Yesterday I discarded an article that posted itself without my consent. I am still rather sick. Most anti-Covid vaccines are safe, but my second anti-Covid vaccine triggered Acute Pericarditis. Recovery is prolonged. This is the 10th month.
The post I discarded is a continuation of Le Patriote. It was rather long, but it will be shorter. I will attempt to post it again later today.
This Summer, heat, dryness and floods have been frightening. Until now, my area of Quebec has not suffered, but I doubt that this will last. In Quebec, summers may be merciless, but we have been spared this Summer. O doubt that this cannot continue. The entire planet is suffering: extreme heat, floods, and dryness. It is frightening, but some politicians will not invest in remedial measures.
However, Quebec has its language laws, to which we return.
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 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 currentlingua franca, the language of success.
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.
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.
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)
Michel Ducharme’s Closing the Last Chapter of the Atlantic Revolution: The 1837-38 Rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada is also an internet publication, but I may not use it without the author’s permission. It can be found under the Rebellions of 1837-1838.
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)
Missionnaries in New France: conversions & acculturation
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.)