island: 27 confirmed (including 27 resolved)
  • Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)
  • Yukon: 11 confirmed (including 11 resolved)
  • Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)
  • Nunavut: No confirmed cases
  • Total: 93,726 (11 presumptive, 93,715 confirmed including 7,637 deaths, 51,501 resolved)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 5, 2020.

Love to everyone 💕

Gabriel Fauré‘s Cantique de Jean Racine
Conductor Paavo Järvi

Two men on an asphalt surface, behind a black van on which the letters "EAPOLIS" is seen, with a license plate ending "ICE". One man has light skin, a blue shirt with identifying badges on his chest and shoulder, black pants and boots, and black sunglasses pushed to the top of his close-shorn head. He is kneeling with his left knee and upper shin resting on the neck of the other man, and his right knee out of sight behind the van. The other man is lying prone, with his left cheek pressed against the asphalt close to a painted line. He is dark-skinned, with similarly short hair, and is not wearing a shirt; His mouth is slightly open, his eyes are closed with his eyebrows raised, and his arms are down, not visible behind the van. The kneeling man has his left hand in a dark glove, with his right arm hidden behind the van, and is looking at the viewer with his eyebrows slightly lifted and mouth slightly open. A frame from a witness video, showing Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck (Wikipedia)[/caption]

© Micheline Walker
6 June 2020








George Floyd: Racism & Covid-19


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James Mattis wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera: US President Donald Trump speaks as Defense Secretary James Mattis (L) looks on during a meeting with senior military leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House on October 5, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

© MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images US President Donald Trump speaks as Defense Secretary James Mattis (L) looks on during a meeting with senior military leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House on October 5, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Covid Remains

  • Covid-19
  • dividing Americans

Covid remains. It is the new reality and it will remain the new reality. Protesters who have taken to the streets are likely to catch the virus and spread it. Moreover, as I wrote in my last post, Mr Trump is seeing the protesters as thugs. He is not seeing them as individuals protesting an unjust death and asking that racial tensions in the United States come to an end.

I wasn’t well yesterday, and could not post anything, but I saw pictures that told a long story. The police was not allowing journalists to cover the events, which is their role. It is therefore difficult to know events precisely. We will not know who is destroying personal property. However, fatigue did not prevent me from reading.

As I feared, protesters had again taken to the streets, where no one is safe. Mr. Trump is a racist. Therefore, he wants the public to see that the protesters are thugs and will not let anyone see otherwise. This is authoritarianism, repression, bigotry and other evils I will not name. Not now. However, yesterday, The Washington Post reported that former defence secretary Jim Mattis has stated that:

“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mattis wrote in a statement published by the Atlantic.

“We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership,” he continued. “We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”

Mr Matis is right. This president wants to put protesters in the wrong and has the press pushed away so he is the only witness and divides Americans.

Mr Floyd’s murderer is in custody, and so are his fellow officers. When Mr Floyd said that he could not breathe, fellow officers didn’t pull Derek Chauvin away from George Floyd. I wrote that a heavy foot killed Mr Floyd, but it was a merciless knee and fellow officers did not intervene. They could have prevented George Floyd’s death.

All Officers Arrested

I have now read that all officers had been arrested. As for protesters, Mr Trump will not ever see them as protesters. As noted above, however legitimate the protest, the protesters will be seen as thugs. Moreover, it has also been reported that Mr. Floyd had been infected by Covid-19. Will this be used to explain away a genuine homicide? Mr Floyd died of Covid-19. How convenient! But we know the truth.


I will close by repeating that Donald Trump should not have been elected to the Presidency of the United States. He is not sufficiently educated. A good education is a source of freedom. It broadens the mind. One sees what one had not seen before and one can wrap one’s thoughts in words. But what Mr Trump reads is fake news, and he thinks he is under attack. He has also learned to lie.

In short, Derek Chauvin killed Mr Floyd and President Trump is failing Americans abysmally. There could be new outbreaks of Covid-19 and President Trump is distorting the truth. To this effect, he is not allowing the press from chronicling events. Fortunately, Americans can see.

The protest must be peaceful and Americans must elect to the Presidency of the United States a person who will be accountable and will not divide the United States.

