They make house calls…



, , ,

Flowers and Fruit, 1899 - Louis Valtat
Flowers and Fruit par Louis Valtat, 1899 (

I apologize for not posting more frequently. First, someone is reading my posts as I write them. He or she may have the best intentions. Still, I have always worked alone. Although I have read and continue to read books and articles on Molière and insert quotations in learned articles, I usually present a significantly personal analysis of Molière.

It seems, however, that I may henceforth publish shorter posts. Last Wednesday, I tried to do some online banking. However, the company has created a new and safer version of its online tools. I followed the instructions, and a message appeared confirming that all was well. However, I could not log in.

So I phoned the company and waited for a few minutes until someone was available, but I started to cry when a young man answered. Technologies are a genuine obstacle, and technical problems may trigger a vulnerability. At any rate, within a few minutes, two large policemen were inside my apartment. I put on my mask, and we spoke.

I mentioned that my cat had died on 29 November 2019 and that it would soon be a year since he died. Moreover, I had been inside my apartment since March, avoiding the coronavirus. As well, in the space of three years, I had failed to settle in my apartment. Finally, Sherbrooke is now a red zone. One cannot call a carpenter, until a degree of safety has been reached. Who would help during a pandemic?

One of the policemen suggested I adopt a cat, and one offered to remove a heavy box from the hallway. They were good persons. I thanked them because I felt much better. It had been an accident.

One returns to life as usual, a narrower life because of Covid-19, but life.

However, I reflected that in the days of the coronavirus, if a citizen of Sherbrooke, Quebec, feels distraught, his or her best help could be the police. They are available twenty-four hours a day and they make house calls.

Love to everyone 💕

Afficher l’image source
Anemones and Green Jug by Louis Valtat, ca. 1926 (courtesy Art Resource, NY)

© Micheline Walker
20 November 2020

Chronicling Covid-19 (7): The Plan



, , ,


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



, , , , , , , ,


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

Le Patriote


, , , , , , , , ,

Le Vieux de ’37 (The Old Man from ’37) par Henri Julien

An Introduction

I am writing posts on Quebec’s Language Laws, but I am stepping in gently. French Canadian nationalism begins with Pierre-Stanislas Bédard. (See also Pierre-Stanislas Bédard, fr Wikipedia.) French Canadian nationalism also dates to the Rebellions of 1837-1838, a painful memory.

Bill 96

Although Bill 96 was passed in May and came into effect in June 2022, it has already led to the creation of a new political party in Quebec. The new party’s name is Le Parti canadien du Québec. It is the name, or nearly so, Pierre-Stanislas Bédard gave to his nationalist party in the early 1800s. Bédard was elected to the Assembly of Lower Canada in 1792, a year after the Constitutional Act was passed, and he created his Parti canadien, the very first Canadian party, at the turn of the 19th century. In 1806, Bédard also started a newspaper, Le Canadien.

The Constitutional Act of 1791 responded to the arrival of United Empire Loyalists in Sir Guy Carleton‘s Province of Quebec. (See The Quebec Act, Wikipedia.) The Quebec Act had perturbed the citizens of the Thirteen Colonies before the American Revolution and also disturbed United Empire Loyalists. The Rights of Englishmen was a popular concept which gained ground as the British Empire was nearing its apex.

The motivation to secede was informed by the “Rights of Englishmen,” but it also justified leaving the independent United States, no longer ruled by Britain. After the fall of Nouvelle-France, citizens of the Thirteen Colonies could move north to Britain’s new colony, the former New France. These individuals did not differ substantially from secessionists. Canadiens were not equal to Englishmen. They spoke French, the language of Britain’s main rival, France, and France had lost the Seven Years’ War. Moreover, the French in North America were Catholics.

The Constitutional Act of 1791 divided the vast Province of Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada. Upper Canada would be home to English-speaking Canadians, but United Empire Loyalists settled the Eastern Townships of Quebec, where I was born. The Eastern Townships is a bilingual area of Quebec, within limits. Bill 96 further narrows the limits determined by Bill 101, passed in 1977. Bill 96 also restricts access to English-language Cégeps. Many Québécois attend English-language Cégeps, a two-year pre-University programme, to learn English. English is the current lingua franca, the language of success.

Quebec towns protecting right to serve residents in English after new language law

Le Patriote

The above image is Henri Julien‘s depiction of a French Canadian patriote. Le Vieux de ’37, was created to illustrate Louis-Honoré Fréchette‘s « Le Vieux Patriote », a poem Fréchette published in La Légende d’un peuple, an internet publication at Le Vieux Patriote can also be read in French, at Un Jour Un Poème (click on title). The poem’s theme is exile, a theme expressed in Antoine Gérin-Lajoie‘s poem and song, Un Canadien errant. Un Canadien errant and its translation are a Wikisource publication.

In Fréchette’s poem, we sense a solid will to remember the Rebellions of 1837-1838. (Les Rébellions de 37). The Rebellions took place in both Canadas, where patriots sought responsible government. They attacked the state: Britain. The rebellion was more intense in Lower Canada than in Upper Canada, and repression was more severe. Most convicted patriots were hanged or exiled to Australia, and some, to Bermuda.

Exile is an essential theme in 19th-century French-Canadian literature. In the mind of Quécébois, the Rebellions of 1837-1838 may be a more traumatic event than the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, the last battle of the French and Indian War (the Seven Years’ War).

After Canadiens read Lord Durham’s Report on the Rebellions of 1837-1838, they founded two literary schools, one in Quebec City and, the other, in Montréal. Louis-Honoré Fréchette (1839-1908) was a prominent member of l’École littéraire de Montréal. I have found an ebook edition of Jean Charbonneau‘s L’École littéraire de Montréal. Louis-Honoré Fréchette was in favour of annexation with the United States.

The Atlantic Revolutions

I have already mentioned the Atlantic Revolutions. The Rebellions of 1837-1838 are currently considered one of several attempts to create republics. A Patriot War was waged within the Rebellions of 1837-1838. It took place between December 1837 and December 1838. The Patriot War was an ideological war mostly. It promoted republicanism. William Lyon Mackenzie proclaimed the Republic of Canada on December 5, 1837, but the Patriot War started in Vermont, and the Patriots were defeated.

Lord Elgin granted the Province of Canada, a united Canada, a responsible government under the “great ministry” of Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine in 1849.


