Quebec is a Canadian unilingual (French) province located in an officially bilingual (French and English) country. Consequently, Quebec does not comply with the Official Languages Act of 1969. The Official Languages Act put French and English on an equal footing in every province of Canada, regardless of demographics. In 1969, the citizens of 9 out of 10 provinces were predominantly English-speaking Canadians. When the Official Languages Act was passed, French-speaking Canadians could, at long last, be educated in French outside Quebec.
To Francophones living outside Quebec, the Official Languages Act seemed a miracle. Until then French-speaking Canadians, Catholics predominantly, could not attend a public French school. Typically, if financially possible, French-speaking Canadians enrolled in English-language Catholic private schools. My parents enrolled me at St Ann’s Academy, an all-girls Catholic private school in Victoria, British Columbia.
However, in 1974, five years after a “dream come true,” Quebec, under the leadership of Premier Robert Bourassa‘s Quebec’s Liberal Party declared itself a unilingual province. It passed Bill 22. There was an exodus of English-speaking Canadians from Montreal, not to mention head offices or headquarters.
Education being provincial legislation, under Bills 22 and 101, immigrants to Quebec were required to enroll their children in French-language schools. They were not invited to do so, but compelled, in an officially unilingual province located in an officially bilingual Canada. The birth rate had declined in mostly French-speaking Quebec. So, immigrants would give Quebec French-speaking children. In fact, as soon as they arrive(d) in Quebec, immigrants (young adults and adults) who did/do not speak French, took and still take, French courses. Matters remain as they were in the 1970s. Demographics have not been kind to Quebecers.
English being the global lingua franca, there was resistance to educating children in French, exclusively. Consequently, French-speaking immigrants, such as North Africans, settle(d) in Quebec.
Despite unilingualism, children born to English-speaking Canadians living in Quebec can study in English-language school.
Do not remove this video. The CBC is a public service.
At no point, have Quebecers given their province a clear mandate to separate from Canada. Quebec has sought sovereignty through two referendums. The first took place in 1980, when René Lévesque was Premier of Quebec. The second was held in 1995. A little less than half of Quebec’s citizens said ‘no’ to sovereignty, and a province’s sovereignty is too important a matter to be decided in a 50/50 referendum. Canada passed its Clarity Act (Bill C-20). Quebec is not a country. It is a province.
For my own safety, I would not visit with members of my family living on the west coast without first taking a private insurance. Yet I am a Canadian and, as a Canadian, my Health Insurance Card should be valid everywhere in Canada: banana leaves and wet ceramic floors!
Premier Couillard’s Quebec Liberal Party erased Quebec’s deficit and Quebecers are employed. There has to be a reason to defeat a leader and a reason to elect a leader. There was no reason to defeat Dr Couillard and no reason to elect François Legault. Under monsieur Legault’s Coalition avenir Québec (Coalition for the Future of Quebec), the province will remain unilingual. Quebecers whose French is impoverished will blame others: les Anglais. The Constitution Act of 1982 will not be signed. While monsieur Legault prospers, Quebec’s social programmes will be endangered: “austerity,” he says. More autonomy for Quebec is an objective, and a door will be slammed to curb immigration. (See Coalition avenir Québec, Wiki2.org.) Just who was behind this “victory?” On October 1st, 2018, reason took a leave in Quebec, or so it appears.
As a university teacher, I taught French as a second language and French literature to English-speaking Canadians. Concerning ‘unilingualism’ in Quebec, it is useful to read Wikipedia’s entries entitled Official Language Act and Charter of the French Language.
Section 1, which provides that French is ‘the official language of the province of Quebec,’ is misleading in that it suggests that English is not also an official language in Quebec, which it is by virtue of Section 133 of the BNA Act and the federal Official Languages Act. … No legislation in the National Assembly proclaiming French the sole official language in the province can affect these bilingual areas protected by the BNA Act.
The Blacksmith’s Shop, oil on canvas painting by Cornelius Krieghoff, 22 x 36 in, 1871, Art Gallery of Ontario
The above picture and the ones below are depictions of an older Quebec by Cornelius Krieghoof (19 June 1815 – 8 April 1872), a Dutch artist who immigrated to Canada, but first served in the United States army. He married a French-Canadian, Émilie Gauthier, and died in the United States where he had retired. The paintings depict bon viveurshabitants or descendants of habitants, the former tenants of seigneurs. The Seigneurial System or the Compagnie des Cent-Associés was created in 1627, by Cardinal Richelieu. The hundred associates were “to capitalize on the North American fur trade.” The Seigneurial System was abolished in 1854. Tenants were called habitants (literally, inhabitants). In 1645, the Company “sublet its rights and obligations in Canada to the Communauté des Habitants.” But, in 1663, the Société des Cent-Associés‘ grant was revoked, and, by the same token, so was the Communauté des Habitants. New France became a province of France.(See Compagnie des Cent-Associés, The Canadian Encyclopedia.)