In Canada,

Love to everyone 💕

Paul Robeson sings Ol’ Man River


Europe a Prophecy (Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
4 June 2020

George Floyd: Corrections


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John Minchillo/AP

Something went wrong. It started last night. The post I published does not promote disorder. When I read it this morning, the post had been altered. One cannot set buildings ablaze and otherwise destroy property.

As you know, there are thugs. Plain thugs. For them, a demonstration is an opportunity to destroy property. They may join the demonstration and distort the message. One will not see the truck that is driven into the demonstrators and may not want to remember that people are protesting the murder of an African-American.

If a demonstration is violent, people may not remember an unjust death and police brutality. They will instead remember the disorder and the destruction it led to, and the protesters will be looked upon as criminals. President Trump will send in the National Guards. Beware of thugs.

The protest in Montreal has been ruled illegal. Covid-19 precludes large gatherings, however peaceful.

Yes, Canada grieves, but it grieves the brutal death of George Floyd, whose murderer was a policeman.

I must have my computer examined. There are hackers.

Love to everyone 💕

Paul Robeson sings Danny Boy


Paul Robeson

© Micheline Walker
2 June 2020

George Floyd: Canada Grieves


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a group of people that are standing in the rain: Police form a line on H Street in Washington as demonstrators gather near the White House on Sunday to protest the killing of George Floyd.

© Alex Brandon/AP Police form a line on H Street in Washington as demonstrators gather near the White House on Sunday to protest the killing of George Floyd. (The Washington Post)

The Right to Life

George Floyd had the right to live, despite the color of his skin. His death is murder most foul. It truly saddens me to see that a person who should protect others, a policeman, failed in his duties to protect a citizen of the United States and that fellow officers did not come to Mr. Floyd’s rescue.

I would like to express indignation at the brutal act that deprived Mr. Floyd of his life. A police officer’s first duty is to ensure the safety of others. The murderer and his colleagues failed Mr. Floyd and they failed the people of the United States. I also wish to express heartfelt sympathy to Mr. Floyd’s family, friends, and to his community.

a group of people walking down the street

© Provided by The Canadian Press, Montreal


  • eloquent, but peaceful demonstrations
  • Covid-19: stay safe

However, in the days of Covid-19, demonstrations are not advisable. Covid-19 is so easily transmitted that demonstrations could infect hundreds of persons. Protective masks fall while buildings are set ablaze. Please remember that in the mind of a racist, a violent and destructive protest will be viewed as vandalism, which it has become. Violent protests could be used to justify Mr. Floyd’s murder. Yes, racism can go that far. Protest peacefully

Racists walk a crooked path and many are not educated. President Trump is not as well-educated as his predecessor, President Obama. He would not even hear Dr Fauci, an exceptional immunologist who should have guided the President’s actions. President Trump has also severed the United States ties with the World Health Organization, the WHO. Such behavior is inexplicable and it is wrong. How to fight Covid-19 is for experts to determine. Elected officials act on their advice.

Allow me to say to African-Americans facing racism that they are not alone. Whites are also fighting racism. Americans of every creed and color elected Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States.

The American Elections 

The electoral campaign is well under way. Therefore, Americans are at liberty to elect a President who will not tolerate racism and prejudices. But for the time being, we are in the midst of a pandemic. Covid-19 is as deadly as the heavy knew of the policeman who choked Mr. Floyd. In fact, it is deadlier. Many of you who have protested may have been infected. We have abused the environment and can expect horrific consequences. Do not engage in demonstrations that will destroy you and harm your cause.

Protest peacefully and be an instrument of change. Elect a good candidate to the  Presidency of the United States. At the moment, Mr. Biden leads and he has many supporters. The world is watching, hoping for a change, but only American citizens can vote.

Here is a quotation from a piece Barack Obama published in Medium.

The “bottom line,” he wrote, is that “if we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform.”

Uprooting racism and other societal ills is everyone’s task. Do not stand alone and stay safe.

Love to everyone 💕

Paul Robeson sings Let my People Go

a man standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Houston police will escort George Floyd's body upon its arrival.

© Courtesy Ben Crump Law Firm Houston police will escort George Floyd’s body upon its arrival.

© Micheline Walker
1 June 2020
updated 2 June 2020