I believe the survival of the French language in Canada is threatened. Confederation led to the creation of “uniform” schools in every province of Canada, except Quebec. When immigrants arrived, they attended “uniform” schools. This policy originated in Macaulayism. Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859) was a fine gentleman, but the sun never set on the British Empire which could lead people astray. The English Education system would be used in Britain’s colonies. Moreover, English would be the language of instruction in higher education in India and in post-Confederation Canada. The French could not be educated in French outside. They had to stay in Quebec. Immigrants who arrived in Canada were educated in “uniform” schools. It created an imbalance, that cannot be redressed easily and it should not demand that every Canadian learn French and English. That would be unrealistic. However, it should be possible to learn a second language in schools. Following the passage of the Official Languages Act of 1969, French immersion schools were established.

Ottawa has a Commissioner of Official Languages, and Pomquet is not the only Acadian village to boast une école acadienne. I taught Second Language Didactics at McMaster University and served as President of l’Apfucc, l’Association des Professeurs de Français des Universités et Collègues canadiens or Canadian Association of University and College Teachers of French. I also served on the board of directors and the executive of the Fédération canadienne des Études humaines, now renamed Fédération canadienne des Sciences humaines. These were my better days. I have investigated second-language teaching/learning.

I will close by saying that language policies protecting the French language in Canada should not lead to chicaneries and threaten Canadian unity. (to be continued)


Under History

Sources and Resources


Kind regards to everyone 💕

Paul Robeson sings Un Canadian errant. His interpretation is the finest I have heard.

Un Canadien (source unknown)

© Micheline Walker
16 August 2022

Pope Francis apologizes for the Residential School Tragedy in Canada


, , , , , , , , ,

Pope Francis
Pope Francis visits the Lac Ste. Anne pilgrimage site in Alberta, Canada, Tuesday, July 26, 2022. Pope Francis travelled to Canada to apologise to Indigenous peoples for the abuses committed by Catholic missionaries in the country’s notorious residential schools. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (



  • The Indian Act of 1876
  • Reserves and Residential Schools 

Pope Francis was in Canada for six days on a reconciliation mission. He has now returned to the Vatican.

In 1876, a few years after the Canadian Confederation (1867), the government of the Dominion of Canada passed the Indian Act (1876). Amerindians had to live on Reserves, and their children were forcibly taken to “Residential Schools.” The goal of Residential Schools was to assimilate native children into Euro-Canadian society, which, according to Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, required withdrawing them from the Reserves where their parents, “savages,” lived. The children were to be put in “central training industrial schools.”

When the school is on the reserve the child lives with its parents, who are savages; he is surrounded by savages, and though he may learn to read and write his habits, and training and mode of thought are Indian. He is simply a savage who can read and write. It has been strongly pressed on myself, as the head of the Department, that Indian children should be withdrawn as much as possible from the parental influence, and the only way to do that would be to put them in central training industrial schools where they will acquire the habits and modes of thought of white men.
Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future, Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (Introduction, p. 3) 
(Wayback Machine.)



According to the documents I have read and supplied, the story of Residential Schools begins in New France. At first, I did not understand how residential schools originated in New France. I now believe the reference to New France is about its missionaries. Conversion to Christianity was a form of acculturation. But the French married Amerindians.

So, to my knowledge, there were no Indian Reserves before Canadian Confederation and children were not forcibly removed from their parents to attend Residential Schools. These events unfolded after the passage of the Indian Act of 1876. Residential Schools dated to 1880 and were not closed until the last quarter of the 20th century.

However, legislation transforming Amerindians into Euro-Canadians precedes the Indian Act of 1876, but it was not implemented. A list of relevant legislation is included in the Indian Act of 1876 (precursors and amendments). Therefore, by 1876, after Canadian Confederation, the ground was laid for the Indian Act. The Province of Canada (1841-1867) passed the Gradual Civilization Act of 1857, but the Gradual Enfranchisement Act of 1869 followed Canadian Confederation (1967). The Indian Act of 1876 differed from earlier legislation because it was imposed rather than negotiated. Treaties were negotiated.

Assimilation & Abuse

  • Devaluation
  • Neglect
  • Programmed assimilation as genocide

Children who lived in Residential Schools were to be assimilated into the dominant Euro-Canadian culture. First, they were not allowed to speak a native language. If they did, they were punished. As a result, they viewed their language as inferior to Euro-Canadian languages, mainly English, which was a devaluation of their person.

The assimilation of native children into Euro-Canadians was objectionable, but abuse, including sexual abuse, was devastatingly harmful. These children had been separated from their parents and had no one to go to, so it was all too easy for the staff of Residential Schools to use their wards to gratify sexual urges unpunished and remorselessly. Sexual abuse is an egregious invasion of one’s privacy.

In fact, neglect alone can cripple a child. No one looked after these children if they had a headache, toothache, flu, or chapped lips. Many died and were buried in unmarked graves as though they had never lived.

The Science of Neglect, Harvard University


On the plane taking him back to Italy, Pope Francis spoke of a “genocide.” The Pope had not used the word “genocide” when he was in Canada, but on the plane, looking back, the word came to his mind. There had been a genocide, and most schools were administered by the Catholic clergy. Children were born in Residential Schools. What happened to these babies? As noted above, neglect during childhood may harm a child permanently. Moreover, after Confederation, many indigenous women were forcibly sterilised. It also became easy to lose one’s status as an indigenous. A list of policies can be found under the Indian Act of 1876. However, the Indian Act itself aimed to eliminate Amerindians, and many died.

Documents, including hundreds of photographs, implicating the Oblates have been found at the Vatican.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission

  • Phil Fontaine
  • Royal Proclamation of 1763

Phil Fontaine has been a leader in the movement that ended Residential Schools. Phil Fontaine negotiated a massive settlement for the victims of a major violation of human rights. Canada’s Indigenous population used the Royal Proclamation of 1763, the appropriate document. When Nouvelle-France fell to Britain, citizens of the Thirteen Colonies and would-be settlers rushed west with land grants. Chief Pontiac and other Amerindians push them back. Pontiac’s War was merciless and understandably so. Jeffery Amherst was attempting to spread smallpox, and disease that could have eliminated North America’s aboriginals. George III of England created a large reserve to protect Amerindians and settlers. Canada’s natives are using the Royal Proclamation of 1763 to validate their claims. That document is entrenched in the Constitution of 1982.

Phil Fontaine is

[a]n advocate for human rights, and a survivor of residential school abuse, Fontaine’s crowning achievement to date is the residential schools settlement. At $5.6 billion in individual compensation, Fontaine negotiated the largest settlement in Canadian history – for the largest human rights violation in Canadian history – arising out of the 150-year Indian residential school tragedy. (See National Speakers Bureau.)

A Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established to compensate survivors and initiate a new and healthy relationship between natives and the nations that settled in Canada.

Between 2007 and 2015, the Government of Canada provided about $72 million to support the TRC's work. The TRC spent 6 years travelling to all parts of Canada and heard from more than 6,500 witnesses. The TRC also hosted 7 national events across Canada to engage the Canadian public, educate people about the history and legacy of the residential schools system, and share and honour the experiences of former students and their families. (See Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Canadian Government.)

