I have not published a post for several days. I was diagnosed with pericarditis earlier in the month of October and got better after taking anti-inflammatory medication. However, the diagnostic was not entirely correct. The pain came back. I therefore returned to the Emergency Room. The muscles of my rib cage and part of my left arm are inflamed. I can barely use my left arm. Doctors performed an electrocardiogram today. My heart is fine, but the inflammation is very real.
Confederation played itself out around Winnipeg (the Earl of Selkirk’s Red River Colony). Louis Riel formed a government and intended for Manitoba to remain bilingual and multicultural. His government condemned to death a violent young man, Thomas Scott, an Orangeman, from Ontario. Louis Riel’s government would not be recognized. So, the execution of Thomas Scott would cost Riel his life. As for the Métis of Manitoba, many had moved west to Saskatchewan hoping they could build lots on each side of a river. Gabriel Dumont had moved west, but he and other Métis could not settle along a river. Dumont went to see Louis Riel, who then lived in the United States. He sought his help. Dumont did not know Riel.
Louis Riel’s view of Canada is not unlike to John Ralston Saul. Saul does not ignore John A. Macdonald, the main father of Confederation, but Canada was not born in 1867, when Confederation was signed. It was the product of the “Great Ministry” and that of a unified country longing for a responsible government, which it was granted in 1848.
John A. Macdonald sent Amerindians to reserves and their children to Residential Schools where many were molested and died. As for French-speaking Canadians, after Confederation, they could not be educated in their mother tongue outside Quebec. John A. Macdonald attempted to assimilate both Amerindians and French-speaking Canadians.
At the time of Confederation, the Red River Colony was bilingual and multicultural. It was a miniature portrait of what Canada could have been and became, officially, after the Official Languages Act of 1969. The Red River Colony, or Fort Garry, the future Winnipeg, had been bought from the Hudson’s Bay Company by the Earl of Selkirk, Thomas Douglas 5th Earl of Selkirk. It was not part of Rupert’s Land. When Confederation was signed, half the people of Manitoba were francophones and the other half, anglophones. However, one hundred and two years after Canadian Confederation (1867), most Canadians living west of Quebec spoke English only. Fortunately, there are realities of the mind that override a seemingly more verifiable “reality.” There have been extraordinary Canadians. They shaped Canada.
But Canada started earlier than Canadian Confederation. It started during the “great ministry” of Baldwin and LaFontaine and may have started earlier. In other words, there were extraordinary Canadians who took Canada forward despite colonialism and/or imperialism, and Confederation. French Canadian nationalism dates back to the early 1800s and it had English-speaking supporters. The Rebellions of 1837-1838 occurred in both Upper Canada and Lower Canada.
At the time André Laurendeau and Davidson Dunton conducted their inquiry on bilingualism and biculturalism, my father was one of the leaders of British Columbia’s Francophone Community and its spokesman, which I have mentioned in earlier posts. He was interviewed frequently, and was also invited to talk shows. The talk show host would take telephone calls from citizens many of whom stated that in their community very few people spoke French. Most of these callers were the descendants of immigrants to Canada who could not understand that Canada’s founding nations, after the First Nations, were France and Great Britain. In their towns, villages, or rural districts, they were the majority. Why should instruction be in a language other than theirs? The schools question is a complex issue.
So, in order to get to the source, I read large sections of the reports submitted by The Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism (1963-1969). The children of several immigrants to Canada were educated in their parents’ tongue. These would be mostly immigrants to the Prairie provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan, to be precise. However, results were not as expected. These immigrants and Manitoba francophones were not in a position to organize a school system. Moreover, they would be opposed by Ottawa or the premier of their province. So, I will state, once again, that the school question is a complex issue.
In Manitoba, the schools question reached its apex five years after Métis leader Louis Riel was executed (1885). Louis Riel assumed that in provinces that entered Confederation the language of instruction in public schools would be either French or English. This would be true of Quebec. But, as you know, John A. Macdonald was an Orangeman and he favoured uniform schools: English-language and Protestant schools. So, in 1889, Manitoba passed the 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 (and hence French) schools.
If it were in my power, I would try the sunny way. I would approach this man Greenway with the sunny way of patriotism, asking him to be just and to be fair, asking him to be generous to the minority, in order that we may have peace among all the creeds and races which it has pleased God to bring upon this corner of our common country. Do you not believe that there is more to be gained by appealing to the heart and soul of men rather than to compel them to do a thing?
‒ Oscar Skelton, Life and Letters of Sir Wilfrid Laurier (1921)
In 1905, Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier negotiated the entry into Confederation of Saskatchewan and Alberta, but he could not give immigrants schools other than uniform schools. He respected the Laurier-Greenway Compromise, which had been his initiative. However, in Manitoba, the 1916 Thornton Actreiterated the Official Language Act of 1889. As noted above, immigrants and French-speaking Canadians often took in hand the matter of education in a language other than English, as did French-Canadians in Manitoba. These citizens would face a formidable obstacle: taxation.
Gabrielle Roy (Gabrielle Roy en), the “grande dame” of French-Canadian literature, wrote very touching short stories about Ukrainian immigrants: Ces enfants de ma vie (The Children of my life), Un jardin au bout du monde (A Garden at the edge of the world). Gabrielle Roy had been a school teacher in Manitoba. In Un jardin au bout du monde,she wrote a truly moving short story about a Chinese immigrant: Où iras-tu Sam Lee Wong?(Where will you go, Sam Lee Wong?)
The Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism could not propose that children be educated in French in communities where there were a mere handful of families were French-speaking families. The callers who spoke to my father had a point. There were very few French-Canadian families in their area. There could not be under the terms of Confederation. Numbers count. There had to be a demand. However, had there been a demand and a school instituted, the language of instruction would have been French or English. French and English were recognized as Canada’s official languages by virtue of the Official Languages Act of 1969. If the language of instruction in certain schools was other than French or English, such schools would be private schools as were denominational schools. Immigrants also asked for denominational schools.
