Slavery in New France


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

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

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

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

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

Let us see the numbers.

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

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

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

Bessière also writes that

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

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

  • Mathieu da Costa
  • Olivier le Jeune

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

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

Guillaume Couillard - 03.JPG

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

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

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

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

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

The Seigneurial System

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

Code Noir of 1742, Nantes history museum

Le Code Noir

  • the Panis
  • the Black

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

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

transatlantic slave trade

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

The image above belongs to Britannica.

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

Arthur de Gobineau.jpg

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

Slavery vs Racism

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

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

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

The Disappearance of Indigenous Women

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

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

The Hanging of Angélique

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

See the source image

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Sources and Resources


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

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

[3] Quoted in Slavery in Canada (Wikipedia)

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

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

Dr. Afua Cooper

Afua Cooper (The Canadian Encyclopedia)

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




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


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a man wearing a microphone

Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

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


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

Macdonald, Sir John A.

Sir John A MacDonald (The Canadian Encyclopedia)


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

The Métis provisional government (Wikipedia)

Aboriginals in Canada

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In an earlier article, I quoted the Canadian Encyclopedia:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sources and Resources

The Canadian Encyclopedia

Love to everyone 💕

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


Theresa Tam, Canada’s Top Doctor

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







Racism in Canada: Notes


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

François de Laval - Project Gutenberg eText 17174.jpg

The Bishop of Quebec

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

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

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

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

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

See the source image

Rupert’s Land

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

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

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

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

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

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

Northern Alberta First Nations chief alleges he was beaten by RCMP

The Blacks in Canada

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

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

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


However, I stand by George Floyd. His colour is an accident of birth and his ancestors. The only justice is eradicating racism and the process must start at home and in schools. We must not let children bully others.

Kind regards to everyone. 💕

a man smiling for the camera

© Provided by The Canadian Press

© Micheline Walker
8 June 2020




Chronicling Covid-19 (18), Pause


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Theresa Tam, Promoting Vaccine Confidence.jpg

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

Dr Theresa Tam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Love to everyone 💕

Gabriel Fauré‘s Cantique de Jean Racine
Conductor Paavo Järvi

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

A frame from a witness’ video, showing Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck (Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
6 June 2020

George Floyd: Racism & Covid-19


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

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

Covid Remains

  • Covid-19
  • dividing Americans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All Officers Arrested

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


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

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

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

In Canada,

Love to everyone 💕

Paul Robeson sings Ol’ Man River


Europe a Prophecy (Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
4 June 2020

George Floyd: Corrections


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John Minchillo/AP

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

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

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

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

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

I must have my computer examined. There are hackers.

Love to everyone 💕

Paul Robeson sings Danny Boy


Paul Robeson

© Micheline Walker
2 June 2020

George Floyd: Canada Grieves


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

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

The Right to Life

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

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

a group of people walking down the street

© Provided by The Canadian Press, Montreal


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

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

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

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

The American Elections 

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

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

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

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

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

Love to everyone 💕

Paul Robeson sings Let my People Go

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

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

© Micheline Walker
1 June 2020

Chronicling Covid-19 (17): Agnus Dei


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Agnello di Dio, particolare della Crocefissione di Matthias Grünewald (it.wikipedia)

I have already reported that thousands of young people flouted the rules on Saturday 23 May, in Toronto. It has been suggested that the lockdown had flustered these young people. The lockdown has been difficult for all of us, but despite the gradual relaxation of confinement measures, the coronavirus remains and the young people had to obey regulations. Transmission of the novel coronavirus is rapid and, in too many cases, deadly. I hope the students will now join or cheer the people fighting Covid-19.–letat-durgence-renouvele-jusquau-4-juin

See the source image

Montreal (

The pandemic in Canada is making more victims. Quebec still leads and Premier Legault has asked the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, to deploy the military. It is not altogether normal for the Military to work in long-term care facilities. Their role had to be defined.

Quebec is currently recruiting a large number of orderlies who will receive a decent salary. Their training will be condensed, the need being enormous and urgent. The province is hiring a small army of health care workers.

As you know, their syndicate negotiated for medical doctors, fees up to 2,500$ (1,635.25 Euros) per day, which the government cannot afford. Day-care is also very inexpensive in Quebec, and tuition fees are the lowest in Canada. Combined, such programmes may not be sustainable.