Pope Francis in Canada

  • An Act of Charity

Although most Residential Schools were administered by Catholics, Pope Francis did not have to come to Canada on a penitential mission. Residential Schools were created by John A. Macdonald’s government. However, Phil Fontaine and other Amerindians went to the Vatican to invite him, and Pope Francis, who understood the importance of travelling to Canada, accepted the invitation. He recognised the wrongs committed by the Catholic administrators of Residential Schools. He apologised everywhere he travelled and used the word “genocide” to describe a tragedy.

The Pope is the leader of the Catholic Church, yet he spoke directly and informally with people who have suffered immensely. He mingled with Canada’s Natives and its Métis people, which was more than a formal apology. Pope Francis may have played the most significant role in a process favouring a dialogue that would lead to reconciliation. It was to that end that Canada established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. There simply could not be a more exemplary gesture than Pope Francis’s visit in a process called Truth and Reconciliation. The Pope, an older gentleman losing his mobility, apologised humbly in the name of the Church and he showed compassion. We witnessed an act of charity.


In the 19th century, many Euro-Canadians would have looked upon North American natives as “savages” who should be civilised. However, Canada did not begin in 1867. The French would not have survived without the help of Amerindians. They provided snowshoes and canoes to the legendary voyageurs. The French could not otherwise harvest furs, New France’s gold.

The way Sir John A. Macdonald implemented Confederation was a throwback to the Age of Discovery. He acted like a conquistador. Canada’s indigenous population, its “savages,” were sent to Reserves, and their children were forcibly taken to Residential Schools. However, Sir John A. Macdonald lived in the 19th century. At that time in history, the British Empire was the mightiest. Britain’s might led to concepts such as the “rights of Englishmen” and considerable self-entitlement. Cecil Rhodes wanted to paint the world “red,” the Empire’s colour and India‘s Thomas Babington Macaulay favoured instruction in the English language. It was called Macaulayism. (See An Analogue, at the foot of this post.)

I cannot think of a nobler and more charitable mission than Pope Francis’s visit to Canada. Canadians were blessed.


Sources and Resources

Image(s) from Vatican News (go to YouTube Vatican News)

Love to everyone 💕

Pope Francis in Canada (go to YouTube and type Vatican News)


An Analogue

In India, Thomas Babington Macaulay (1900-1859) advocated a system of education consistent with Britain’s in nearly every way, including the training of teachers and the use of English as the language of instruction:

India's Macaulayism, by which indigenous Indian educational and vocational customs were repressed, included the replacement of the Persian language with the English language as the official language of instruction in all schools, and the training of English-speaking Indians as teachers. (See Macaulayism, Wikipedia.)

England had a “civilising mission.”

We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect. To that class we may leave it to refine the vernacular dialects of the country, to enrich those dialects with terms of science borrowed from the Western nomenclature, and to render them by degrees fit vehicles for conveying knowledge to the great mass of the population.
(See Macaulayism, Wikipedia.)

According to professor Kapil Kapoor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, India‘s educational system still “marginalise[s] inherited learning.”

© Micheline Walker
6 August 2022

From Cats to l’École acadienne de Pomquet


, , , , , , , , ,

Perronneau : Magdaleine Pinceloup de La Grange.


I have been unable to write for the last few days. Nothing could be done. I have long suffered from what is now called “long Covid.” It developed when I caught a virus that caused Chronic Fatigue Syndrome /Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, an illness I never recovered from. It could have been depression.

My siblings and I had a dog and several cats during our childhood. We learned to love animals. But as an adult, I kept a cat or two until Belaud’s death. I have been looking for another Chartreux, but there does not seem to be a breeder in Quebec. Chartreux are difficult to find. Belaud was Belaud II. He was my second Chartreux. Having a cat alleviates depression.

My most intelligent cat was not a Chartreux but a brown tabby who was an Einstein in the cat world. Mouchette was a small cat born in the dead of winter and had lost part of an ear and part of her tail to frost. She never grew into a full-size cat, but I could not see the slightest imperfection in her. I was amazed when she picked up a mushy ball and brought it to me so we could play ball. I have been thinking of her. Dear petite Mouchette.

My students knew I had a cat and were pleased to hear that I was not alone in the blue house. Teachers do not tell about their private life, but students like to hear that their teacher has a cat. They called her my sidekick.

L’École acadienne de Pomquet

I am still thinking about language laws. Outside Quebec, there are no language laws. Students living in large cities may enter a French immersion school. These schools are often described as “private schools within the public system.” They reflect the work and findings of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism and the ensuing Official Languages Act of 1969. The Official Languages Act of 1969 was revised in the Official Languages Act of 1988. These acts do not address education, but the passage of the Official Languages Act of 1969 led to the development of publicly funded French immersion schools and summer immersion programmes. Canadian Parents for French is an association that has encouraged learning French from coast to coast.

Education is a provincial portfolio, but there is federal coordination in this matter, and the University of Toronto is home to the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). The development of Acadian Schools in Nova Scotia reflects recommendations of both Official Languages Acts. One of these schools is the Pomquet Acadian School, L’École acadienne de Pomquet. Pomquet is an Acadian village with a Mi’kmaq name. It is located a few minutes from Antigonish, where I taught French at St Francis Xavier University. I will continue to discuss Quebec’s Language Laws offering education as a more promising alternative.


Love to everyone 💕

Federico Colli plays Domenico Scarlatti: Sonata in G minor K30 (L499) “cat’s fugue”
A male Chartreux in Helsinki

© Micheline Walker
25 July 2022

The Battle of Jumonville Glen and …


, , , , , , , ,

Madeleine Jarret de Verchères, The Canadian Encyclopedia


Descendants du Régiment de Carignan-Salières
Louis Coulon de Villiers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some filles du roi/roy married disbanded soldiers of the Régiment de Carignan-Salières. These soldiers were offered a seigneurie and could defend their seigneurie and the colony. Madeleine de Verchères was born to a soldier of the Régiment de Carignan-Salières.

Madeleine de Verchères

Madeleine Jarret de Verchères was the daughter of François Jarret de Verchères, who remained in Canada after his tour of duty was over. He was given a seigneurie and married 12-year-old Marie Perrot. They lived in a fort. On October 22, 1692, when François and Marie were away getting supplies for the winter, 14-year-old Madeleine Jarret de Verchères, the couple’s fourth daughter, defended the fort. She was working outside the fort when an Iroquois grabbed her by her scarf, which she untied. Madeleine fled to safety and held the fort for eight days. She is a Canadian heroïne. At the foot of this post, you will find an article on Madeleine Jarret de Verchères.