Confederation created a uniform Canada. Yet, today’s Canada reflects the Baldwin-La Fontaine‘s great ministry, or the province of Canada when it obtained its responsible government in 1848. Today’s Canada is also in the image of Louis Riel‘s Red River. Canada was not officially bilingual and bicultural until the passage of the Official Languages Act of 1969, the culmination of The Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, an in-depth inquiry. André Laurendeau died in 1968. He and Davidson Dunton remind me of Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine. They were a team, compatible, and they understood.
Traditionally, French-speaking Canadians have been Catholics and many could not accept that a French-language school should be other than Catholic. So, if my father expressed the view that the combination of language and faith hampered the creation of publicly funded French-language schools, he was criticized, if not crucified.
Le Vent du Nord
In Le Vent du Nord‘s “Confédération,” the ex-patriote who saved les Français d’Amérique would be George-Étienne Cartier, the Prime Minister of the Province of Canada East and a father of Confederation. George-Étienne Cartier was involved in the Rebellions of 1837-1838. Rebels were called patriot(e)s in both Upper Canada and Lower Canada. George-Étienne Cartier was happy that his people had their Québec: their schools, their religion, their Code Civil. But Wilfrid Laurier quickly ran for office in Ottawa (1874).
In 1969, Canada reflected the Great Ministry of Baldwin and La Fontaine. In 1848, under Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine, the Province of Canada was granted its responsible government and it was bilingual and bicultural Canada. (See also Baldwin and La Fontaine, Canadian Encyclopedia.) But given the terms of Confederation, Quebec was the only province that retained Baldwin and La Fontaine’s dual system of education. Louis Riel‘s Manitoba did not.
Confederation is rooted in the Act of Union, and the period extending from 1867 to 1969 seems… a pause (un pays qui fut fondé trois fois).
English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians are not incompatible. Lord Durham suggested an assimilative Union, but Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine, the Reformers, mapped out a genuine union.
Sir George-Étienne Cartier had good reasons to persuade his province to enter into a strong partnership: Confederation. Confederation had French-speaking opponents, but several French Canadians wanted to join. Therefore, I wish that Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine had been alive during Confederation.
Le curé Labelle asked farmers to go north and make land (faire de la terre), but many couldn’t. When the ancestral thirty acres (trente arpents) could no longer be divided or were too expensive to purchase, when, moreover, there was no prospect of employment in Quebec, between 500,000 and 1,000,000 French-speaking Canadians and Acadians left for the United States. This period of Canadian history is called the exodus.
When Québécois fully realize the harm John A. Macdonald inflicted on 1) Amerindians, 2) French Canadians, and, to a large extent, on 3) English-speaking Canadians, they must stay calm. All must stay calm.
We have a future to build, and it must be built harmoniously.
A word on Covid-19. Quebec and other Canadian provinces have entered the second wave of the Covid-19 crisis. Let us protect one another and ensure that people do not commit suicide. Losing one’s position is a terrible affliction, but this is a crisis, and governments must help. People are afraid. My little area of Quebec is a pale yellow zone, but that will probably change. Quebec City, Québec’s capital, is this province’s current pandemic epicentre. However, it seems Covid-19 will not spare anyone. I’ve been indoors since early March. It isn’t good. Yet, I pity those who must go out. Let us help one another.
A few novels tell about the exodus and the many obstacles French Canadians had to face. These are:
I have written posts about all four novels. Besides, these are novels I have taught. As you know, my teaching load was extensive: six areas. I also created language-lab components. It was all but lethal.
In other words, Canada had a responsible government 16 years before Confederation was signed. Confederation was the crowning event in a quest that began when the large Province of Quebec was divided into Upper Canada and Lower Canada. However, in 1867, French-speaking Canadians signed a document, the Constitution of Canada, Confederation, that precluded their living outside Quebec, if they wanted to be educated in French.
Confederation: Rupert’s Land
Another precedent rooted in the Act of Union, and the most unfortunate for French-speaking Canadians, was Lord Durham’s hope that French-speaking Canadians would become a minority in the large Province of Canada. The Province of Canada was a short-lived administration. It lasted a mere sixteen (16) years, which did not allow English-speaking Canadians to become more numerous than French-speaking Canadians.
However, matters would differ after the B.N.A (British North America) Act (1867) was passed. The B.N.A. Act federated Ontario (Canada West), Quebec (Canada East), New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. After they entered Confederation joined the four provinces, the Dominion of Canada purchased Rupert’s Land from the Hudson’s Bay Company, Canada could stretch from sea to sea, which it did. British Columbia was promised an intercontinental railroad, a promise that brought it into Confederation, on 10 July 1871. By the turn of the century, the province of Quebec had become one of nine (9) provinces, and, with the addition of Newfoundland (1949), it could become one of ten (10) provinces. where French-speaking Canadians could not be educated in French. The above is somewhat repetitive, but beginning in 1837-1838, English Canadians and French Canadians sought responsible government, not division.
After Confederation, Quebec was one of a handful of provinces and soon the only province where French-speaking Canadians could be educated in French. Until 1998, Montreal had its Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal. It was founded in 1951 as a replacement for the Montreal Protestant Central Board. (See Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal, Wikipedia.) Quebec has been officially unilingual since 1974, under Robert Bourassa (Bill-22), but, despite the status of the province, English-speaking Canadians residing in Quebec do not have to learn French unless they enter a career demanding a knowledge of French.
The War of 1812
The acquisition of Canada this year, as far as the neighborhood of Quebec, will be a mere matter of marching, and will give us experience for the attack of Halifax the next, and the final expulsion of England from the American continent.
Yet, English-speaking and French speaking-Canadians had acquired a sense of identity sooner than Lord Durham had expected. To a significant extent, the Act of Quebec (1774) had put French Canadians on the same footing as English-speaking citizens of the colony. My best example would be the War of 1812. Amerindians fought for their waning freedom. Tecumseh joined the group. Richard Pierpoint assembled a Coloured Corps. He was born a free man and would die a free man. As for French Canadians, they had been conquered some 50 years before the War of 1812, yet, the Voltigeurs, under the command of Major Charles de Salaberry, proved a fine regiment.
It saddens me that an effort was made to impede French-speaking Canada’s growth, but New France had been a colony, and Britain was a colonist. The inhabitants of planet Earth share affinities that override ethnicity, which is the story Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine told us and which is one of the finest Canadian stories.
