Canadians have honoured Sir John A MacDonald for a very long time. However, statues of John A. MacDonald are being put in storage and one, perhaps more, has been vandalized. He was a father of Confederation, if not the Father of Confederation. So, what happened?
First, as we have seen in earlier posts, when Canada grew westward, the White population settled on land they had appropriated from Amerindians on the basis of “conquest,” a disgraceful leftover from the “age of discovery.” Moreover, as we have also seen in earlier posts, Rupert’s Land, which Canada bought from the Hudson’s Bay Company, did not include settled land, such as the Red River Settlement, bought by the Earl of Selkirk, and lands inhabited by Amerindians.
As for Quebec, it seems it was drawn into a Confederation that also excluded it. John A. Macdonald was an Orangeman, a fraternity that was inimical to Catholics and the French. The people of Quebec could not be educated in French outside Quebec. Waves of immigrants arrived who would live in provinces other than Quebec and be educated in English. We have already discussed the school question.
However, recognition occurred 102 years after Confederation (1867) when English had become the language spoken outside Quebec. The French had been in North America since 1534.
In short, what of such concepts as nationhood and the rights afforded conquerors and, first and foremost, what of Canada’s Confederation? If Confederation demanded that the children of Francophones be educated in English, outside Quebec, their children were likely to be Anglophones. So, what of Quebec nationalism. Separatism is usually associated with Quebecers, but it isn’t altogether québécois. Not if the children of French Canadians had to be educated in English outside Quebec and not if immigrants to Canada were sent to English-speaking communities.
Sir George-Étienne Cartier was pleased that Quebec would remain Quebec. The population of Quebec would retain its “code civil,” its language, its religion, and its culture while belonging to a strong partnership. He may have been afraid.
Whether or not Justin Trudeau is elected Prime Minister of Canada, he has turned a page in the history of Canada. Throughout his campaign, Trudeau has focused on one issue: prosperity for Canadians, which is the real issue at the moment.
The Globe and Mail, Canada’s leading English language newspaper, reports that, if the Liberals are elected into office under the leadership of Justin Trudeau, Canada’s government will be more “interventionist” than prior governments. This is what circumstances are calling for.
Trudeau’s Liberals have identified the main issue. Too many children live in poverty, which is unacceptable. As a responsible leader, Trudeau will address this problem immediately. The cost of living is so high that it is taking away from the children of the nation nutritious food, a good roof, the means to purchase sport equipment, musical instruments, art supplies, and the funds to receive a proper education or job training. The cost of living should not be so high that a society finds itself compelled to take away from children the joy of childhood, a degree of that marvelous insouciance a child requires.
Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau has the figures for each city in Canada. He knows the number of children whose well-being is threatened at this very moment and he will help families now. If the government of Canada does not reach out to the people promptly, Canada will lose a generation.
Justin Trudeau has travelled the country and sent a clear message, a message so clear that Canadian political leaders have heard. One does not wait until the poor storm the barricades to reach out to those in need. One acts and one acts now.
It is in this regard that Mr. Trudeau has turned a page in the history of Canada whether or not he is elected to the office of Prime Minister of Canada. Or could it be that he is taking us back to golden years? When Lester B. Pearson was Prime Minister of Canada, he asked Allan J. MacEachen (b. 1921), the former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, to build social programs that would protect Canadians: health care, unemployment benefits, disability benefits, old age security and other programs. Mr. MacEachen devoted his entire life to the people of Canada, however humble, the humblest. At the moment, these programs need better funding. I believe Trudeau will be a people’s Prime Minister, that he will ensure the safety of all Canadians.
Wealth in Canada
Trudeau and other political leaders know that Canada has an enormous potential for growth. Therefore we plan and then we pounce. There is immense wealth in Canada.
I’ve just looked out my window. Snow is falling very gently, which brings to mind Voltaire‘s famous statement. New France was “a few acres of snow.” As I have written in a previous post, if one knows that Voltaire spoke “obliquely” in order to avoid being thrown in the Bastille, his statement could be an indictment of Louis XV. In other words, that statement could read that France was neglecting New France as though it were a mere “few acres of snow.”