Life in Canada was complicated. For instance, when the soldiers first arrived, they had no snowshoes (des raquettes). Many died frozen, and scurvy remained a plight. Yet, among the soldiers who survived, several accepted the King’s offer. They stayed behind, and most married. The King sent hundreds of women to New France. These women have been described as “filles de Joie,” which they were not. They were women who did not have a dowry and lived in convents and orphanages. The future looked grim, so they crossed the Atlantic, often packed like sardines. None were coerced into leaving for Canada, but some had little choice. There were deaths, but the survivors did not spend a long time learning to be housekeepers. Orders were to marry as soon as possible. They quickly found a husband and turned to one another for help managing a home.

Joseph Coulon de Villers de Jumonville 

Interestingly, French captain, Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville[1] (Joseph Coulon de Jumonville) was born in the Verchères seigneurie. He was the son of Nicolas-Antoine Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville[2] and married Angélique de Jarret de Verchères, Madeleine de Verchères‘s sister. (See Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville , Dictionary of Canadian Biography.) Two families had blended: the Jarret de Verchères and the Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville.

We have met Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville. He and his half-brother, Louis, were born at the Verchères seigneurie. Both were soldiers. The two were sent to Ohio country to chase the British away. Joseph was killed at the Battle of Jumonville Glen, a suspicious death.

The Battle of Jumonville Glen took place on May 28, 1754, in Ohio country. Jumonville Glen wasn’t a battle but an ambush. Yet, it is considered by many as the first battle in the Seven Years’ War, a global conflict. The North American theatre of the Seven Year’s War was called the French and Indian War, and hostilities lasted nine years. It is believed that Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville was killed at Jumonville Glen by Tanacharison, the Half King. Still, Tanacharison was with George Washington, a young officer, and the two were alone.

We may never know whether the Half King, Tanacharison, was ordered to kill Jumonville or acted singly. Suspicion was cast on George Washington, who was with Tanacharison when Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville died. The incident is known as the “Jumonville Affair,” which may be the event that started the Seven Years’ War.

Louis Coulon de Villiers,[3] Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville’s half-brother, was convinced Joseph had been murdered. Louis avenged Joseph’s death by defeating Washington at the Battle of Fort Necessity on July 3, 1754. George Washington, who could not read French, surrendered to Louis Coulon de Villiers, signing a document according to which Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville’s death was an assassination.

The terms of Washington's surrender included a statement (written in French, a language Washington did not read) admitting that Jumonville was "assassinated."(See Battle of Jumonville Glen, Battle of Fort Necessity and George Washington, Wikipedia) 
"It was in the Ohio Country where George Washington lost the Battle of Fort Necessity to Louis Coulon de Villiers in 1754, and the subsequent Battle of the Monongahela to Charles Michel de Langlade and Jean-Daniel Dumas to retake the country [in] 1755. The Treaty of Paris ceded the country to Great Britain in 1763." (History of Ohio)


We will never know whether Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville was assassinated. No one witnessed his death, and it seems that George Washington could not read French.

The fact remains that the “Jumonville affair” was described by Horace Walpole as:

a volley fired by a young Virginian in the backwoods of America [that] set the world on fire.” It proved to be the opening shot in the Seven Years’ War.

(See Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville, Dictionary of Canadian Biography.)

We also know that Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville was the son of Nicolas-Antoine Coulon de Villiers who married Angélique Jarret de Verchères, Madeleine Jarret de Verchères‘s sister. Both are daughters of François Jarret de Verchères who was a member of the Régiment de Carignan-Salières.

A few years later, when New France fell to Britain, the Thirteen Colonies‘ citizens rushed into Ohio, hoping they would occupy new land. Chief Pontiac fought back as Amerindians had lived undisturbed in this part of North America. New York governor Jeffery Amherst attempted to poison North American Indians, giving them smallpox-infected blankets. Landrushes were not rare in what became the United States. Settlers wanted a better life. George III’s Royal Proclamation of 1763 created a reserve protecting Amerindians, but restraining immigrants was difficult.


François Jarret de Verchères, Régiment de Carignan-Salières, and Marie Perrot are Madeleine de Verchère’s parents. Angélique Jarret de Verchères is Madeleine Jarret de Verchères‘s sister.
Nicolas-Antoine Coulon de Villiers married Angélique Jarret de Verchères. They are the parents of
Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville and Louis Coulon de Villiers.

RELATED ARTICLES,ceded%20the%20country%20to%20Great%20Britain%20in%201763.

Battle of Jumonville Glen (May 28, 1754)
Battle of Fort Necessity (July 3, 1754)

Love to everyone 💕


[1] W. J. Eccles, “COULON DE VILLIERS DE JUMONVILLE, JOSEPH,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed July 18, 2022,

[2] Jean-Guy Pelletier, “COULON DE VILLIERS, NICOLAS-ANTOINE (1683-1733),” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 2, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed July 18, 2022,

[3] W. J. Eccles, « COULON DE VILLIERS, LOUIS », dans Dictionnaire biographique du Canada, vol. 3, Université Laval/University of Toronto, 2003– , consulté le 18 juill. 2022,

George Washington in the French & Indian War on Vimeo

George Washington, by Charles Willson Peale, 1772

© Micheline Walker
July 18, 2022

Vive la République …


, , , , , ,

La Liberté guidant le peuple, Eugène Delacroix, 1830


Mes meilleurs vœux à mes amis et lecteurs de France.

La plupart des ancêtres des Canadiens francophones ont quitté la France pendant le XVIIe siècle, bien avant la Révolution. Toutefois, nous n’avons rien oublié. Ma sœur me dit que la famille de notre grand-mère maternelle remonte à Alix de France, fille du roi Louis VII et d’Aliénor d’Aquitaine. Je n’ai rien vérifié, mais c’est possible. Plusieurs filles du roi ont été recrutées dans des couvents. L’argent de la famille ayant servi à doter une fille aînée ou plus jolie, l’autre, ou les autres, risquai[en]t de passer une vie entière dans un couvent. Mieux valait la Nouvelle-France qu’un “cul de couvent.” Parmi les filles du roi, se trouvaient également des veuves dont on peut soupçonner qu’elles étaient désargentées. Louis XIV les a dotées.

À leur arrivée à Montréal, entre 1663 et 1673, des religieuses de la communauté fondée par Marguerite Bourgeoys ont enseigné aux filles du roi à gérer un ménage. Celles-ci ont ensuite trouvé mari. Certaines ont épousé des soldats démobilisés. Au début de son règne, Louis XIV avait songé non seulement à peupler sa colonie de Nouvelle-France, mais aussi à la protéger. Les soldats du régiment de Carignan-Salières avaient pour mission la défense de colons assaillis par les Iroquois, tribu alliée à l’Angleterre. Il y a lieu de croire que c’est ainsi que les seigneurs ont commencé à assurer la défense de l’actuel Québec, l’une des deux provinces constituant la Nouvelle-France. L’autre, c’était l’Acadie.