Let me open this post by saying that the Constitution of 1867, or BNA Act, Confederation, was an act of Britain’s parliament. Upper Canada (Ontario), Lower Canada (Quebec), as well as the Maritime Provinces (New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) were colonies of Britain. The Rebellions of 1837-1838 opposed Canadians and the Crown, not English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians.
L’A.A.N.B. est une loi du Parlement britannique, il ne résulte pas de la volonté des peuples du Canada, mais de la volonté d’appropriation d’un appareil d’État par la bourgeoisie canadienne.” [The BNA Act is a law of the British Parliament, it does not represent the will of the people(s) of Canada, but the will, on the part of the Canadian bourgeoisie, to take over the Government.]
So, I repeat, the Rebellions of 1837-1838 did not oppose English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians. Canadians rebelled against the Crown and the Canadian bourgeoisie: the Family Compact and the Château Clique.
Lord Durham’s Investigation & Recommendations
After the Rebellions of 1837-1838 (Lord Durham), which occurred in both Upper Canada (Toronto) and Lower Canada (Montreal), John George Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham (Lord Durham) was asked to investigate matters. He spent about five months in Canada devoting two weeks to an investigation of Upper Canada. He nevertheless produced a Report on the Rebellions and made recommendations. There were many, but they can be summed up as follows:
the Union of Upper Canada and Lower Canada,
a responsible government for Canada, and, a matter often omitted,
the use of English in the Assembly.
The Act of Union was passed in 1840, and implemented, in 1841. Upper Canada and Lower Canada became the Province of Canada and remained a colony of Britain.
The British intended that this policy would facilitate the assimilation of the French. Still, the French, led by such astute reform leaders as Louis Hippolyte LaFontaine, took advantage of divisions among the English-speaking legislators by allying themselves with the reformers from Canada West to push for responsible government and to make themselves indispensable for governmental stability.
However, Robert Balwin and Louis-Hippolyte faced opposition.
Realizing he [Sydenham] had almost no support in Lower Canada (at this time Canada East), he reorganised electoral ridings to give the Anglo-Canadian population more votes, and in areas where that was infeasible, he allowed English mobs to beat up French candidates. Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine was one such candidate who suffered from Sydenham’s influence; Lafontaine eventually left Canada East to work with Robert Baldwin in creating a fairer union for both sides. The new constitution, after being carried through the colonial parliaments and ratified by the House of Commons, came into force on 10 February 1841. It led ultimately to the great confederation of 1867.
Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine were friends. In fact, Robert Baldwin arrange for Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine to run for office in in York (Toronto) and La Fontaine won his seat.
Matters changed when three or four provinces of British North America confederated. The Province of Canada had been Upper and Lower Canada, which explains the conflicting totals of three and four. Moreover, when Confederation was passed, the Province of Canada became Ontario and Quebec, which delighted George-Étienne Cartier. French Canadians were fond of their Lower Canada whose inhabitants were not exclusively French-Canadians. Wolfred Nelson would be a mayor of Montreal.
In short, what I wish to stress is that English-speaking Canadians and French-speaking Canadians have seldom, if ever, attacked one another. Yes, as noted above, Lord Sydenham “allowed English mobs to beat up French candidates.” (See Lord Sydenham, Wikipedia). Louis Riel pushed back the armed surveyors ready to divide the Red River Settlement, bought by the Earl of Selkirk. But, truth be told, Canadians were not enclined to attack one another. There have been tensions between linguistic groups and a few bad moments, but in 1837-1838 patriots and patriotes were Canadians fighting Britain. They were led by William Lyon Mackenzie, in Upper Canada, and by Louis-Joseph Papineau, a Seigneur in Lower Canada. Papineau was also the leader of the Parti canadien. The party was the first political party in Canada and was first led by Pierre-Stanislas Bédard.
However, the Rebellion was more severe in Lower Canada. It appears the British were forwarned and Louis-Joseph Papineau, the leader of the Parti canadien, led ended up leading the patriotes. Papineau was very articulate
hangings and exile
Un Canadien errant
However, the rebels were defeated. At the conclusion of the Rebellions, many were saddened. Several patriots or patriotes were hanged or exiled. Both William Lyon Mackenzie and Louis-Joseph Papineau fled Canada. In 1842, Antoine Gérin-Lajoie composed Un Canadien errant. Few songs express in so poignant a manner the profound grief of the exiled. Editor and author Eugène Achard suggested that the song could be the National Anthem of Acadians. Acadians agreed. As well, for French-speaking Canadians, the Act of Union was a loss. French Canadians, called Canadiens, were quite comfortable in their Lower Canada, a land where they were a majority, but shared with people of different origins. The Act of Union took it away. It created a large Province of Canada were French-speaking Canadians were expected to become a minority and be assimilated.
Minorisation and Precedents
I have been asking why Protestants could be educated in English in Quebec, while French Canadians could not be educated in French outside Quebec, thereby becoming a minority. First, there was a precedent. By joining Upper Canada and Lower Canada, it was hoped that the English would be a majority.
Minorisation didn’t happen in the Earl of Durham’s Province of Canada, but it would happen in a federated Canada. English-speaking Canadians did not choose to be a majority, but in 9 of 10 provinces, waves of immigrants were educated in English. The Earl of Durham’s Province of Canada, where French Canadians were expected to constitute a minority presaged a federation that excludes the French and the Catholics. Ironically, in 1849, Papineau championed “rep. by pop.”
The Act of Union had set precedents to the Constitution of 1867. There would be no separate schools for French-speaking Canadians outside Quebec, (article 93 of the Constitution of 1867), but Parliament was bilingual (article 133). Sir Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine had spoken French, a precedent. But Ottawa was located immediately next of Quebec. One crossed a bridge. Quebec would have a role to play in Ottawa, which is the path Sir Wilfrid Laurier used.