Habitants, painting by Cornelius Krieghoff, 1852 (Wikipedia)
Habitants Breaking Lent (Wikipedia)
Mocassin Seller Crossing the St. Lawrence River (Photo Credid: Wikipedia)
Indian Trapper on Snowshoes, Photo credit: Amazon)
I cannot speak of serious current activities because I have not posted an article for two months, which has been my current activity for a few years. I could not write posts and turn this apartment into a home. However, I was not asleep. I waited for the first snowfall, a magical moment, kept an eye on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, a fairy tale, and bought a Christmas cake, une bûche, a small one, at the Pâtisserie liégeoise and celebrated the twelve days of Christmas.
Books, but not just ordinary books…
There is no doubt that I wasn’t fit to move. However, I like my new apartment and, although there were too many books to unpack, a surprise awaited me. The books were not entirely mine. Many belonged to my father. In the 1990s, I starting housing his books and used them to write an article published in Francophonies d’Amérique, in 2002. When I moved to Sherbrooke, Québec, I was given more books and bought a bookcase where my father could find all of his books easily.
Browsing my father’s books helped me remember and understand that Canada did have two founding nations and that these two nations could live side by side, in harmony. Laurendeau and Dunton were a very compatible team. In other words, I understood, better than ever before, that as members of a founding nation, French-speaking Canadians had rights, such as the right to ask to be educated in French outside Quebec, if possible. The key words are founding nations, of which there are only two: the French and the British. Canada also has its First Nations, its aboriginals.
The Quebec Act and the Constitutional Act
The Quebec Act, signed in 1774 under Guy Carleton, 1st Baron Dorchester, put on an equal footing French-speaking and English-speaking British subjects and, as expected, aboriginals and French-speaking fought the British in the American Revolutionary War. The Constitutional Act (1791) divided Canada into Upper Canada and Lower Canada, located closer to the Atlantic.
As for Royal Proclamation of 1763, it protected aboriginals. The Canadian Encyclopedia indicates that the Royal proclamation of 1763 was the Amerindians magna carta. With respect to Amerindians, the Proclamation, established the constitutional framework for the negotiation of treaties with the Aboriginal inhabitants of large sections of Canada, and it is referenced in section 25 of the Constitution Act, 1982. The Proclamation
established the constitutional framework for the negotiation of treaties with the Aboriginal inhabitants of large sections of Canada, and it is referenced in section 25 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
In the case of French-speaking subjects, the Treaty of Paris 1763, was negotiated so that his “Britannick” majesty would protect his new French-speaking subjects. They should be at liberty to use their language and practice their religion. However, until 1774, contrary to the Aboriginals, French-speaking Canadians had no constitutional framework. The Quebec Act, 1774, would provide fill this gap. French-speaking Canadians would be at liberty to use their language and practice their religion. They could also keep their “thirty acres” (trente arpents) and their Seigneurial System.
In 1791, the Constitutional Act separated Upper Canada and Lower Canada. French-speaking subjects lived in Lower Canada, closer to the Atlantic Ocean, and viewed Lower Canada as their land, their patrie.
Guy Carleton, 1st Baron Dorchester, was largely responsible for the Quebec Act, which helped to preserve French laws and customs (courtesy Library and Archives Canada/C-2833).
Religion and Education
In the province of Quebec, French-speaking citizens had the same status as English-speaking Canadian. However, East and West of the province of Quebec, they didn’t. For instance, in 1890, Manitoba abolished French-language schools. The Manitoba Schools Question is my best example, but I could also mention the New Brunswick Schools question. With respect to the establishment of French-language schools outside Quebec, the traditional excuse was that Catholic schools had to be private schools. This matter was a thinly veiled and unsavoury chapter in Canadian history.
To be perfectly accurate, as I read my father’s books, it became increasingly clear to me that governments outside Quebec may well have used religion, perhaps unconsciously,to deny French-speaking Canadians living outside Quebec an education in French. Foi et patrie (faith and land or language)were inextricably entwined in the mind of French-speaking Canadians, but they were, nevertheless, a founding nation. As Alexis de Tocqueville stated, the people of New France were not conquered, they were abandoned by France. (See Related Articles, no 1.), Tocqueville concluded that it was nevertheless best for French-speaking Canadians to believe they had been conquered rather than abandoned by France, their motherland. Tocqueville pointed a guilty finger at Louis XV. But the terms of the Treaty of Paris (1763), did protect England’s newly-acquired territories and its French-speaking subjects, without creating an assembly for French-speaking Canadians.