—ooo —

My kindest regards to all of you. 💕

La Marseillaise, Rouget de l’Isle et Hector Berlioz
Le Tricolore, drapeau de France

© Micheline Bourbeau-Walker
14 July 2022

Yesterday was my birthday, but


, , , , , , ,

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-12.png
Shinzō Abe (1954 – 2022), prime minister of Japan (2012 – 2020)


Yesterday was my birthday, but something went very wrong.

Shinzō Abe or Abe Shinzō (b. 1954 – 2022), the former Prime Minister of Japan (2012 – 2020), was assassinated. Finding a gun is so difficult in Japan that the assassin used a handgun currently described as handcrafted. No determination can be made until further investigation. The killer shot Shinzō Abe twice from the back. The bullets entered Shinzō Abe’s neck. He was flown to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The assassin is in custody. Tetsuya Yamagami confessed to the killing. The forty-one-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami told the police that he was avenging an offence. Details have not been determined. Tetsuya Yamagami was a former member of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Shinzō Abe lived in a culture where the wearing and use of firearms are all-but-prohibited. Japan is not a gun culture.

L’ex-Premier ministre japonais Shinzo Abe attaqué par arme à feu est décédé: le tireur serait Tetsuya Yamagami – Sudinfo Vidéo

Posts on Japanese woodblock prints (incomplete)


© Micheline Walker
9 July 2022

The Text of the 2nd Amendment …


, , ,

The Text of the 2nd Amendment


How dreadful! On 4 July 2022, innocent Americans were the victims of a gunman whose weapon was purchased legally. I suspect that the gunman was going through a crisis, but he had a gun, and he lives in what could be described as a “gun culture.”

Groups such as the National Rifle Association lobby the government to secure the “right” to buy and carry firearms. Under particular administrations, they succeed. The 2nd Amendment does not justify using a gun because the United States has “[a] well-regulated militia “that ensures the “security of a free state.” Security is the operative word. One may protect oneself, but how and to what extent? Given constant deadly shootings, guns do not save anyone.

“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”   

Should guns be banned in bars and hospitals? Supreme Court decision could spur new 2nd Amendment fight (

I would like to extend my sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the Highland Park shooting.


The Second Amendment to the American Constitution: a Misunderstanding (27 May 2022)


Love to everyone 💕

Claude Debussy‘s Clair de lune par Philippe Cassard

© Micheline Walker
5 July 2022

Canada Day


, , , , , , ,

Pierre Elliott Trudeau by Yousuf Karsh

Les Anciens Canadiens

I have written several posts on Philippe Aubert de Gaspé‘s Les Anciens Canadiens. I used a translation entitled Cameron of Lochiel. Cameron of Lochiel is the title Sir Charles G. D. Roberts gave to his second translation of Aubert de Gaspé‘s Les Anciens Canadiens (Canadians of Old).

Jules d’Haberville, a seigneur‘s son, and Arché, Archibald of Locheill, a Scot, are close friends. Both are studying at the séminaire (college) in Quebec City and Arché spends holidays with the d’Haberville family. When Jules and Arché leave the séminaire, the two friends join the military and are enemies during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Jules is very angry. Arché had to burn down the Seigneur d’Haberville’s Manoir. The two reconcile. Jules will marry an English woman, but Blanche, Jules’s sister, will not marry Arché. These are the two faces of “Canada” after Nouvelle-France‘s defeat. One turns the page, but one remembers. Les Anciens Canadiens is an instance of anamnesis, but it proposes a union between French-speaking Canadiens and English-speaking Canadians.

James Murray in later life (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The former citizens of New France were governed, first, by James Murray and, later, by Sir Guy Carleton, 1st Baron Dorchester. We owe Sir Guy Carleton the Quebec Act Act of 1774, a recognition of French-speaking Canadians. The Quebec Act did not fully cancel the Royal Proclamation of 1763, a recognition of the rights of Canada’s First Nations, but it ended a will to assimilate French-speaking British subjects. Similarly, the Constitutional Act of 1791 did not fully repeal the Quebec Act of 1774. Quebec retained its Seigneurial System, which was not abolished until 1854. Moreover, French-speaking Canadians could still speak French, practice their religion, keep their Code Civil, and run for office. However, the Constitutional Act of 1791 reduced the size of the former Province of Quebec and it separated Canada into Upper Canada and Lower Canada (lower down the St Lawrence River).

I quoted the Preface to Sir Charles G. D. Roberts‘ second translation of Les Anciens Canadiens in my last post, but my quotation disappeared. The image of Cameron of Lochiel (Arché) had been placed at the foot of this post without reference to Cameron of Lochiel.

Cameron of Lochiel, the Gutenberg Project’s [Ebook 53154]
Les Anciens Canadiens,

Sir Charles G. D. Roberts belonged to a group called the Confederation poets. These poets supported Canadian unity which was dealt a blow by Confederation. However, this could not be discussed in 1905, despite Confederation occurring in 1867. At that point, no one knew to what extent Residential Schools would harm Amerindians. Moreover, in 1905, the imbalance between English-speaking Canadians and French-speaking Canadians could not be assessed. But we read, in Charles G. D. Roberts’s Preface, that “there is afforded a series of problems,” which is a signal.

In Canada there is settling into shape a nation of two races; there is springing into existence, at the same time, a literature in two languages. In the matter of strength and stamina there is no overwhelming disparity between the two races. The two languages are admittedly those to which belong the supreme literary achievements of the modern world. In this dual character of the Canadian people and the Canadian literature there is afforded a series of problems which the future will be taxed to solve. To make any intelligent forecast as to the solution is hardly possible without a fair comprehension of the two races as they appear at the point of contact. We, of English speech, turn naturally to French-Canadian literature for knowledge of the French-Canadian people. The romance before us, while intended for those who read to be entertained, and by no means weighted down with didactic purpose, succeeds in throwing, by its faithful depictions of life and sentiment among the early French Canadians, a strong side-light upon the motives and aspirations of the race.

Sir John A. Macdonald and his followers created the “Quebec Question.” The children of immigrants to Canada who settled in provinces outside Quebec attended “uniform” schools. They learned English, and many grew to believe that Canada was an English-language country. Québécois have been addressing this imbalance by passing Language Laws, one of which is Bill 96. Bill 96 threatens what has long been a reality confirmed in the Official Languages Act of 1969. Canada is an officially bilingual and bicultural country.