G.-É. Cartier’s “here and now”
George-Étienne Cartier liked Britain’s Constitutional Monarchy. Canadians would be included in a government he favoured. He had belonged to the parti bleu (the Liberals), but had switched to the parti rouge (the Conservatives). Confederation would protect Canadians from expansionnist Americans. As well, the clergy was on the side of Confederation. The Province of Canada had 48 French-speaking representatives, députés. When the matter of Confederation was put to a vote, 26 approved and 22 didn’t. Then came railways…
Conversely, French Canadians provided Canada with a mythic past. It had legends Sir Ernest MacMillan set to music. Louis Riel is a major Canadian figure, and the Canadian martyrs have become American martyrs. As well, in his Report, Lord Durham was very unsympathetic to French Canadians. They didn’t have a history nor did they have literature. French Canadians responded by creating literature in French, their patrie littéraire,or literary homeland. That is all well, but immigrants to Canada settled in provinces west of Quebec and were educated in English. One “does the math.”
A will to assimilate French Canadians underlies the Earl of Durham’s report and the Act of Union, his main recommendation. The Province of Canada is a prelude to Confederation. Statues of John A. Macdonald are in storage and, having researched this post, I suspect Lord Durham’s demeaning view of French-speaking informs both the Act of Union and the Constitution of 1867, Confederation.
 Micheline Bourbeau-Walker, « Le Récit d’Acadie : présence d’une absence », in Édouard Langille et Glenn Moulaison, Les Abeilles pilottent,* mélanges offerts à René LeBlanc (Pointe de l’Église, Revue de l’Université Sainte-Anne, 1998), pp. 255-275. *The title refers to Montaigne‘s opinion on education (See L’Encyclopédie de l’Agora).
William Lyon Mackenzie’s house on Bond Street in downtown Toronto.
Canada’s National Holiday
On Wednesday, July 1st, Canadians celebrated their National Holiday. As for the citizens of Quebec, they celebrated their National Holiday on 24 June which is Saint-Jean-BaptisteDay,the former Saint-Jean. The date on which Saint-Jean-Baptiste is celebrated is on or near the summer solstice or Midsummer Day, the longest day of the year. This year, the summer solstice occurred on the 22 June.
Midsummer Dance by Anders Zorn, 1897 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As for Canada Day, it is celebrated on the anniversary of Confederation, the day Canada became a Dominion of Great Britain: 1st July 1867. I have written posts telling the story of Confederation and have listed them at the foot of this post.
As you know, a large number of Québécois are nationalists and many advocate the separation, to a lesser or greater extent, of the Province of Quebec from the remainder of Canada. This explains why Quebec, one of the first four signatories of the British North America Act, does not observe Canada Day.
It could be argued that the province of Quebec was Lower Canada risen from its ashes, land apportioned by Britain itself, under the terms of the Constitutional Act of 1791, to the descendants of the citizens of New France defeated by British forces on 13 September 1759 at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.* The battle had claimed the life of both its commanding officers: Louis-Joseph de Montcalm, aged 47, and General James Wolfe, aged 32, but it had lasted a mere fifteen minutes.
*The Battle of the Plains of Abraham is thus called, i.e. Abraham, because it was fought on land belonging to Abraham Martin.
The Greater Loss to Quebecers
1759, the Battle of the Plains of Abraham
1840, the union of Upper and Lower Canada
Of the two, first, the loss of Lower Canada’s motherland, ceded to Britain in 1763, and, second, the Act of Union of 1841 which followed the Rebellions of 1837-1838, the greater loss may well be the loss of Lower Canada. One cannot know the fate awaiting Nouvelle-France had France won the SevenYears’ War (1856-1763), called the French and Indian War in North America. Under the terms of the Treaty of Paris, signed in 1763, France chose to keep its sugar-rich Caribbean colonies, as well as the islands of Saint-Pierreet Miquelon, off the coast of Newfoundland.
However, Quebec had been granted a period of grace after the Treaty of Paris, signed in 1763. The citizens of the former New France knew they had become a colony of Britain, but they had yet to feel the full impact of their condition as British but ‘conquered’ subjects.
the Treaty of Paris
the Quebec Act of 1774
the Constitutional Act of 1791
There had been a reprieve. First, France negotiated the cession of Nouvelle-France. Britain would not deprive its new subjects of their language, their religion, their property and their seigneuries. It didn’t. Second, by virtue of the Quebec Act of 1774,the citizens of the former New France had become full-fledged citizens of a British Canada. Third, less than two decades after the Quebec Act of 1774, 17 years to be precise, the Constitutional Act of 1791 had divided the vast province of Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada.
Whatever its purpose, the Constitutional Act of 1791 created Lower Canada and, in the eyes of Canadiens, Lower Canada was their country, or terroir, which they were now losing. Therefore, if one takes into account the loss of Lower Canada and the determination to assimilate Canadiens, the Act of Union of 1841 was betrayal on the part of Britain, not Upper Canada.
The Rebellions of 1837 and 1838 occurred in both Canadas: Upper and Lower Canada. These could be perceived as twin rebellions orchestrated by Louis-Joseph Papineau (7 Oct 1786 – 25 Sept 1871), in Lower Canada, and William Lyon Mackenzie (12 March 1795 [Scotland]-28 August 1864 [Toronto]), in Upper Canada.
However, Papineau and William Lyon Mackenzie were not fighting against one another. Both Papineau and Mackenzie were “patriots” and allies. Their common motivation was to be granted a responsible government and, consequently, greater democracy.
Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that the citizens of Upper Canada were English-speaking Canadians living on British soil. As for the citizens of Lower Canada, they were a conquered people, former French subjects, living on British soil and realizing that they had been conquered. Not all of Lower Canada’s rebels were Canadiens. One was Dr Wolfred Nelson (10 July 1791 – 17 June 1863), a patriote and a future Mayor of Montreal.
The majority however were descendants of the citizens of a defeated Nouvelle-France. In short, the rebels of Upper Canada differed from the rebels of Lower Canada. The patriots and the patriotes were not on an equal footing, so it is somewhat difficult to speak of the rebellions as twin rebellions. They weren’t, at least not entirely and not according to a reality of the mind.
The Rebellions in Lower Canada
repressive measures, harsher
There were two rebellions in Lower Canada. The first took place in 1837 and the second, in 1838. The rebellions in Lower Canada were more intensive than their equivalent in Upper Canada. Six battles had been waged in Lower Canada. Repressive measures were therefore much harsher:
“[b]etween the two uprisings [in Lower Canada], 99 captured militants were condemned to death but only 12 went to the gallows, while 58 were transported to the penal colony of Australia. In total the six battles of both campaigns left 325 dead, 27 of them soldiers and the rest rebels. Thirteen men were executed (one by the rebels), one was murdered, one committed suicide, and two prisoners were shot.” (Peter Buckner, “Rebellion in Lower Canada,” The CanadianEncyclopedia.)
