Yesterday was my birthday, but


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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 …


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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


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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


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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)

From the Rurik Dynasty to the first Romanov


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Viktor VasnetsovThe Invitation of the VarangiansRurik and his brothers arrive in Staraya Ladoga.


A Timeline 

From Prince Rurik (862) to Michael of Russia, the first Tsar (1613)

1547-1721, the Tsardom of Russia

1721-1917, the Russian Empire 

False Dmitry’s Agents Murdering Feodor Godunov and his Mother, by Konstantin Makovsky (1862), Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow


The Last Rurikid Princes (by date)

Love to everyone 💕

Sergei Prokofiev’s Chanson Alexander Nevsky, Op. 78: V. The Battle on Ice
Portrait of Ivan IV by Viktor Vasnetsov, 1897 (Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow)

© Micheline Walker
29 May 2022

Uvalde: Analysis Paralysis


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© CECILE CLOCHERET/afp via getty images
Devant le bâtiment de la convention, des partisans [proponents] du port d’arme et des opposants [opponents] se livrent à une bataille médiatique [engage in a media battle]. This is the front of the building where the NRA is holding its convention. One can read “Acres of Guns & Gear”.

I sent this post to thrash after hearing that Uvalde police officers stood in the hallway outside the murder scene, as children dialled 9-1-1 begging for help. My story had changed. The officers now say that they made the “wrong decision.” Not quite! They were facing a gunman and could not make a decision. It was a case of analysis paralysis. Uvalde tells, in horrid terms, the story of police officers shooting unnecessarily or not shooting because they suspect or know the person they are attacking is armed.

Outside the building where the NRA (National Rifle Association) convention is taking place, one can read in large letters “acres of guns & gear.” Given that a teacher and 18 young students were killed by gunshot, that sign is offensive. Moreover, the gunman was eighteen years old and may have been mentally unfit when he shot his victims. Why are eighteen-year-olds sold a weapon?

Former President Donald Trump told members of the National Rifle Association to “arm law-abiding citizens” in response to “evil.” Given that the gunman took the life of 18 children and their teacher, and coming from the mouth of a former president of the United States, that statement is inappropriate.

There are many conclusions to be drawn from this latest American tragedy, but two will suffice. Ban the wearing of firearms and enable police officers (the “militia”) to act when they must. In Uvalde, 19 children and 2 adults died who might have been saved.



Love to everyone 💕

Brahms‘s Lullaby
Rodin‘s The Thinker (Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
28 May 2022

The Second Amendment to the American Constitution: a Misunderstanding


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Guernica by Pablo Picasso (Image credit: RMN-Grand Palais, Musée national Picasso-Paris/Mathieu Rabeau) and the BBC


The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows:

“A well regulated [sic] militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

The United States has a well-regulated militia, so “the security of a free state” is not endangered, except by those who misread the Second Amendment. If the goal of the Second Amendment is to promote the “security of a free state,” it forbids the wearing of deadly weapons.

In short, the insufficiently-controlled use of firearms has just led to the death of nineteen (19) innocent children and two (2) teachers. So, the American National Rifle Association could be described as a parallel government. The bearing of arms currently threatens the security a “free state” should promote. Proponents of the bearing of arms have become advocates of social disorder and great sorrow.

My love and sincere condolences to all who have lost a child or a dear one at Uvalde, Texas.


Love to everyone 💕

Guernica: What inspired Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece? BBC News
Picasso in 1905 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
27 May 2022

The Rurikid Princes & the Tsardom of Russia


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Ivan the Terrible meditating at the deathbed of his son by Vyacheslav Schwarz (1861)




Ukraine: the Pereiaslav Agreement (1654)

Let us step back a little. What happened to Kievan Rus’? It fragmented into principalities before it fell to the Mongols (See Mongol invasion, Wikipedia). Later, it was ruled by the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1648, Bodhan Khmelnytsky (c 1595-1657), Hetman of the Zaporozhian Host, Ukraine, led a successful insurgency that freed the Zaporozhian Host from the suzerainty of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. However, in 1654, Bodhan Khmelnytsky allied the independent Ukraine Zaporozhian Host with the Tsardom of Russia, which would benefit Muscovy. Under the last Rurikid Princes, the prospect of a Tsardom of all Russias dwarfed regionalism and such covenants as the Pereiaslav Agreement. In short, Alexander Nevsky‘s bequest to his son Daniel was not modest. Britannica dates the fall of Kievan Rus’ to the Mongol conquest, despite its brief rise as an independent Ukraine Cossack state and the Pereiaslav Agreement.

The title of grand prince of Kiev lost its importance, and the 13th-century Mongol conquest decisively ended Kiev’s power.

(See Kievan Rus’, Britannica.)

