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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
The former citizens of New France were governed, first, by James Murray and, later, by Sir Guy Carleton, 1stBaron 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.
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.