The Quebec Act and the Constitutional Act
The Quebec Act, signed in 1774 under Guy Carleton put on an equal footing French-speaking and English-speaking Canadians and, as expected aboriginals and French-speaking fought the British in the American Revolutionary War. The Constitutional Act (1791) respected French Canadians. In fact, the Royal Proclamation of 1763 protected aboriginals mainly if not only. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, the Royal proclamation of 1763 was the aboriginals’ magna carta. The same could not be said of the French-speaking citizens of Britain’s new colony. With respect to Amerindians, the Proclamation
established the constitutional framework for the negotiation of treaties with the Aboriginal inhabitants of large sections of Canada, and it is referenced in section 25 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
In short, France chose to cede New France under the terms of the Treaty of Paris, but that it did so conditionally. His “Britannick” majesty would not take away from France’s former subjects their language, their religion and their seigneurial system. Under the terms of Confederation, Quebec also kept its Civil Code, which is still in place. Moreover, under the Constitutional Act of 1791, Quebec included Labrador. (See Labrador, Canadian Encyclopedia.)
The Labrador Boundary Dispute was one of the most celebrated legal cases in British colonial history. Though Newfoundland’s claim to the watershed of all rivers flowing into the Atlantic Ocean is recognized in the Constitution Act, many Quebecers still consider Labrador part of “Nouveau-Québec.”
Consequently, French-speaking Canadians’ magna carta was the Quebec Act of 1774 and the Constitutional Act of 1791. But they and the British lived for the most part in Lower Canada where facing the “schools question” was easier to deal with. Each nation had its land. Yet, the schools question, French-language schools that were also Catholic schools was a legitimate request on the part of French-speaking Canadians living outside Quebec. They were Catholics, but first and foremost they were one of the founding nations of an expanding Canada. The French, the voyageurs, in particular, with the help of Amerindians, opened the North-American continent, but the French and Métis were Catholics and Manitoba, a French-language province.
One could argue that French-speaking Canadians, living in provinces outside Quebec could have been educated in their mother tongue, had they not insisted their schools also be Catholic schools. Yet, one could also take the view, expressed above, that authorities outside Quebec had an easy, but questionable and somewhat justification to deprive members of a founding nation of their right to have their children educated in the French language, if possible.
Consequently, “the schools question,” the creation of language schools that were also Catholic schools was a legitimate request on the part of French-speaking Canadians living outside Quebec. They were Catholics, but more importantly they were one of the founding nations. The Manitoba Act of 1890, the abolition of French as a teaching language was
[a]n Act to Provide that the English Language shall be the Official Language of the Province of Manitoba.
What of the two founding nations? Was Quebec to be the only part of Canada where children could be educated in French?
The Official Languages Act of 1969
The work of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism resulted in the Official Languages Act, given royal assent on 9 September 1969. Most acts are amended, so there have been a few amendments to the Official Languages Act. In theory, the dispute is over or should be. Canada is officially bilingual. In other words, its official documents appear in the two languages and the federal government’s services are available in both languages.
By 1969, public schools were secularized in Quebec. The separation of Church and state has long been accepted. Until the 1960s, the people of Quebec had a French Catholic school board and an English Protestant school board. Problems arose after the Second World War. (See Laïcité, Wikipedia, note 7.)Laïcité would also have benefited Quebec during the years that followed the Second World War. French-speaking immigrants were not necessarily Catholics. Which school were parents and students to choose?
Motto of the French republic on the tympanum of a church in Aups, Var département, which was installed after the 1905 law on the Separation of the State and the Church. Such inscriptions on a church are very rare; this one was restored during the 1989 bicentennial of the French Revolution. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
However, despite their rights, it could be said that, in practice, Quebec’s Official Language Act may have harmed the citizens of Quebec and French-speaking Canadians living outside Quebec. In 1974, Quebec declared itself a unilingual province, French, under Premier Robert Bourassa‘s, The Quebec government passed Bill 22. In 1976, Quebec elected its first separatist government under the leadership of René Lévesque, who had founded the Parti québécois. Quebec’s government passed Bill 101, or the Charter of the French language, in 1977, language bills. The face of Quebec had to be French and its immigrants would have to enter French-language schools.
In the 1980 referendum, 60% of Quebecers voted not to give the Quebec government the mandate it needed to begin negotiations that could lead to Quebec’ sovereignty. It was a “no” vote. A second referendum was held, in 1995. In 1995, the ‘no’ vote was 50.58% and led to the Clarity Act (2000).