Most importantly, as we will see below, Lord Durham had recommended the assimilation of Canadiens, which was devastating to the people of Lower Canada. In Upper Canada, three men were hanged and William Lyon Mackenzie fled to the United States. He lived in New York until he was pardoned in 1849. Louis-Joseph Papineau also fled to the United States and then sailed to France. As for Dr Wolfred Nelson, he was unable to flee and was exiled to Bermuda. It was a brief period of exile.
Act of Union of 1840-1841
Lower Canada, the homeland of French-speaking subjects
Clearly, for the former citizens of Lower Canada, the Act of Union of 1840-1841 was dispossession. During the years that preceded the Rebellions, it had occurred to Louis-Joseph Papineau, the leader of the Parti canadien, that Lower Canada should seek independence from Britain. Although Nouvelle-France had been ceded to Britain, by virtue of the Constitutional Act of 1791, Lower Canada belonged to Britain’s French-speaking subjects. Britain could not help itself to the vaults of both Upper and Lower Canada, its North American colony.
Lord Durham(Courtesy The Canadian Encyclopedia)
Lord Durham’s Report
an ethnic conflict
a United Province of Canada
the assimilation of French-speaking Canadians
a responsible government
Tocqueville: a nation
It should be pointed out that in the ReportJohn Lambton, 1stEarl of Durham submitted after he investigated the rebellions in the two Canadas, he concluded that the Rebellions were an ethnic conflict, which is not altogether true nor altogether false. The rebellions were a quest for responsible government which Lord Durham himself proposed in his Report. The motivation was the same inboth Canadas: responsible government.
However, in his Report, Lord Durham proposed not only the Union of both Canadas, but also recommended the assimilation of French-speaking Canadians whom he viewed as a people possessing “neither a history nor a literature.” Never were French-speaking Canadians so offended! The Act of Union of 1841created a United Province of Canada.
Moreover, when the United Province of Canada was created, the land apportioned English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians made French-speaking Canadians a minority. It should also be noted that the United Province of Canada was not granted a responsible government, which had been the reason why the two Canadas rebelled and one of Lord Durham’s recommendations.
The time had come for both Canadas, now united, to be mostly self-governed. During a trip to Lower Canada, Alexis de Tocqueville noticed and noted that the French in Lower Canada had become what I would call a nation, but a conquered nation that had yet to enter the Industrial Age and whose people had not acquired the skills they required to leave their farms, or thirty acres, trente arpents, the acreage provided to the settlers of Nouvelle-France.
Alexis de Tocqueville in Lower Canada
a nation, but a nation conquered
In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville (29 July 1805 – 16 April 1859) and Gustave de Beaumont (16 February 1802 – 30 March 1866) took a little time off from their duties in the United States, to visit the inhabitants of France’s former colony, believing they had become British, or assimilated, which was not the case. Their language, religion, land and seigneuries had not been taken away from French-speaking Canadians. They were a nation, albeit a conquered nation.
Canadiens wanted news of “la vieille France,” old France, but there was no “vieille France,” not after the French Revolution. What was left of vieille France, Tocqueville and Beaumont found in Lower Canada. According to Tocqueville, the villain in the loss of New France was Louis XV of France. Louis XV had abandoned France’s colony in North America.
It is astonishing that, in 1831, a few years before the Rebellions and during a brief visit to Lower Canada, Tocqueville should express the opinion that the “greatest and most irreversible misfortune that can befall a people is to be conquered:”
Je n’ai jamais été plus convaincu qu’en sortant [de ce tribunal] que le plus grand et le plus irrémédiable malheur pour un peuple c’est d’être conquis.
(See RELATED ARTICLES, below.)
The above is significant. In the wake of the Acte d’Union,Antoine Gérin-Lajoiewrote his plaintive “Un Canadien errant,” dated 1842. Moreover, as mentioned above, French-speaking Canadians had begun creating a “literary homeland,” (la Patrie littéraire) the name given to the period of French-Canadian literature during which French-speaking Canadians set about proving Lord Durham wrong, which they did successfully.
Baldwin and Lafontaine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Robert Baldwyn and Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine
Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine
‘Assimilation’ cancelled (1842)
the responsible government achieved (1846)
Matters would also be redressed ‘politically,’ so to speak. In 1842, shortly after the Act of Union was passed (1840-1841) Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine (4 October 1807 – 26 February 1864) was elected Joint Prime Minister of the United Province of Canada, a position he shared with RobertBaldwin whose jurisdiction was the western portion of the United Province of Canada. Lord Durham’s proposed assimilation of Britain’s French-speaking subjects was never implemented. Finally, although it would not happen immediately, the Baldwin-LaFontaine team would achieve the objective pursued by the rebels of 1837 and 1838, responsible government, which meant greater democracy.
LaFontaine resigned one year after his appointment as Prime Minister because Britain was not delivering on responsible government. However, in 1848, James Bruce, the 8th Earl of Elgin, who had been named governor general of the United Province of Canada in 1846, asked Lafontaine (also spelled LaFontaine) to form a responsible government.
“LaFontaine thus became the first prime minister of Canada in the modern sense of the term. During this second administration, he demonstrated the achievement of responsible government by the passage of the Rebellion Losses Bill, despite fierce opposition and violent demonstrations. His ministry also passed an Amnesty Actto forgive the 1837-38 rebels, secularized King’s College into the University of Toronto, incorporated many French Canadian colleges, established Université Laval, adopted important railway legislation and reformed municipal and judicial institutions.” (Jacques Monet, S. J., “Sir Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine,” The Canadian Encyclopedia.)
So a mere twenty-six (26) years after passage of the Act of Union, Quebec, under the leadership of George-Étienne Cartier, entered Confederation. Sir George-Étienne Cartier asked that Quebec retain its recently-acquired Code civil and that primary education remain compulsory. These requests were granted.