These laws have been a source of tension between the two “solitudes,” francophones and anglophones. Hugh MacLennan published Two Solitudes (1945), depicting Canada’s profoundly divided anglophones and francophones. This problem was investigated by the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism (1963-1969). However, Language Laws, Bill 96, perpetuate the division between anglophones and francophones. They also project an unfavourable image of Quebec. Moreover, language laws misuse the policy of multiculturalism, first expressed by Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, in 1971. Multiculturalism, or pluralism, is not a cancellation of the Official Languages Act of 1969.

The term multiculturalism is descriptive. It recognizes the presence in Canada of persons originating from many lands, but Canada remains a bilingual and bicultural nation. Multiculturalism cannot be used not to learn at least one of Canada’s official languages. Nor can it be used as a promotion of unilingualism (French or English) on the part of individuals and a government. Moreover, since the passage of the Official Languages Act of 1969, government services should be provided in the two official languages. For instance, a francophone should not be tried in English, nor should an anglophone be tried in French. Finally, Bill 96 cannot compel individuals in Quebec to use French only. If so, it breaches the Official Languages Act of 1969.

Multiculturalism was recognized in Section 27 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982). But, interestingly, New Zealand born and educated Peter Hogg, CC QC FRSC, Canada's foremost authority on Canadian constitutional law,

“observed that this section did not actually contain a right; namely, it did not say that Canadians have a right to multiculturalism. The section was instead meant to guide the interpretation of the Charter to respect Canada's multiculturalism. Hogg also remarked that it was difficult to see how this could have a large impact on the reading of the Charter, and thus section 27 could be more of a rhetorical flourish than an operative provision.’” (section 27 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Wikipedia.)

In a post entitled On Language Laws in Quebec (18 November 2021), I wrote that last November, Air Canada‘s CEO (PDG), Michael Rousseau, who had lived in Quebec since 2007, addressed the Montreal Chamber of Commerce in English. He made Air Canada look like a foreign corporation where business was conducted in the English language. Michael Rousseau’s snafu could be interpreted as a breach of the Official Languages Act, passed in 1969, fifty-three years ago. A friend reminds me that in Canada, French is not a foreign language.


In the 1960s, my father, a favourite guest of talk shows in Vancouver, would be told that the French in North America had lost the Battle of the Plains of Abraham (13 September 1859), which had settled matters once and for all. Such a comment used to sadden me. We are now in the 2020s. It has also saddened me to hear relatives praise a student who attended university in Quebec managing not to learn French. He or she may not have found time to study French and missed an opportunity to do so. Moreover, my career was affected by Quebec’s language laws. I was expected to explain Quebec, which I could not do. Nor could I provide a method of teaching that led to a quick mastery of the French language. 

I do not support Quebec’s language laws. They further separate Canada’s anglophones and francophones and create polarisation. People dig in their heels endangering the French language and Canadian unity.

On 24 June, Québécois celebrated la Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Quebec’s national holiday. The celebration is rooted in la Saint-Jean, a celebration of the summer solstice. Canada day is celebrated on 1 July, today. There have been sinners on both sides of Canada’s linguistic divide, but I am celebrating Canada Day.


Les Anciens Canadiens


Sources and Resources

Love to everyone 💕

À la claire fontaine (By the clear fountain/spring) performed by Vancouver choir musica intima, arrangement by Stephen Smith. My own urban re-interpretation of the traditional French folk song. Director/producer: Nigel Hunt. DOP: Terry Zazulak, Editor: Brian Nemett. Actors: Jerry Prager, Sigrid Johnson. Funding: Bravo! FACT. Video copyright: Garrison Creek Productions, 2000.
Cameron of Lochiel [Ebook 53154]

Micheline Walker
1st July 2022

Language Laws in Quebec: Bill 96


, , , , , , , , ,


Less than two weeks from now, Canadians will celebrate what is viewed as their birthday. In 1867, the Province of Canada, future Quebec and Ontario, and two maritime provinces, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, confederated. This year, Canada’s birthday follows the passage of language laws in Quebec. Bill 96 was voted into law on 24 May 2022 and took effect on 1st June. It has generated controversy, so details cannot be revealed accurately. English-speaking Quebecers will lose “rights.”

In earlier posts, I noted that Canadian Confederation eliminated instruction in the French language in Canadian provinces outside Quebec. One often reads that Confederation ended Catholic public schools, but the French were Catholics. They were the product of French absolutism, a form of centralisation demanding that the French speak one language, practice one religion, and be governed by one king: Louis XIV. After the fall of Nouvelle-France, the French language and devotion had waned in a province that would later be described as “priest-ridden,” but remedies were at hand.

First, the Quebec Act of 1774 restored former Seigneuries, and Catholics had to pay tithe (la dîme) to the clergy, which “habitants” protested. However, the Quebec Act allowed French-speaking Canadians to enter the civil service and run for office without renouncing their faith. Second, England asked the bishopric of Québec to welcome émigrés priests. Fifty-one (51) priests travelled to the former New France (See French immigration in Canada, The Canadian Encyclopedia). I have mentioned l’abbé Sigogne in an earlier post. L’abbé Sigogne was an émigré priest who worked in Acadie, the current Nova Scotia. He was rather harsh on Acadians, his flock, but very loyal to Britain, the country that spared him the guillotine. He spoke English and befriended Thomas Chandler Haliburton. After the French Revolution, Lower Canada also welcomed a few émigrés families and Count Joseph-Geneviève de Puisaye attracted forty people to York, north of the current Toronto, Upper Canada. (See French immigration in Canada, The Canadian Encyclopedia.)[1]

Arrival of the Brides (Filles du roi) A view of women coming to Quebec in 1667, in order to be married to the French-Canadian farmers. Talon and Laval are waiting for the arrival of the women (Watercolour by Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale, 1871-1945.) (Photo credit: The Canadian Encyclopedia)
Séminaire de Nicolet (The Canadian Encyclopedia)

Émigrés priests revitalised waning Catholicism in the former New France and they founded colleges (Séminaires). Many graduates of these colleges became priests. Others usually entered a profession. They were lawyers, notaries, medical doctors, and teachers. The majority of graduates were conservative, but higher learning often leads to liberalism. (See L’Institut Canadien, Britannica.) Liberal-minded graduates of colleges opposed Ultramontanism, but ultramontanism remained the dominant ideology in the province of Quebec until the late 1940s. It ended with the publication of Refus global (1948), a manifesto written by artists, and the Asbestos strike (1949). Refus global and the Asbestos strike were the turning point.