An État providence or Welfare State
The goal of the Parti Québécois was sovereignty, but the goal of the Révolution tranquille was an État providence, or Welfare State, which could not be attained if language laws caused its most affluent citizens to leave Quebec.
Moreover, as early as the 1960s, separatists or sovereigntists had a terrorist branch: the Front de Libération du Québec, or FLQ. FLQ militants placed bombs in mailboxes, injuring postal workers, and they kidnapped British diplomat James Cross as well as Quebec’s minister of labour, Pierre Laporte, who was strangled. It could be that James Cross would also have been killed had Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau not invoked the War Measures Act. To civil libertarians, the War Measures Act seemed excessive, but James Cross was freed and acts of terrorism ended. These events are referred to as the October Crisis of 1970 and they would cause many to find Quebec an unsafe environment. That exodus was a loss for Quebec. Those who left were, by and large, affluent taxpayers. How could Quebec become an état providence, a welfare state, if taxes could not absorb the costs?
Bill 22, 1974 & Multiculturalism
With respect to Bill 22, it may have been passed to counter Pierre Elliott Trudeau multiculturalism, a notion that grew during the Laurendeau-Dunton Commission, Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism. I remember clearly that during the Laurendeau-Dunton Commission, many Canadians rejected Bilingualism and Biculturalism, from the point of view of demographics.There were more Germans, Hungarians, Italians, or Ukrainians in their community than French Canadians. Their language should therefore be an official language, which would mean that Canada could now have more than 200 official languages. They also said that New France lost the battle of the Plains of Abraham (13 September 1759) and that the time had come for French-speaking Canadians to be told they lost the battle. Canada is increasingly multicultural and it will continue to welcome immigrants, but its founding nations remain France and Britain to this day. In Quebec, immigrants learn French because French Canadians no longer have very large families. In the rest of Canada, learning French is not necessary.
An Exodus from Quebec: the St-Lawrence Seaway or…
However, even if they were used to keep Quebec a French-language province, its Language Laws caused an exodus. Many argue that the opening of the St-Lawrence Seaway, which allows large ships to reach Toronto, provides a full explanation for this exodus. This explanation is not totally convincing. The October Crisis of 1970 alone would be disturbing and could result in the more affluent taxpayers leaving Quebec, Montreal especially.
An État Providence, a Welfare State
This matter is problematical. One of the goals, of the Révolution tranquille, other than secularization, laïcité, was the establishment of an État Providence, or Welfare State. Welfare States levy taxes that fund social programmes. Although Quebecers pay income tax to both their provincial and federal governments, I doubt that Quebec can be an état providence. I have not heard Quebecers complain bitterly. Students pay low tuition fees and day care costs are also inexpensive, but Quebec is not a Welfare State. In all likelihood, Language Laws have frightened citizens. It must be very difficult for Quebec to offer medical services that have become extremely expensive.
It must also be difficult for the government to pay high salaries. The harsh repression of asbestos miners, in 1949 (see Asbestos miners’ strike, Wikipedia), opened the way for the growth of strong labour unions. Employees would no longer be exploited by employers but a lot of Quebecers are syndicated, including part-time university teachers and university teachers.
According to sources outside Quebec, the province’s healthcare laws and practices “do not respect the principles set out in the Canada Health Act,” and amendments. Given that Quebec has not signed the Patriated Constitution of 1982, le repatriement de la Constitution, a Quebec healthcare card is refused by doctors outside Quebec. Hospital fees will be paid, which may not be enough. One could therefore state that Quebec’s healthcare laws and practices “do not respect the principles set out in the Canada Health Act” because it is not universal. Provincial healthcare cards should be valid everywhere in Canada and they should also buy you a bed in a four-bed hospital room and, if necessary, a two-bed hospital room.
René Lévesque and Pierre Elliott Trudeau were at loggerheads between 1980 and 1982, the year the Patriated Constitution was signed. In 1980, when the first sovereigntist referendum took place, 60% of Quebecers voted against given the René Lévesque’s Parti Québécois a mandate to renegotiate Quebec’s partnership with Ottawa, the federal government. Would that Quebecers did not have to pay the price! The Quebec government’s refusal to sign the Patriated Constitution did lead to what can be viewed as the erosion of the Canada Health Act.
Healthcare in Canada is universal but Quebecers’ Healthcare card is not valid outside Quebec, except in a hospital. I am a Canadian and so are other Quebecers. The Quebec health-care card is universal but only in Quebec. Quebec accepts the Healthcare cards of citizens living outside Quebec. Quebecers are therefore footing the bill. Yes, Quebec authorities should have signed the Patriated Constitution of 1982, because the people of Quebec are still Canadians. Are authorities outside Quebec treating Quebecers as though they were not Canadians. If so governments outside Quebec may be seen as complicit in the erosion of Healthcare in Quebec, a Canadian province.