Confederation had the immense benefit of returning to Canadiens their former Lower Canada. They regained a territory or patrimoine (a homeland), however mythical. And they have bestowed on their patrimoine its National Day, la Saint-Jean-Baptiste.
At the last meeting of the Liberal Party of Quebec, Premier Dr Philippe Couillard, stated that Quebec was a patrimoine to Québécois and Canada, their country.
My kindest regards to all of you and apologies for being away from my computer and late in every way. Yesterday was Independence Day. Belated wishes to my American readers. Next, I will write about an award.♥
“At this point, we pause so we can remember the essential facts. 1) In 1774, Canadiens inhabited a very large Province of Quebec, but 2), as of 1791, due to the arrival in the Province of Quebec of the United Empire Loyalists, the Province of Quebec was divided into Lower Canada and Upper Canada. 3)As a result, Canadiens lived in a smaller territory, but a territory which they felt was theirs.”
Number 3 is our key sentence: 3)As a result, Canadiens lived in a smaller territory, but a territory which they felt was theirs.
The Rebellions in Lower and Upper Canada occurred because Britain was dipping into taxes levied by the governments of both Canadas. There were two rebellions and two leaders: William Lyon Mackenzie and Louis-Joseph Papineau. Preserving the French Language was not on the agenda. However, after Lord Durham proposed that the two Canadas be united, many of the Rebels started to look upon the Rebellion and its aftermath, the Act of Union(1840-1841), as the loss of their predominantly French-language country: Lower Canada.
The Constitutional Act of 1791 had therefore been a mirage for French-speaking Canadians. It had created a Lower Canada where French was spoken by a majority of the population, but this did not mean that the Treaty of Paris, signed in 1763, had been revoked.
When the two Canadas were joined, Lower Canada Rebels were quickly transformed into French-speaking patriotes. French-speaking Canadians were to be
assimilated (Lord Durham) and
At this point, the Rebellions of both Canadas took on a new dimension. French-speaking Canadians started to look upon its dead soldiers, the persons who were executed and those who had been sent to Australia as martyrs. French-speaking Canadians saw the Act of Union as an attempt to take away from them
their language and
Henceforth, there would be a language problem in an expanding Canada. So two stories were about to begin: that of Canada and the long tale of grievances on the part of French-speaking Canadians.
Canada: from the Act of Union to Confederation
Under the able leadership of Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine, the clauses of the Act of Union were not read literally. The constitution was quickly restored and Parliament convened under Baldwin (in the west) and Lafontaine (in the east). As we have seen, it was a fruitful alliance because it offered a solution to flaws in the Act of Union. It would be for Parliament to determine the fate of the nation.
By 1848, responsible government was achieved. Lord Elgin, the Governor General, asked Lafontaine to be prime minister. From that moment on, Canada was engaged into stretching itself from sea to sea and, in 1867, Confederation was achieved under the condition that a railroad link the provinces from coast to coast, a feat that would not have been possible before the invention of dynamite by Alfred Nobel of Sweden.
The Seeds of Dissent had been sown
So Canada was on its way to becoming the country I know and love. But the Rebels of 1837, who had become patriotes wanted to live in a country of their own, a version of their lost Lower Canada. Over the years, these patriotes, today’sindépendantisteswould be nationalistes, séparatistes, souverainistes and now indépendantistes. The various names are synonyms.
This takes us to the last Federal Election, held on May 2, 2011
The Last Federal Election : the Spring of 2011
Quebec has a Liberal government headed by Jean Charest. As for Canada, during the last Federal election, Ottawa seats occupied by Québécois were lost to other parties, the New Democratic Party being the Québécois’s favourite. Monsieur Charest’s government did not suffer from these events, but Madame Pauline Marois‘s Parti Québécois found itself losing popularity. Madame Marois’s personal ratings plunged to approximately 18%, except that the students went on strike three months ago.
The students’ strike gave her an opportunity to breathe new life into the Parti Québécois. She, mainly, and members of her party started to support the students, most of whom could not tell what was happening and were rebels without a cause, which constitutes shameless behaviour on the part of Madame Marois’s party. The students think she is on their side. But that could be another mirage
* * *
Here is a short history of the Indépendantistes
Refus Global & the Duplessis Era
Iin 1948, a Manifesto entitled Refus Global, [i]was written by sixteen youngQuébécoisartistsandintellectualsthat includedPaul-Émile BorduasandJean-Paul Riopelle. It could be said that to a large extent this Manifesto led to the rebirth of patriotesentiment. The Manifesto painted a sorry picture of Quebec, which was often referred to as a priest-ridden province and was indeed both priest ridden and saddled with the corrupt government Maurice Le Noblet Duplessis. Duplessis literally bought votes. Moreover, this manifesto coincided with the Asbestos Strike. Maurice Le Noblet Duplessis remained Premier until his death on September 7, 1959. Maurice Duplessis was Premier of the current province of Quebec from August 17, 1936 until October 25, 1939 and from August 8, 1944 until September 7, 1959.
The Quiet Revolution / la Révolution tranquille
Health and Education
Everything started to change when Jean Lesage‘s Liberal Party won the June 22, 1960 Quebec general election. Monsieur Lesage was Premier of Quebec for six years during which the Province underwent profound changes. He ushered in the Révolution tranquille / Quiet Revolution[ii].During those six years, Quebec ceased to be a priest-ridden province.
Let me quote Wikipedia:
The provincial government took over the fields of health care and education, which had been in the hands of theRoman Catholic Church. It created ministries of Education and Health, expanded the public service, and made massive investments in the public education system and provincial infrastructure. The government allowed unionization of the civil service. It took measures to increase Québécois control over the province’s economy and nationalized electricity production and distribution. (Wikipedia: Quiet Revolution)
The Separatist Movement is, officially, a product of the 1960s and a Quebec movement. However, it can be linked to worldwide changes and events: the Cuban Missile Crisis, the War in Vietnam, protest against the War in Vietnam, the Woman’s Liberation Movement, etc. Pictures of Che Guevara and Mao Tse Tung were on every wall.