The Last Rurikid Princes

Ivan IV, the Terrible, was a self-declared Tsar of all Russias. A “Chosen Council” validated his claim to the tsardom. However, by killing his son in a fit of rage, he ended the Rurik Dynasty. His predecessors initiated:

  • the centralisation of Russia
  • its independence from Mongol suzerains, and
  • Rus’ independence from Roman Christianity

To a large extent, all of the above occurred under the rule of Ivan III, the Great, the son of Vasily II. Ivan the Great married a Byzantine Princess, Sophia, the former Zoë. It was a second marriage, and Sophia was a Catholic. This marriage did not prevent the growth of an Eastern Orthodox Tsardom. Ivan III took back land that had been part of Kievan Rus’, but he failed to reconquer Ukraine. Ivan the Great had two sons: Dmitry, by a first marriage, and Vasily, Sophia’s son. Dmitry was crowned, but Ivan III changed his mind. Vasily II, born to Sophia Palaiologina, would succeed him. Dmitry and his mother were jailed for life.

Vassals of the Golden Horde

Before ascending the throne of a principality, a prince needed a patent from the Khan of the Golden Horde. Dmitry (II) Donskoy won the Battle of Kulikovo (1380), which brought him stature. A century later, in 1480, Ivan III ended the Mongol suzerainty. (See The Great Stand on the Ugra River, Wikipedia.) We know from earlier posts that certain khanates remained: the Crimean Khanate, 1441-1783, and the Kazakh Khanate, 1465-1847 are the best examples, but these khanates did not date to the Mongol Invasion of Kievan Rus’. (See Mongol Invasion of Kievan Rus’ 1237-1242, Wikipedia.) Further annexations would occur, but as of Ivan III, the princes of Rus’ had ceased to be vassals of Mongol khans.

The Centralisation of Russia 

As the Duchy of Moscow grew into the Tsardom of Russia, the competition for the principality of Muscovy was fierce: uncles, brothers and impostors could contest the legitimacy of a claim, fiefs, or fiefdoms. The sorry fate of Vasili II (1415-1462), Ivan III’s father, is a testimonial to fratricidal conflicts. Vasily II’s uncle Yury (1434) and his cousins Vasily the Squint-Eyed and Dmitry Shemyaka (1446–47) laid claim to the throne. Vasily II was arrested and blinded by his cousin Dmitry Shemiyaka (1446). This was extreme cruelty. Despite blindness, Vasily II regained his rightful bequest, and his son, future Ivan III, provided the help blind Vasily II needed.

His son, Vasily III, annexed Pskov in 1510, the appanage of Volokolamsk in 1513, the principalities of Ryazan in 1521, and Novgorod-Seversky in 1522. He also took Smolensk away from Poland. (See Siege of Smolensk, Wikipedia.)

Territorial development between 1300 and 1547
(Grand Duchy of Moscow, Wikipedia)
The Turco-Mongol residual states and domains by the 15th century (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tsar Ivan IV admires his sixth wife, Vasilisa Melentyeva, by Grigory Sedov, 1875. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Fall of the Rurikid Dynasty

As the legend goes, Varangian Viking Prince Rurik was invited to rule an East Slavic territory, where he founded Kievan Rus’. Prince Oleg would rule Novgorod, and Kyiv would be the capital. Several princes of the Rurik dynasty conquered and annexed Rus’ land’s territory. However, the principal architect of a centralised Rus’ was Ivan IV, a self-declared Tsar of all Rus’, recognized by a “Chosen Council.” (See Ivan IV, Britannica and Ivan the Terrible, Wikipedia). However, Ivan IV killed Ivanovich, his son and heir, and a Rurikid prince. Besides, Ivan Ivanovich’s mother was a Romanov, Anastasia Romanovna. Feodor I, Ivan IV’s second son with Anastasia Romanovna, would reign. Still, he was “sickly and weak.” (See Feodor I, Tsar of Russia, Wikipedia.)

Ivan IV, or the Terrible, had a third presumptive heir, his son Dmitry, born to a sixth wife. Maria Nagaya was the sixth wife. (See Ivan the Terrible, Wikipedia.) Had the Eastern Orthodox Church and the people of Rus’ recognized Dmitry Ivanovich as the legitimate heir to the Tsardom of Russia, the Rurikid Dynasty may have survived. The Eastern Church did not recognize sons and daughters born to a third or later wife. It violated its canonical laws. (See Canon Law of the Eastern Orthodox Church and Dmitry of Uglich, Wikipedia.)