At any rate, there is wealth beneath that snow, including oil. In fact, there could be diamonds. Quebec Premier Dr. Philippe Couillard is having a road built leading to the bountiful north. We must be realistic and not bank on what could be an insufficient quantity of diamonds, but let us look back at Canada’s legendary tireless voyageurs, who sang as they rowed.
There are other sources of wealth. For instance, we could build rapid-transit systems. Canada is a large country, but we have groups of cities and some cities extend over a large territory. Building a train ensured that Canada went from east to west, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. Why not make it possible for students to go from Maple Ridge, British Columbia to the main campus, the very heart, of the University ofBritish Columbia?
I cannot say this often enough. Human beings build the road to the future. It doesn’t just happen.
The Supreme Court of Canada (La Cour suprême du Canada) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There was a particularly interesting moment in the campaign. Mr Mulcair introduced the subject of Canadian unity. Quebec has a secessionist party and the results of the last referendum, held in 1995, showed that Quebec was divided in two almost equal halves: 50.58% to 49.42%. (See Clarity Act, Wikipedia.)
That also sent a strong message, so strong that Ottawa had to be interventionist. It passed the Clarity Act of 15 March 2000. One vote cannot divide this country. If one vote could break this country, federalism would be brittle.
I missed some of that debate to a cluster migraine, but Mr Mulcair wanted a number, Mr Trudeau’s number. Mr Trudeau stopped and then stated unambiguously that his number was 9. Nine judges of the Supreme Court of Canada, i.e. all judges, ruled that one vote cannot divide this country.
United States President Bill Clinton was in attendance at the meeting that preceded the enactment of Bill C-20 (the Clarity Act), the Reference Re Secession of Quebec (Wikipedia). President Clinton stated the following (fourth line, “when…”):
But the Clarity Act would get a big boost during the closing speech by United States President Bill Clinton. While looking directly at Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard, who was present in the audience, Clinton appeared to echo the Supreme Court Reference, warning that “when a people thinks it should be independent in order to have a meaningful political existence, serious questions should be asked…. Are minority rights as well as majority rights respected? How are we going to co-operate with our neighbours?”. Clinton argued that federalism allows peoples seeking recognition of their identity a way to do so without isolating themselves in a nation-state. The speech would lay to rest any doubts about the U.S. position on the legality and desirability of unilateral secession in Quebec. (See Clarity Act, Wikipedia)
Which takes us back to Mr. Trudeau’s platform. His priority is the economic well-being of Canadians, from coast to coast including Nunavut and the territories. (See Voter Information, Wikipedia.)
Henri Fantin-Latour (14 January 1836 – 25 August 1904) was born in Grenoble (Isère). He studied at l’École de Dessin (from 1850) under Lecoq de Boisbaudran and at l’École des Beaux-Arts, in Paris, beginning in 1854. As did many students registered at l’École des Beaux-Arts, he copied the masters in the Louvre.
Fantin-Latour befriended many artists, some of whom became prominent Impressionists or transitional figures, such as Édouard Manet. For his part, Fantin-Latour chose to paint in a more conservative and crisper manner and worked with Gustave Courbet. But Fantin-Latour also met American-born British artist James MacNeill Whistler who very much admired Fantin-Latour still-lifes and introduced Fantin-Latour to a British public. Fantin-Latour was so successful in Britain that he became better known in England than in France.
Fantin-Latour married Victoria Dubourg, an artist, and spent his summers at her family’s country estate near Orne, Normandy. So, by and large, he lived a very stable life which is reflected in his art. He never reached stardom, but his art has endured and will no doubt continue to endure.
In 1875, aged 68, Fantin-Latour died of lyme disease, a tick-borne disease that was almost impossible to treat before antibiotics became available.
Yesterday’s Blog: Tough Leadership
Yesterday’s blog depicted what I would call “tough leadership.” The October Crisisof 1970 was a major event in Canadian history. Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau implemented the War Measures Act which had never been done in peacetime. His “Just watch me” has remained as famous as his “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation,” a statement he made at the time the Omnibus Bill (Bill C-150) or the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69, designed when Pierre Trudeau was Minister of Justice and the Right Honourable Lester B. Pearson (23 April 1897 – 27 December 1972), Canada’s Prime Minister and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate for his role in defusing the Suez Crisis.