Throughout the 19th century, as industries developed, the Church in Quebec recommended compliance on the part of workers. So, factory workers, including the Irish, lived on a small salary and were not promoted. In the eyes of the clergy, living in poverty could guarantee salvation. Jansenism exerted considerable influence in Quebec. The more one suffered, the better.[2] However, during the Asbestos strike, the archbishop of Montreal, Joseph Charbonneau, sided with the strikers, some of whom were severely beaten. This had not happened before. Monseigneur Charbonneau was “exiled” to Victoria (B. C.), by Quebec Premier Maurice Duplessis. Monseigneur Charbonneau died a year before the beginning of Quebec’s Quiet Revolution, la Révolution tranquille.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to Raymond Tanghe[3], Canadian Prime Minister (1896-1911) Sir Wilfrid Laurier tried to pass a motion favouring a degree of tolerance regarding instruction in the French language. Sir Wilfrid Laurier‘s motion was defeated and Sir Charles Tupper called for an election. Priests told Quebecers not to vote for Liberal candidates (the party). If they did, they would commit a “mortal sin.” Rome ruled in favour of a separation between Catholicism and politics.

Canada was very British. Its national flag, the Canadian Red Ensign, represented Canada as a nation until it was replaced by the maple leaf design in 1965. (See Canadian Red Ensign, Wikipedia.)

The Canadian Red Ensign, the national flag of Canada from 1957 to 1965. (See: the Canadian Red Ensign on the Register of Arms, Flags and Badges)


Let us return to Confederation (1867). To a vast extent, Quebec’s language laws stem from John A. Macdonald’s categorical refusal to allow the creation of “separate” schools, i.e. French-language instruction outside Quebec. However, Quebec had not entered Confederation unreservedly. It was allotted a province where French-speaking Canadians could maintain their language and their faith, which Québécois remember. Moreover, an alliance with Britain could preclude annexation by the United States. Living in the British Empire promised safety and the prospect of election to the Assembly. Confederation would stretch Canada from sea to sea, a lovely vision. Railroads were being constructed.

However, in 1867, when British North America became the Dominion of Canada, several anglophones, many of whom were former citizens of the Thirteen Colonies, still entertained such notions as the Rights of Englishmen.

The Rights of Englishmen is an assumed group of rights that had its roots in the basic rights granted in the Magna Carta. The idea reached its peak during the British settlement of North America. By this time colonial Englishmen felt they were entitled to certain additional rights and liberties.

(See Rights of Englishmen, Wikipedia.)

During the late 18th century and most of the 19th century, the British Empire was at its zenith, which reinforced placing the British in a superior position. The Rights of Englishmen was a concept that could justify seeking independence from Britain, the motherland. The American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) created the independent United States of America, a republic. However, the same motivation, the Rights of Englishmen, could lead the inhabitants of the former Thirteen Colonies to move to a British Colony where they expected to be treated as Englishmen. United Empire Loyalists left the United States to settle in British North America where they were given large lots:

The Crown gave them land grants of one lot. One lot consisted of 200 acres (81 ha) per person to encourage their resettlement, as the Government wanted to develop the frontier of Upper Canada. This resettlement added many English speakers to the Canadian population. It was the beginning of new waves of immigration that established a predominantly English-speaking population in the future Canada both west and east of the modern Quebec border.

(See United Empire Loyalists, Wikipedia.)

The Manitoba Schools Question

As of Canadian Confederation (1867), Quebec would have French-language and Catholic Schools, as well as English-language Protestant schools. But as immigrants settled in other provinces, they had to attend non-confessional English-language schools. Outside Quebec, most French-speaking Canadians were assimilated. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, then prime minister of Canada, oversaw the “addition” (The Canadian Encyclopedia) of Alberta and Saskatchewan to Confederation. The only compromise he could reach was the Greenway-Laurier Compromise (Manitoba), which wasn’t much.

The Laurier-Greenway compromise was a regulation on schools named after Canadian Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier and Manitoba Premier Thomas Greenway. This compromise came after the adoption in 1889 of the notorious Official Language Act, which made English the sole language of Manitoba government records, minutes, and laws. Other laws abolishing French in all legislative and judicial spheres followed, leading to the disappearance of Catholic schools.

(The Greenway-Laurier Compromise, 1896.)

The compromise is described as follows:

The Laurier-Greenway compromise contained a provision (section 2.10) allowing instruction in a language other than English in “bilingual schools,” where 10 or more students in rural zones and 25 or more in urban centres spoke this language.

(The Greenway-Laurier Compromise, 1896.)

Thomas Greenway would be the Premier of Manitoba in 1888, three years after Louis Riel‘s execution on 16 November 1885. Thomas Greenway had been a friend of Sir John A Macdonald in the earlier years of his career. He

is remembered, however, for the elimination of minority educational rights for Roman Catholics; the MANITOBA SCHOOLS QUESTION dominated provincial and federal politics during his years as premier. He remained leader of the provincial Liberals until his election as MP for Lisgar in 1904.

(See Thomas Greenway, The Canadian Encyclopedia.)

The Manitoba Schools Question & the Quebec Question

The MANITOBA SCHOOLS QUESTION migrated to provinces other than Manitoba and it resulted in a mostly unilingual Canada. In fact, the “schools question” became “la question du Québec,” the Quebec question. As I noted above, immigrants to Canada who settled outside Quebec were educated in “uniform” schools, or schools where the language of instruction was English. Therefore, outside Quebec, most Canadians were anglophones. This created a malaise in Quebec and this malaise led to both the Quiet Revolution and the establishment, by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, of a Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism (19 July 1963-1969).

The Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism

The mission entrusted to the royal commission was

to inquire into and report upon the existing state of bilingualism and biculturalism in Canada and to recommend what steps should be taken to develop the Canadian Confederation on the basis of an equal partnership between the two founding races, taking into account the contribution made by the other ethnic groups to the cultural enrichment of Canada and the measures that should be taken to safeguard that contribution.

(See Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, Wikipedia.)

The Commission was co-chaired by André Laurendeau, publisher of Le Devoir, and Davidson Dunton, president of Carleton University. The Commission recognized, officially, that Canada was a bilingual and bicultural country. Canada’s founding nations, other than its First Nations, or Amerindians, were France and Britain. The work of the Commission led to the Official Languages Act of 1969. However, its findings could not justify the creation of French-language schools across Canada. These were created in Acadian communities and in certain districts. During the century separating Confederation (1867) and the Official Languages Act (1969), Canada became a largely English-language country. Yet, in the 1970s, French immersion schools were created, as well as summer immersion programmes. English-speaking Canadians also formed an influential association: Canadian Parents for French.