I hope Quebec will sign the sign the Patriated Constitution of 1982 as quickly as possible and that it and other Canadians will not use unfortunate historical events to perpetuate quarrels and, unconsciously, participate and be in fact complicit in the estrangement of Quebec. It may be injudicious on the part of Ottawa not to ensure the welfare of Quebecers. Many Québécois wish to separate. Quebecers are Canadians. I realize that Education and Health are provincial responsibilities, but must a Quebecer who faces a health catastrophe outside Quebec, his province in Canada, pay the cost?
I would so like to know why Quebec’s refusal to sign the Patriated Constitution of 1982 has led to the erosion of universal heathcare in Canada. Quebec is a province of Canada. If he knew the consequences of his actions, René Lévesque, the then Premier of Quebec, may well have failed voters by not signing the new Constitution. Or was Pierre Elliott Trudeau forgetting the people, ordinary people?
Opening boxes of books was a challenge, but it became informative. However, discarding books had become more complex. My father’s books will be adopted by Sherbrooke’s Historical Society and the University of Sherbrooke. But these libraries need lists and will not pick up the books. That will be my duty. My father’s writings have been collated. He wrote editorials for Le Franc-Contact, a periodical published by the now extinct Conseil de la vie française en AmériqueFR. University research centres have replaced le Conseil de la vie française en Amérique.
Again, a belated Happy New Year to all of you and apologies for not posting for two months. Combining posting and settling in a new apartment was not possible.
Love to everyone♥
____________________ Unconsciously, perhaps, the Quebec Act embodied a new principle in colonial government – the freedom of non-English people to be themselves within the British Empire. It also began what was to become a tradition in Canadian constitutional history – the recognition of certain distinct rights, or protections for Quebec – in language, religion and civil law. (Canada, a Country by Consent.)
Pierre Elliott Trudeau (18 October 1919 – 29 September 2000) was Prime Minister of Canada from to 1968 to 1979 and from 1980 to 1984. Pierre Trudeau resigned in 1984 so he could look after the education of his three sons.
Pierre Trudeau’s son JustinTrudeau (b. 25 December 1971) is the leader of the LiberalParty of Canada and he could be elected Prime Minister on 19 October 2015. He is one of the candidates.
It appears a government shutdown over the matter of Planned Parenthood has been averted. But Planned Parenthood is an important issue and it is in no way frivolous. The family is still the basic organizational component of our society and this component begins with the couple. Children are born to a man and a woman who engage in sexual intercourse and usually manage their fertility.
Gone are the days when we let nature decide the number of children a couple produced, and it would be unrealistic to expect couples not to engage in sexual intercourse unless they are ready to face the consequences: a pregnancy. Hence Planned Parenthood or birth control, which involves consultation(s) with a medical doctor. A woman’s health could be at risk.
Abortions do not seem an acceptable form of birth control. They are a last recourse. Men and women should act responsibly. However, there are times when an abortion may be a doctor’s only way of ensuring the health of his patient and that of her child. Alcohol and drugs, including medication, can harm the fetus. Remember Thalidomide. Those brave children!
Moreover, no woman should be forced into a pregnancy. That would constitute an unacceptable intrusion on her privacy and, in some cases, an unwanted pregnancy can jeopardize a woman’s health and life. For instance, if a pregnancy is the result of rape, it would be cruel not to terminate it as soon as possible.
To borrow Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s words, governments should bring “the laws of theland up to contemporary society.” Where abortions are concerned, in Pierre Trudeau’s view, doctors were better than lawyers in deciding when a pregnancy was a danger to a woman’s health. A woman’s health, mental and physical, was Pierre Trudeau’s main concern regarding abortions, but the health of the fetus should also be taken into consideration. There are times when a woman carries a child who will die within a few days or a few weeks. I lost a large number of siblings to a congenital blood disease. They died shortly after birth: a few days or a few weeks. Nothing could be done to save them.
“There is no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.”
Pierre Trudeau is also the Canadian Minister of Justice who stated that there was “no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” That famous statement was about homosexuality, not planned parenthood.
I would like to show a brief video, less than three minutes in length, that sums up Pierre Trudeau’s view on homosexuality and abortion. Trudeau also discusses the use of breathalyzers. I am showing this video, The Omnibus Bill, because the Republican-led United States Congress threatened a government shutdown over the matter of Planned Parenthood.