La Révolution tranquille / The Quiet Revolution
The Language Debate
There was nothing particularly tranquille about the Quiet Revolution. Its programme soon grew to include the preservation of the French language. Quebecers remembered their Lower Canada and many became nationalists. In fact, many became séparatistes whowanted to turn the Province of Quebec into a separate country where French would be spoken by a majority of the population.
The Official Languages Act, signed into law on September 9, 1969, did not go far enough for the séparatistes. In 1976, the Parti Québécois was elected into power in Quebec, under the leadership of René Lévesque. René Lévesque was in office from 1976 until 1985. Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly English-speaking, left Quebec, which caused a degree of impoverishment in the now séparatiste province. Many companies and banks moved their head office to Toronto. Moreover, drastic laws were enacted to protect the French language in Quebec
In 1974, Bill 22 made French into the official language of Quebec under Premier Robert Bourassa. There had been and would be other bills, but Bill 101, [iii], enacted in 1977, was a radical version of Bill 22 and was in contravention of the
However, the Quebec Legislature managed to wriggle its way out of compliance using a Notwithstanding clause which we will not discuss in this post.
The Quebec Liberation Front (FLQ)
As the Province of Quebec was doing away with Church-run institutions (health and education), a terrorist group was organized and it supported the Quebec sovereignty movement until the October Crisis of 1970. Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the then Prime Minister of Canada, invoked the War Measures Act to suppress the FLQ: Front de Libération du Québec whose members had kidnapped British Trade Commissioner James Cross. The following is a quotation from Wikipedia.
“It [the FLQ] was responsible for over 160 violent incidents which killed eight people and injured many more, including the bombing of the Montreal Stock Exchange in 1969. These attacks culminated in 1970 with what is known as the October Crisis, in which British Trade Commissioner James Cross was kidnapped and Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte was murdered by strangulation.” (Wikipedia)
The Front de Libération du Québec has not been active since 1970, but the public remembers and it fears it may resurface. I doubt it. As for the Parti Québécois, it still has seats in the Quebec government. It is the official opposition.
At the moment, the students are asking for a free education, but Pauline Marois was not as supportive of them today as she had been previously. First, yesterday, May 14, Line Beauchamp, Monsieur Jean Charest‘s Minister of Education, resigned. She has been replaced by Michelle Courchesne. Second, the students who have been ordered back into their classroom were maligned by the more rebellious students. They were called strike breakers or scabs. In short, the drama continues and Quebec may have new martyrs.
This is an imperfect blog, but it gives an overview of nationalism in Quebec and point to a few key moments. I will therefore post it because it sheds a little light on Canada’s long language debate. Nothing and no one prevents French-speaking Canadians from surviving and thriving.
L’Enfant au pain (Boy with Bread) by Ozias Leduc 1892-99, National Gallery of Canada
Until the Act of Union, 1840-1841, the former citizens of New France were surprisingly happy with their new masters. They enjoyed the fact that they no longer had to bend their head before an intendant or a gouverneur and, although the Seigneurial system was maintained, British Rule brought a Parliament. Moreover, Canadiens could also express themselves in newspapers and their priests occupied a privileged position.
« Vous avez peut-être vécu dans ces tems malheureux qui on précédé la conquête de ce pays, où un Gouverneur étoit une Idole devant laquelle il n’étoit pas permis de lever la tête. »[i]
“You may have lived during these unfortunate days that preceded the conquest of this country, when a governor was an idol in whose presence one was not allowed to raise one’s head.”
The above quotation is taken from the 4 November 1809 issue of Le Canadien, a newspaper founded on 22 November 1806. Earlier in the same article, the anonymous Canadien had also praised freedom of the press, which had not been allowed the citizens of New France. Later, in the same article, our anonymous writer would praise the British Constitution.
The Oraison Funèbre (the funeral oration) of Mgr Jean-Olivier Brian
More eloquent, however, is Father Joseph-Octave Plessis‘s (1763-1825) OraisonFunèbre. In his funeral oration, Oraison Funèbre, on the death of Mgr Jean-Olivier Brian, Bishop of Quebec from 1764 to 1784, Plessis apologized on behalf of his people, the Canadiens, for having feared British rule. He said that the people of New France had been rather apprehensive because they could not be persuaded that foreign men, unaccustomed to New France’s land, laws, customs and religion, would be able “to give back to Canada what it had just lost by changing masters:”
« On ne pouvait se persuader que des hommes étrangers à notre sol, à notre langage, à nos lois (laws), à nos usages (customs) et à notre culte (religion), fussent jamais capables de rendre au Canada ce qu’il venait de perdre en changeant de maîtres. »[ii]
“We could not persuade ourselves that men who knew little about our land, our language, or laws, our customs and our religion could ever return to Canada what it had just lost by changing masters.”
There can be doubt that the Canadiens had much to gain when Sir Guy Carleton, Lord Dorchester made them full-fledged British citizens under the Quebec Act.[III]Nothing had been taken away from Britain’s French subject and they had now gained the right to have newspapers and be members of Parliament.
Under the terms of the Treaty of Paris (1763), it had been negotiated that the Canadiens were to be left undisturbed. But, ironically, the citizens of the Province de Québec (1774) and of the two Canadas, born of the Constitutional Act of 1791, had been provided with the tools that would allow them to regain what they lost when the Act of Union was signed into law: Parliament, as the word suggests.
The Rebellions and the Act of Union
The events of 1837-1838 and the ensuing decision to unite the two Canadas and to prohibit the use of French were regrettable. However, once order was restored, the new United Province of Canada was again enjoying the benefits of the BritishConstitution.
When first appointed Joint Prime Minister of the United Province of Canada, in 1842, Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine, or LaFontaine, was not heading a responsible government, which would cause him to resign, but the United Province of Canada had a Canadien voice and it so happened that this Canadien, Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine, spoke English. You may recall that Lafontaine had travelled to Britain in an effort to avert a call to arms in 1837.
A Bilingual Household
Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine was married first to Lynzee Rickard (1813–1859) who became his wife on 9 July 1831. When Lynzee died (in 1859), Louis-Hippolyte married the widowed Jane Élisabeth Geneviève Morrison (1822-1905) daughter of Charles Morrison. They were married on 30 January 1861 and lived on rue Saint-Denis in Montreal. It was a bilingual household.