There are Covid-19 cases in the education system. Schools were reopened outside Montreal, but no parent should allow his or her child to attend school. It means hiring help, but help may not be too expensive. There’s no point. One infection multiplies into several infections. Although lockdowns are a form of paralysis, they may be required if citizens do not see that precautions are the freedom they possess. We need certain services and, although the governments are generous, people want to return to work.

Our Prime Minister does not want to offend others, but Canada should not open its border to the United States. Both the United States and Canada need to protect their citizens. A New Brunswick doctor travelled to Quebec and returned to New Brunswick without respecting the 14-day quarantine. He or she had to be suspended. That doctor is a possible and probable source of infection. One does not travel to Quebec, especially Montreal. It’s not safe.

One cannot say that the pandemic has benefits, but Covid-19 has exposed flaws in the system and monsieur Legault spoke to the press in both French and English. Both Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Quebec Premier called in the military. I don’t know how Ontario doctors responded, but, to my knowledge, Quebec could not recruit the medical doctors it needed. I realize that there were risks. Yet, circumstances were and remain dire.

The world is being tested, but if we work together, all will be normal and, perhaps, better than it has been.


The latest numbers of confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 2:35 p.m. ET on May 30, 2020:

There are 90,161 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada.

  • Quebec: 50,651 confirmed (including 4,439 deaths, 16,070 resolved)
  • Ontario: 27,533 confirmed (including 2,247 deaths, 21,353 resolved)
  • Alberta: 6,979 confirmed (including 143 deaths, 6,218 resolved)
  • British Columbia: 2,562 confirmed (including 164 deaths, 2,170 resolved)
  • Nova Scotia: 1,056 confirmed (including 60 deaths, 978 resolved)
  • Saskatchewan: 641 confirmed (including 10 deaths, 570 resolved)
  • Manitoba: 283 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 278 resolved), 11 presumptive
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 261 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 255 resolved)
  • New Brunswick: 128 confirmed (including 120 resolved)
  • Prince Edward Island: 27 confirmed (including 27 resolved)
  • Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)
  • Yukon: 11 confirmed (including 11 resolved)
  • Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)
  • Nunavut: No confirmed cases
  • Total: 90,161 (11 presumptive, 90,150 confirmed including 7,073 deaths, 48,068 resolved)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 30, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Love to everyone💕

Mozart’s Coronation Mass

© Micheline Walker
30 May 2020





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Empezamos por la aria “Caro nome” (Querido nombre), de la ópera de Giuseppe Verdi Rigoletto (1851). Por esta aria siento especial predilección y la incorporé a la ‘banda sonora’ de mi novela El corto tiempo de las cerezas, pues la hija del protagonista, Camila, es soprano. Quien la interpreta en este primer vídeo es la soprano estadounidense Nadine Sierra en un concierto celebrado en el marco del NDR Klassik Open Air, festival que se celebra todos los años en el Maschpark de Hannover (edición de 2017). Dirige la NDR Radiophilharmonie la canadiense Keri-Lynn Wilson.

(…) Únicamente aquellas sopranos con un gran dominio de la coloratura pueden con él. Kathleen Battle, soprano estadounidense nacida en 1948 –cuyo repertorio abarca melodías francesas, lieder alemanes, música sacra, jazz y espirituales–, es una de ellas. Su interpretación del mismo durante el Concierto de Año Nuevo de Viena, que dirigió Herbert von Karajan en 1987, es realmente espléndida.

via Coloratura

This post is Manuel Cerdá’s, A mi manera. I wanted to share it with you. A soprano coloratura is a rare gift to the world as is the basso profundo. I thank our colleague for this beautiful post.

Covid-19 (16): The Freedom we have …


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Dr Li Wenliang (Photo Credit: The Standard, UK)

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: A statement released by the City late Saturday night says thousands of people packed Trinity Bellwoods Park on one of the first warm days of the year, flouting physical distancing regulations.

© Dr. Eileen de Villa / Twitter A statement released by the City late Saturday night says thousands of people packed Trinity Bellwoods Park on one of the first warm days of the year, flouting physical distancing regulations.