I can’t believe I have written the above, but the matter of Planned Parenthood does not justify a government shutdown. I tend to believe this is yet another instance of obstructionism on the part of a Republican-led Congress. I would hate to think that threatening a government shutdown over the cost of Planned Parenthood reflects an elected representative’s view of human sexuality and, particularly, his or her view of women. Some couples cannot have children of their own, and some couples choose not to be parents. But the family remains the basic component of our society.
Pierre Elliott Trudeau: The Omnibus Bill(simply click on the title to view the video)
The Hen with the Golden Eggs (La Fontaine, 1.V.13)
How avarice loses all,
By striving all to gain,
I need no witness call
But him whose thrifty hen,
As by the fable we are told,
Laid every day an egg of gold.
“She has a treasure in her body,”
Bethinks the avaricious noddy.
He kills and opens—vexed to find
All things like hens of common kind.
Thus spoiled the source of all his riches,
To misers he a lesson teaches.
In these last changes of the moon,
How often does one see
Men made as poor as he
By force of getting rich too soon!
Jean de La Fontaine(1.V.13)
This fable is very well known and, at first glance, it seems to possess only one moral. Avarice loses all.
The main character in Jean de La Fontaine‘s (8 July 1621 – 13 April 1695) The Hen with the Golden Eggs is a very lucky man who is not satisfied with the golden egg his hen lays once a day. He thinks that if he opens her body, he will find a treasure. He therefore kills her only to discover there is no treasure inside her body. Greed causes this man to destroy the source of his growing wealth. Oudry and Doré have captured this man’s bitter disappointment. So, on one level, this fable is about greed, greed that kills the hen and impoverishes a man.
However, this fable is also about hurting oneself in an attempt to improve a situation that is already very good. Fables, especially as retold by La Fontaine, often have more than one moral. Such is the case with The Hen with the Golden Eggs (1.V.13).
(Please click on the smaller images to enlarge them.)
I have provided an alternative moral for The Hen with the Golden Eggs. There are more morals to the Golden Eggs, but the extent to which we can harm ourselves is chief among them. We blame others, but are others always to blame? Remember Matthew 7. 4: “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?”
Letter from Louis XIV to Montrealers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
During the weekend, I attended a dinner in Montreal. The men wore tuxedos and the ladies, one of the fine gowns Donkeyskin asked her father to give her. I was surrounded by multilingual and multicultural individuals of every race. The men wore tuxedos and the ladies, one of the fine gowns Donkeyskin asked her father to give her. I was surrounded by multilingual and multicultural individuals of every race. Everyone was on an equal footing. So this was the Montreal I like.
I remarked to the gentleman sitting across from me, a lawyer, that it had saddened me to learn that investors had taken 50% of their money out of Quebec after the election of Madame Pauline Marois to the Premiership of Province of Quebec. This lawyer is a bilingual Québécois. He told me there was more and then mentioned 1977, the year after Parti Québécois leader, charismatic René Lévesque, was elected into office. After his election, on 15 November 1976, there was an exodus. We then moved on to another subject.
Rue Saint-Dominique, 1866 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
However, after I returned home, I remembered Saint Francis Xavier University (StFX) once again. This time, I was not thinking about Dr Cecil MacLean. In my thoughts were the sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame (the CNDs) who owned a convent and a residence for female students on the campus of StFX. I had just been in Montreal where Marguerite Bourgeoys (17 April 1620 – 12 January 1700) founded the Congrégation de Notre-Dame. In this respect, you may remember that many of the filles du roy were taught to cook and to sew by members of the fledgling Congrégation. Several filles du roy had not been taught skills that would be required of the young women who would marry settlers to New France and raise large families.
Losing their residence for women must have been devastating to my colleagues who were members of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, but imagine their also losing their convent. Who would help them? The order had suffered losses during the Quiet Revolution, or Révolution tranquille, so to what extent could they be helped by their weakened Quebec motherhouse. Until the 1960s, convents run by the Congrégation de Notre-Dame (CND) and other religious orders had flourished in Quebec, but during the Révolution tranquille, the Quebec government laicized education and healthcare, which dealt a blow to Catholic institutions.
(Please click on the image to enlarge it. Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A separation of Church and State was inevitable, but the work of the Dames de la Congrégation was linked with the founding of Montreal, not to mention both the preservation and growth of the French language in Quebec and the rest of Canada. Quebec may have been a “priest-ridden” province, but without its various religious orders and, among them, the Dames de la Congrégation, one wonders whether or not there would have been a Quebec to “reform.” As indicated in the Canadian Encyclopedia, “[u]nder Jean Lesage the Québec Liberal Party had developed a coherent, wide-ranging reform platform. The main issue of the election was indicated by the Liberal slogan, “It’s time for a change.” I wonder, however, whether Premier Jean Lesage (10 June 1912 – 12 December 1980) realized that, in the case of Quebec, the line between Church and State was so very blurred that his “coherent, wide-ranging reform platform” could broaden to include an ideology that rivalled religion: sovereignty or separatism, as it was then called.