As joint Prime Minister of the United Province of Canada, Louis-Hippolyte first addressed the assembly in French and then he and his political partner Robert Baldwin set about returning to Canadiens the right to speak their own language.
In fact, assimilation would have been difficult due to the land tenure system, the seigneurial system. As for those Canadiens who were not farmers they gathered around a priest, in a parish. That was what I like to call the “parochial” system.
So let me close this blog on an optimistic note. In the 1840s, we have fine men in Parliament and their goal, responsible government, had been attained between 1842 and 1848, when Baldwin and Lafontaine became Joint Prime Ministers.
In my next post, we will examine the Seigneurial System which was not abolished until 1854. In fact, Louis-Joseph Papineau was a seigneur and, from 1774 (the Quebec Act) until 1854, French-speaking Canadians had both seigneuries and a Parliament.
The last time we discussed Canada, the Rebellions of 1837 had been crushed and, in Lower Canada, 58 men had been deported to Australia, 12 were executed and the leaders had fled. In Upper Canada, where the Rebellion had been less severe, Lount, Matthews and Doan were executed and the leaders fled fearing reprisals and, possibly, death.
Carrying a Canoe to the St Maurice River, by Cornelius Krieghoff
Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine was appointed Prime Minister in 1842, a year after the Act of Union, with Robert Baldwin leading the western part of the new Canada. Lafontaine resigned in 1843 because Lord Metcalfe was opposed to responsible government, but opposition would not last. On the contrary, colonial officials were prompt to grant more autonomy to a people whose struggle for greater autonomy they had repressed in a very punitive manner.
For instance, in 1843, the year he opposed responsible government, Lord Metcalfe pardoned the rebels who had been exiled, which was unexpected. Louis-Joseph Papineau remained in France for two more years, until 1845, but in 1843 the fifty-eight rebels who had been sent to Australia returned to Canada, now the United Province of Canada.
As for William Lyon Mackenzie, he remained in the United States until the Amnesty Act was passed in 1849. He was the one rebel who had not been pardoned by Lord Metcalfe. But, most importantly, in 1848, Lord Elgin, the Governor General of the Province of Canada, asked Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine to resume his duties as Prime Minister of the Province of Canada, leading a responsible government.
A Responsible Government
An Habitant’s Farm, by Cornelius Krieghoff
It is difficult to understand why, having crushed the 1837 Rebellions, colonial officials would agree to responsible government. Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine were moderate reformers, and it could be that colonial officials knew their resolve and took them seriously. Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine, a member of Papineau’s assembly, had travelled to Britain in an effort to avert a call to arms.
Lord Durham: questions left unanswered
As for Lord Durham, there can be little doubt that he had harmed French-speaking Canadians. The Rebellions happened in both Canadas, which meant they could not be dismissed as yet another episode in the very long history of enmity, in Europe, between the English and the French. Such thinking was an oversimplification on the part of Lord Durham and too many questions remained unanswered. In all likelihood, there was patriotism on both the part of the French-speaking inhabitants of Lower Canada. However, among the rebels, several were English-speaking Canadians and Britain had helped itself to money levied in the two Canadas. As well, William Lyon Mackenzie was the last rebel to be pardoned.
In other words, it would be my view that Lord Durham oversimplified the causes of the rebellions. Besides, his trivializing French-speaking Canadians was injudicious. However, he cannot be brought back from the dead to put his finger on the more complex and true causes of the rebellions, i. e. a struggle for responsible government. Nor can he take back his statement to the effect that French-speaking Canadians were an inferior people who did not have a history, and lacked a literature. So may he rest in peace.
Sir Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine, joint premier of the Province of Canada, 1848-51(Oil on canvas, by June Forbes McCormack (courtesy the Government of Ontario Art Collection and the Canadian Encyclopedia)
Let us now return to Robert Baldwin and his political partner, Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine who “led the first responsible ministry in Canada, regarded by some as the first truly Canadian government.” [i]Baldwin and Lafontaine were not elected, but appointed to their office on the recommendation, in the early 1840s, of Charles Poulett Thomson, 1st Baron Lord Sydenham PC (Privy Council), the first governor of the Province of Canada. Although Lord Sydenham was anti-French, it would appear he was a good judge of character.
Lafontaine’s achievements are too numerous for me to list in a post. But I will note that he worked at granting amnesty to the persons who had been exiled as a result of the Rebellions of 1837. Louis-Joseph Papineau waited two more years before returning to Canada, but most rebels had come home in 1843, when Governor General Metcalfe issued a special pardon to the Rebels of 1837. In fact, when the Amnesty Act was proclaimed, on February 1, 1849, the only rebel still at large was William Lyon Mackenzie. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia “[o]nly William Lyon MACKENZIE, the one rebel who had not been given a special pardon in 1843, returned to Canada under the Act.” [ii]
Rebellion Losses Bill
I will also note that Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine introduced the Rebellion Losses Billin November 1849. It was passed, but Loyalists protested and burned down Parliament in Montreal. They were now nationalists, which may suggest that they had embraced Lord Durham’s assessment of the Rebellions: an ethnic conflict, and saw the Canadiens as the hereditary enemy of the British. But it may also be in everyone’s best interest to remember that, in 1848, there were nationalistic uprisings in a large number of European nations.
The French Language
Finally, I will also note that “[t]he Lafontaine-Baldwin government, formed on March 11, battled for the restoration of the official status of the French language, which was abolished with the Union Act, and the principles of responsible government and the double-majority in the voting of bills.” [iii] In other words, Lord Durham’s recommendation that French-speaking Canadians be assimilated was not implemented.
According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine “insisted on speaking French in the Assembly, and because of his action the imperial government later repealed the ACT OF UNION clause prohibiting official use of French.” [iv]
As for the idea of a possible annexation with the United States, it died down. In fact, what colonial authorities now feared, as did Loyalists, was an invasion from the south. United Empire Loyalists had fled north in 1776, when the Thirteen Colonies declared independence from Britain: 4 July 1776.
So what followed the Act of Union was a return to order and a growing motivation to expand and secure Canada. The goal was to extend its provinces from sea to sea: A Mari Usque Ad Mare. It would therefore be necessary to build a railroad, but that story will be told later. [V]