Bilingualism has its advantages. It can lead to a fine position in the Civil Service, in the Military, in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and elsewhere. I taught French to civil servants. At first, some expressed reticence. French was being “thrown down their throat.” Two weeks later, or by coffee break, these students enjoyed learning French.

History could not be rolled back, but the Official Languages Act of 1969 was a blessing. It recognized that Canada’s founding nations, other than its First Nations, were France and Britain. However, French-speaking Canadians had been recognized earlier. Governor James Murray refused to assimilate Britain’s new subjects and, as noted above, Sir Guy Carleton negotiated the Quebec Act of 1774 which restored the Seigneurial System. Habitants would work for their seigneur and provide tithe (la dîme) to the clergy. The Test Act was no longer required for an applicant to join the Civil Service or to run for office as a member of Parliament. The arrival of the United Empire Loyalists in British North America changed matters. So did Confederation. French-speaking Canadians were a minority and most lived in Quebec.

Quebec’s Language Laws

Five years after the passage of the Official Languages Act of 1969, Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa‘s Liberal Government passed Bill 22. In 1974, Quebec declared itself a unilingual province. In 1977, Quebec passed Bill 101, the Charter of the French language. Bill 101 dictated unilingual posting and the enrolment of immigrants in French-language schools. English-speaking Canadians of British ancestry could be educated in English-language schools. Other English-speaking Canadians could not. (Education is a provincial portfolio.) Bill 22 did not please English-speaking Montrealers, nor did Bill 101. Many anglophones left Montreal and Toronto gained status. Moreover, Quebec’s language laws often affected the life and the career of French-speaking Canadians living outside Quebec. These individuals had to explain Quebec and compensate for language laws. Teachers had to create French-speaking Canadians. Besides, where would immigrants find refuge? Most immigrants are seeking a peaceful environment. During WW II, several French-speaking European royals lived in Quebec.

Bill 22 and Bill 101 created tension, and so did Quebec’s two referendums on sovereignty: the 1980 Referendum (20 May 1980; defeated by a 59.56% margin) and the 1995 Referendum (30 October 1995; defeated by a 50.58% margin). The first referendum took place four years after René Lévesque‘s Parti Québécois was elected (1976). Both referendums proposed sovereignty (independence), but the wording of the 1995 referendum included a reference to a “partnership” with Ottawa:

Do you agree that Québec should become sovereign, after having made a formal offer to Canada for a new economic and political partnership, within the scope of the Bill respecting the future of Québec and of the agreement signed on 12 June 1995?

(See Quebec Referendum (1995), The Canadian Encyclopedia)


I wish Sir John A. Macdonald had not created the “schools” question. Sir Wilfrid Laurier might have been able to support the re-introduction of French as a language of instruction had the French not linked language and faith inextricably. But I doubt that religion played as important a role as the language of instruction:

Despite Macdonald's reluctance, Manitoba entered Canada as a province. English and French-language rights were safeguarded in the new legislature and the courts. Protestant and  Roman Catholic educational rights were protected, but the right to education in either English or French was not.(See Manitoba and Confederation, The Canadian Encyclopedia.) Bold characters are mine.

As you know, I spent forty happy years in English-language provinces and had decided never to return to Quebec because of disputes between anglophones and francophones. I knew I could not survive in such a climate. Truth be told, I am not doing very well.

Canada’s two founding nations were separated for a century to the detriment of French-speaking Canadians and Canadian unity. How would French-speaking Canadians save their language? Quebec passed language laws, and these have generated acrimony. I have heard Canadians express pride because a family member was educated at an English-language Quebec University without learning French. Anglophones can live in Quebec without using French. The Eastern Townships is a bilingual region of Quebec because it was settled by United Empire Loyalists. My grandfather, who was born and raised in the Townships, could not speak a word of French. However, Quebec’s language laws erode what English-speaking Canadians view as their rights. As for Québécois, they monitor the survival of the French language, which they view as their right. They pass abrasive language laws. Quebec is a unilingual province inside a bilingual Canada.

It could be that such a notion as the Rights of Englishmen had survived in the collective memory of Quebecers of British origin. As for French-speaking Canadians, I would not exclude the negative consequences of being “conquered.” They may look upon themselves as a defeated people.

I have a photocopy of Hubert Aquin‘s article entitled L’Art de la défaite, published in Liberté, 1965. Aquin writes that the Rebellion of 1837-1838 is irrefutable proof that French Canadians are capable of anything, including stirring up their own defeat.[4]

La rébellion de 1837-1838 est la preuve irréfutable que les Canadiens français sont capables de tout,voire même de fomenter leur propre défaite.

Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine built a bilingual and bicultural Canada. English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians are compatible and equal. English-speaking Quebecers do not have to learn French. Fortunately, many anglophone Canadians have attended and still attend a private French school or are sent to a French school in Switzerland. Enrolment in a private school can be costly. These individuals have “grace.” I’ve known many and married one.

John Ralston Saul attended an Alliance Française school. He wrote a book on the Great Ministry of Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine. (See John Ralston Saul, Wikipedia.) Many share the view that Canada was born before Canadian Confederation.

He argues that Canada's complex national identity is made up of the "triangular reality" of the three nations that compose it: First Peoples, francophones, and anglophones. He emphasizes the willingness of these Canadian nations to compromise with one another, as opposed to resorting to open confrontations. In the same vein, he criticizes both those in the Quebec separatist Montreal School for emphasizing the conflicts in Canadian history and the Orange Order and the Clear Grits traditionally seeking clear definitions of Canadian-ness and loyalty. (See John Ralston Saul, Wikipedia.)

Isn’t it possible to study French or English at school, as a second language? It is not that old-fashioned an idea. After all, Quebec managed the Pandemic in both French and English.

But I must go … This post is too long.



[1] Micheline Bourbeau-Walker, « Le Récit d’Acadie : présence d’une absence », in Édouard Langille et Glenn Moulaison, éditeurs, Les Abeilles pillotent: mélanges offerts à René LeBlanc, Revue de l’Université Ste-Anne, Pointe-de-l’Église, 1998, pp. 255-275. ISBN 2-9805-909, ISSN 0706-8116

[2] Denis Monière, Le Développement des idéologies au Québec des origines à nos jours, Montréal, Éditions Québec/Amérique, 1977, p. 209.

[3] Raymond Tanghe, Laurier, artisan de l’unité canadienne, MAME, Figures Canadiennes, 1960, pp. 48-49.

[4] Hubert Aquin, « L’Art de la défaite », Liberté, Volume 7, numéro 1-2 (33-38), janvier–avril 1965, p. 33.



Love to everyone 💕

John Ralston Saul

Cameron of Lochiel (Les Anciens Canadiens) [EBook #53154]

© Micheline Walker
21 June 2022
(revised 22 June 2022)