Ivan IV killed his son Ivan Ivanovich in a fit of anger. He was a Rurikid, and Boris Godunov (1557-1605) had witnessed the homicide of Tsarevich Ivan Ivanovich and Ivan IV’s profound grief. Ivan had a second son by Anastasia Romanova. Feodor was a prince of the Rurik Dynasty, but, as we have noted, Feodor was frail. Ivan IV appointed a regency council led by Boris Godunov, the witness. A third son Dmitry (1582-1591), born to Maria Nagaya, was sent to his appanage, Uglich, where he died mysteriously at 8 years old. Dmitry may have suffered an epileptic crisis. (See Dmitry of Uglich, Wikipedia.) However, one suspects that Boris Godunov had Dmitry killed so he could reign as Tsar. Dmitry was impersonated. A False Dmitry I reigned briefly. Maria Nagaya had “recognized” him for personal gains. She renounced him. Had the genuine Dmitry ascended the throne, he would have been a prince of the Rurik dynasty, but young Dmitri was sent to Uglich. This is how Boris Godunov cleared his way to the throne, ending the Rurikid dynasty. Boris Godunov was of East Slavic and Tatar descent.

Tsarevich Dmitry, by Mikhail Nesterov,
Boris Godunov Overseeing the Studies of his Son, painting by N. Nekrasov (19th century) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Boris Godunov is a legendary figure. He was portrayed in Aleksandr Pushkin‘s play Boris Godunov and in an opera by Modest Mussorgsky, also entitled Boris Godunov.

I have not discussed Ivan IV’s oprichnina, a police force that could act with impunity. Nor have I mentioned the Massacre of Novgorod. One pillaged mercilessly. But we have seen that one blinded opponents and killed the rightful heir to the throne in the quest for power. Moreover, we have travelled lightly. There were Tsaritas and interregnums. Ivan IV had two more heirs, but the death of Ivan Ivanovich doomed the Rurik dynasty. Fear of opponents led Ivan IV to surround himself with a force that eliminated accountability. Ivan the Terrible’s oprichnina was a deadly force. They terrorized Rus’. Oprichniki could rape, torture, and kill in the name of power. Another Rurik prince could not ascend the throne.

The entire episode of the oprichnina leaves a bloody imprint on Ivan’s reign, causing some doubts about his mental stability and leaving historians with the impression of a morbidly suspicious and vindictive ruler.

(See Ivan IV, Britannica)

We have another list, and more must be said about Ivan IV. This post will be continued.


Daniel of Moscow‘s Descendants: Rurikid Princes


Love to everyone 💕

Boris Godunov – Coronation scene (Bryn Terfel; The Royal Opera)
Portrait of Ivan IV, by Viktor Vasnetsov, 1897 (Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow)

© Micheline Walker
22 May 2022

The Decline of Kievan Rus’


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Novgorod marketplace by Apollinary Vasnetkov

A Timeline

I have improved the timeline in Ukraine’s Varangian Princes, its Primary Chronicle, and the Russkaya Pravda (23 April 2022). It complements earlier posts on the history of Ukraine and indicates that the Tsardom of Russia ended in 1721 when Peter the Great became an emperor. Nicholas II, the last Tsar, was the Emperor of Russia until 1917 or the Russian Revolution.

The Dissolution of the Grand Duchy of Kiev

This post shows how the Grand Duchy of Kyiv dissolved before the Mongol Invasion. Novgorod became independent of princely rulers. Kyiv was absorbed by Vladimir-Suzdal, which in turn was absorbed by the Duchy of Moscow, but dukes and princes were Rurikid princes for several generations, including Ivan the Terrible


First, Kievan Rus’ lost Novgorod, which Prince Oleg had ruled.

When Kiev declined, Novgorod soon (1136) declared its independence from princely power, and, although it accepted princely protectors from various neighbouring dynasties, it remained a sovereign city until conquered by Muscovy (Moscow).

(See Novgorod, Britannica)
Territorial development between 1300 and 1547, Grand Duchy of Moscow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Theotokos of Vladimir (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)
Saint Alexander Nevsky (1221-1263), (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Rise of the Duchy of Vladimir-Suzdal

Second, the Duchy of Vladimir-Suzdal, one of the duchies that succeeded Kievan Rus’ in the late 12th century, gained prominence. In 1169, a few years after losing Novgorod, Kyiv was pillaged by Andrey Bogolyubsky, the Grand Prince of Vladimir-Suzdal, from 1157 until he died in 1174. Prince Andrey’s father, Yuri I Vladimirovich (Yury Dolgorukliy), led his son on a conquest of Kyiv. This conquest was bloody, but under Andrey Bogolyubsky, Vladimir-Suzdal became the new capital of the Rus’. Moreover, Alexander Nevsky (1221 – 1263), Prince of Novgorod, Grand Prince of Kyiv (1236 – 52), and Grand Prince of Vladimir-Suzdal (1252 – 63) defeated the Swedes on 15 July 1240 at the Battle of the Neva, protecting Novgorod from a full-scale invasion from the West. This victory earned Alexander a sobriquet, Nevsky from Neva. On 5 April 1242, his Rus’ army defeated German knights and the Estonian infantry at the Battle on the Ice. His envoys also signed a treaty between Russia and Norway in 1251. It prevented the Swedes from blocking the Baltic Sea, which hindered the movement of Rus’ people’s principalities.