The Church in Quebec
As I wrote above although the separation of Church and State was unavoidable, Quebec’s ancien régime, metaphorically speaking, had been the Seigneurial system which was replaced by what could be called the Parochial system (my term). Quebec had parishes and, when cities started to sprout, they were a collection of parishes each of which had its schools, one for girls and one for boys, etc. Therefore, how would religious orders be replaced? There was too profound a gap to fill.
I am told that the formerly “priest-ridden” province is now a union-ridden province, which could be the case. I should think, however, that the dream of a sovereign province may also have helped replace the Parochial system. History has yet to render its verdict, but the Révolution tranquille may well have supplied ample room to French-speaking Quebecers who had wanted an independent Quebec since the Act of Union was promulgated, in 1841. That year the patriotes lost their Lower Canada which they believed was truly theirs. At any rate, the changes were more extensive than Premier Lesage had foreseen. There had long been nationalists among Québécois but, as of the 1960s, these nationalists were active separatists and among them there were terrorists. Therefore, it may be that sovereignty or separatism filled the profound gap I mentioned.
24 June 1968
The gentleman I escorted to Saturday’s elegant dinner told me that, on 24 June 1968, he was standing a few feet away from Pierre Bourgault (23 January 1934 – 16 June 2003), a leading séparatiste. June 24th is Quebec’s national holiday: the Saint-Jean-Baptiste. When the yearly parade reached parc La Fontaine, in Montreal, my friend personally saw a group of hooligans join Pierre Bourgault who started the riot by screaming “le Québec aux Québécois,”“le Québec aux Québécois,” (Quebec for Quebecers). The hooligans, he said, first lifted a police car and put it on its head. There were 292 arrests and 123 persons were injured, 43 of whom were members of the police force. Some of the police horses were also injured. Pierre Elliott Trudeau (18 October 1919 – 28 September 2000), the Prime Minister of Canada, was in attendance and refused to be taken away to safety.
It’s been 45 years. Although Pierre Bourgault later revealed his role in the riot, he was never charged for the criminal behaviour I just described. Rioters may have been targeting Pierre Trudeau, but the 1968 riot was, so to speak, self-inflicted terrorism, which is puzzling. Moreover, when bombs were placed in mailboxes, these could cause injury to anyone, including Québécois and, perhaps, separatists. I then remembered the 1970 October Crisis. On 5 October 1970, Quebec terrorists abducted James Cross, CMG, but the person they assassinated was Pierre Laporte (25 February 1921 – 17 October 1970), Quebec’s very own Labour Minister. Given the above, it could well be that separatism, later called souveraineté-association and souveraineté, did replace the Church, not altogether, but to a greater or lesser extent. Only crusaders are capable of such intensity and somewhat incomprehensible behaviour.
And now, Quebec is losing investors. Matters were worse in 1977, just after René Lévesque (24 August 1922 – 1 November 1987), was elected to the Premiership of Quebec. But, financially, Quebecers are nevertheless suffering, which they may not realize. Yet, Canada is an officially bilingual country where the rights of French-speaking Canadians are respected.
As for my colleagues who were losing their residence and convent, that loss reflects, first and foremost, the needs of a new generation of students. More modern residences had been built. However, I believe my colleague’s losses are also linked to the weakening of religious orders in Quebec. The Congrégation de Notre-Dame is a Montreal religious order. Quebec remembers its founders, but the Church is no longer the powerful institution it had been since the seventeenth century.
I am providing links to French-language videos showing the 24 June 1968 Saint-Jean-Baptiste day riot. It seems these cannot be embedded. But I am also inserting a little video showing patriotesbeing taken to the gallows. The music is “À la claire fontaine,” perhaps the most Québécois of Québécois songs: an unofficial anthem.
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.
On 3 December, after being held hostage for 62 days, kidnapped British Trade Commissioner James Cross is released by the FLQ Liberation Cell in return for their being granted safe passage to Cuba by the government of Canada after approval by Fidel Castro. They are flown to Cuba by a Canadian Forces aircraft.
On 23 December, Pierre Trudeau announces that troops will withdraw from Quebec on 5 January 1971.
On 28 December, members of the Chénier cell, who murdered Pierre Laporte, are arrested.