Looking at the photograph above, I cannot help remember earlier posts. You  may recall that once the lockdown was being lifted, Quebec Premier François Legault urged Montrealers returning to the workplace to wear a face mask. The province was about to reopen, but the virus had not gone away. A lady, a journalist I suspect, stated that the Premier, monsieur Legault, was walking a fine line. He wasn’t. I believe the lady was referring to Quebec’s Bill 21, which imposes complete secularization. But the wearing of a mask is a health measure.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford listens to speakers at the opening of a new Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto on Monday, May 25, 2020.

© THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn Ontario Premier Doug Ford listens to speakers at the opening of a new Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto on Monday, May 25, 2020.


  • an anecdote
  • flouting rules
  • Trinity Bellwoods Park

I once told my students that they had kept me awake most of the night and that they should know better. It was frosh (first year students) week. Someone objected that students were adults and that consequently they were free.

Free, I exclaimed? First, I said that since they were adults and therefore free, I would no longer telephone campus security, but the RCMP (the Royal Canadian Mounted Police). Second, I explained to them that one’s freedom ended where the freedom of others began and that this they had to remember for the rest of their life.

On 23 May, thousands of sun worshippers gathered in Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park defying all regulations. They did not stand at a distance from one another and they did not wear a mask, which is now recommended by Canada’s top doctor. Premier Doug Ford had to extend the state of emergency.

We were unprepared, but they knew…

When outbreaks of Covid-19 reached Canada, we were not prepared. But last Saturday, if a person did not know about aggressivity and transmissibility of novel coronavirus, that person had spent the entire lockdown in a coma. Therefore, it would be my opinion that these  young people were engaging in reckless endangerment of human life, no less. There was a flare-up, une flambée, which forced Premier Ford to extend the state of emergency.

Canadians have received a great deal of information regarding Covid-19. At no point, did anyone say that the pandemic was over. On the contrary, Premiers and top doctors stated, in both English and French, that Covid-19 was here to stay and recommended the wearing a mask after the lockdown. It may be that Covid-19 will never go away completely. In Montreal, the situation is still critical, but I have not heard of violations of regulations. People wear their mask. In fact, persons using public transportation will be given a face mask and subways will not be crowded. It must end.

The Freedom we have …

It would be useful for people to look upon social distancing and the wearing of a mask as the freedom we have. The virus may linger, but if precautions are taken, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, doctors, opthalmologists, dentists, taxi drivers, etc. will be available. We need services. During the lockdown, nearly all services were closed. As well, thousands of people are now tested everyday.

The Armed Forces

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces were not doing what they do normally. But we could not have managed without them. They worked relentlessly in long-term care facilities, cleaning and sanitizing these facilities, and helping feed patients. Premier Legault will ask that they remain until September while CHSLDs are refurbished and air-conditioned. This is work that cannot be postponed. The province is also hiring healthcare givers for these nursing homes. The Armed Forces have now been called in Ontario where long-term care facilities are built like Quebec’s and are understaffed.

To my knowledge, no one in my building has been infected.

Would that Dr. Li Wenliang had been heard. Instead, he was silenced, reprimanded, infected and died.


There are 87,481 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada.

  • Quebec: 49,139 confirmed (including 4,228 deaths, 15,319 resolved)
  • Ontario: 26,483 confirmed (including 2,155 deaths, 20,372 resolved)
  • Alberta: 6,901 confirmed (including 139 deaths, 6,048 resolved)
  • British Columbia: 2,541 confirmed (including 161 deaths, 2,122 resolved)
  • Nova Scotia: 1,053 confirmed (including 59 deaths, 975 resolved)
  • Saskatchewan: 634 confirmed (including 8 deaths, 549 resolved)
  • Manitoba: 281 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 269 resolved), 11 presumptive
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 260 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 255 resolved)
  • New Brunswick: 122 confirmed (including 120 resolved)
  • Prince Edward Island: 27 confirmed (including 27 resolved)
  • Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)
  • Yukon: 11 confirmed (including 11 resolved)
  • Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)
  • Nunavut: No confirmed cases
  • Total: 87,481 (11 presumptive, 87,470 confirmed including 6,760 deaths, 46,085 resolved)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 27, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Love to everyone 💕


Frederica von Stade: Trois airs français

Three airs français arranged by the Norwegian musicologist Arne Dørumsgaard. From a recital in Edinburgh, 1976, with Martin Isepp, piano.


The Good Samaritan by Rembrandt (

© Micheline Walker
28 May 2020