He preserved Russian statehood and Russian Orthodoxy, agreeing to pay tribute to the powerful Golden HordeMetropolite Macarius canonized Alexander Nevsky as a saint of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1547.

(See Alexander Nevsky, Wikipedia.)

He also obtained an exemption for Russian from a draft of men for a planned invasion of Iran.

(See Saint Alexander Nevsky, Britannica.) [1] [2]

Moreover, Vladimir welcomed the Theotokos of Vladimir, the Virgin of Vladimir, an icon created in Constantinople and sent to Kyiv as a gift before being transferred to the Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir.

Vladimir-Suzdal is traditionally perceived as a cradle of the Great Russian language and nationality, and it gradually evolved into the Grand Duchy of Moscow.

(See Duchy of Vladimir-Suzdal, Wikipedia.)

Daniel of Moscow

Third, Alexander Nevsky’s youngest son, Daniel of Moscow (1261 – 1303), born in the Duchy of Vladimir-Suzdal, inherited the least of his father’s patrimony, Moscow. Ironically, Moscow developed into the Grand Duchy of Moscow. The Duchy of Moscow grew by conquering or annexing neighbouring principalities. In other words, Vladimir “gradually evolved into the Grand Duchy of Moscow.” Daniel of Moscow’s successors were Rurikid Princes, including Ivan the Terrible.

Time had elapsed since Vladimir the Great, Prince of Novgorod, Grand Prince of Kyiv, and the ruler of Kievan Rus’ from 980 to 1015, converted to Christianity (988) and imposed Christianity on the entire population of Kievan Rus’. Still, Vladimir the Great ascended the throne after a fratricidal war of succession. His father, Sviatoslav I of Kyiv, did not leave clear instructions about his line of succession. Vladimir’s brother, Yaropolk, murdered his other brother, Oleg of Drelinia, and conquered Rus’. Vladimir fled to Scandanavia and returned with an army of Varangian Vikings. He reconquered Rus’ and was Prince of Kievan Rus’.

Ögedei Khan‘s Invasion of Europe (see the Crimean Khanate)


Kyiv declined before the Mongol Invasion. It fragmented. It would enjoy a modest degree of independence as a Ukrainian Cossack state, but Ivan Mazepa and Charles XII of Sweden lost the battle of Poltava, in 1709.

In 1238, Kievan Rus’ was sacked by Mongol invaders. Batu Khan founded the Golden Horde, later consisting of Tatars and Turkic people. Ögedei Khan, the third son of Genghis Khan, succeeded Batu Khan. Ögedei ruled briefly. He died in 1241, ending the Mongol invasion of Russia. (See Mongol Invasion and List of conflicts in Europe, Wikipedia). However, Rus’ were vassals of the Golden Horde and Ösbeg Khan, or Ös Beg, adopted Islam. Laws would no longer reflect the Norse jurisprudence of the Russkaya Pravda.

The Golden Horde would remain active until 1480 – 82, when it was defeated at the Great Stand on the Ugra River. The Crimean Khanate and the Kazakh Khanate, the “last remnants of the Golden Horde,” survived until 1783 and 1847. (See Golden Horde, Wikipedia.) In 1354, Rome north, Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire. After their victory, the Ottomans conquered countries neighbouring present-day Russia. When the Byzantine Empire fell to the Ottoman Empire, Greek scholars fled to Italy carrying books and initiated the Renaissance. But artists, who produced icons, headed to Muscovy. Icons would henceforth be created in Muscovy.

Kyiv would enjoy a degree of independence as a Ukrainian Cossack state, but Ivan Mazepa and Charles XII of Sweden lost the battle of Poltava in 1709. But despite the Ukrainian diaspora, Ukraine remained, and it is currently defending the territorial integrity it gained in 1991 when the USSR collapsed.

Map of Ukrainian Diaspora in the world (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)


[1] Hellie, Richard. “Saint Alexander Nevsky”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 10 Nov. 2021, Accessed 11 May 2022.

[2] According to the Encyclopedia Britannatica, [t]here is no book-length study of Nevsky in English. Information may be found in A. E. Presniakov, The Formation of the Great Russian State: A Study of Russian History in the Thirteenth to Fifteenth Centuries (1970; Orig. pub. in Russian, 1918); and George Vernadsky, A History of Russia, vol. 3, The Mongols and Russia (1953).

Sergei Prokofiev, Dance of the Knights
The Moscow Kremlin under Prince Ivan Kalita (early XIV century) by Apollinary Vasnetsov

© Micheline Walker
11 May 2022