— Chénier Postcard
There are times when political leaders take a strong stand against persons who put explosives in mailboxes, threaten the bulk of society or kidnap important figures. Trudeau was criticized for involving the army in what was a serious crisis but not a war. He was condemned by Civil Libertarians. Pierre Elliott Trudeau would not allow what he thought was nonsense.
The Chénier cell, Pierre Laporte’s murderers, was named after Jean-Olivier Chénier, a medical doctor and patriote who was killed as he was leaving the burning church were many of the men he had led into battle had found refuge during the battle of Saint-Eustache (14 December 1738) FR. He died at the age of 31, but his memory lingers. He’s a saint to Indépendantistes and there was a celebration in Saint-Eustache on 10 May 2012: la Journée des patriotes.
During the October Crisis, 497 persons were arrested under the War Measures Act, 435 were released, 62 were charged and “32 were accused of crimes of such seriousness that a Quebec Superior Court judge refused them bail.” (October Crisis, Wikipedia.)
These are truly useful sites. Would however that we could make sure voters read these posts. They may never read them, but US citizens can make sure his or her “neighbour” goes to the Election Polls.
WordPress authors are supplying excellent rhetoric, but I believe that those of you who live in the United States should perhaps consider making sure one of your neighbour votes. I’m using the singular: one, instead of the plural, because it may not be possible for one person to speak to more than one other person. One has to be realistic. But you could make a difference. What if that person is not on the list of voters or needs a ride to the Election Poll, etc.
Scars from flagellation (whipping)
(Cicatrices de flagellation)
Moreover, a thought that came to my mind about a month ago has started to make sense. Not long ago, some persons who are now the bad apples among Republicans were slave owners. This could help explain why they do not want to pay taxes and why their money is deposited in offshore accounts. This could also help explain why too many jobs are shipped abroad.
These people bought and owned people, and it was not illegal to do so. In fact, by and large, owning slaves was not even viewed as unethical.
In short, for many Republicans, the Civil War (1861–1865) may not be over. The river runs deep…
David (Plouffe), it’s a game, but it’s a nasty game…
Congress did not pass a bill that would have prevented an increase in taxes and, once again, I see the robotic naysayers, Tea Party and hardline Republicans, rearing their not-so-pretty head.
I have suggested in earlier blogs (see Obstructionism and Scapegoating) that these naughty Republicans are trying to find fault with President Obama, by fabricating “errors” he has made: the classic set-up. They have nothing to pin on him, and this last “error” is proof of bad faith on their part. At the last minute (it’s always at the last minute: debt-ceiling crisis, etc.), when members of Congress are preparing to go home for the holidays, the robotic naysayers object to what they would normally accept and, once again, those who will be burdened are the ordinary people.
This is systematic and abusive posturing. It shows callousness and I hope sincerely that US taxpayers can see despite the smokescreens. Members of Congress can oppose a bill, but when members of Congress do so systematically and contrary to what they would normally do, they have crossed the line.
Moreover, the current situation calls for changes in the Constitution. It is obvious that the President of the United States should be allowed to help his nation, but his hands are tied. Basically, the President of the US is little more, which is a lot, than Commander-in-chief of the armed forces and the public face of the United States.
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Sorry, but President Obama should also be able to care for the Nation that has elected him into office, but he is facing systematic obstructionism and scapegoating. As I wrote above, the naysayers in Congress will say no and are now saying no to what they would otherwise approve. That shows that they are robots and that the only game in town is politicking. The welfare of millions of Americans should not be irrelevant.
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“Just watch me,” Pierre Elliott Trudeau
Therefore, I would suggest that President Obama take the bull by the horns, say: enough, basta,genug and ça suffit, and bring in public opinion to remove unconscionable Republicans from Congress. President Obama would be dealing with an enemy within, but an enemy of the nation is an enemy of the nation. When dissenters do not know how far they can go too far, let the President declare the American equivalent of Canada’s War Measures Act, now the Emergencies Act (1988) and say, “just watch me,” as did Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, in October 1970: the October Crisis.
These naysayers are acting so irresponsibly that merely sending them to Camp Shelby, Mississippi,* might not suffice. They should be sent to Guantanamo where they belong. If the President can be impeached, it would seem that disorderly and dishonorable conduct on the part of members of Congress should also be impeachable.
Although tacit, the “good-father-to-the-nation” clause is constitutionally acceptable and imperative. As we all know, there is both the spirit and the letter of the law, and the spirit overrides the letter. J.-J. Rousseau’s concept of “natural justice” (The Social Contract) would also support rebuttal on the part of the President and his administration.
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Dear President Obama
Dear President Obama, you have no choice. The nation should not act against itself during your presidency. Get on the airways and pounce on the villains!