A war on our history

A few separatist agitators have managed to sweep away a part of Canada’s history

by From the Editors

A war on our history

The claim that history is written by the winners doesn’t apply to Canada. Our history is written by the whiners. This week’s cancellation of the re-enactment of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham at Quebec City is another lamentable moment in the troubling politicization of Canadian history.

Quebec separatist groups, some making vague threats of violence, expressed outrage over plans for the 250th anniversary of the most famous battle ever fought on Canadian soil. Any recognition of the fact the English won the Battle of Quebec, effectively ending French rule in Canada, is seen as a “humiliation” by hard-core separatists and evidence of “federalist propaganda.” The National Battlefield Commission, which administers the park, dutifully cancelled the re-enactment to avoid offending anyone.

While the move may keep a few loud-mouthed complainers at bay—and thousands of eager re-enactors at home—acquiescence of this sort does grave damage to our identity as a country. Serious historians acknowledge that those few minutes outside the walls of Quebec City on Sept. 13, 1759, marked the most important single event in post-contact North America. The battle’s immediate result was to seal the fate of New France and leave the continent in British hands. It also signalled the end of Aboriginals’ control over their own destiny. And the financial cost of victory in the Seven Years War led Britain to raise taxes on its American colonies, precipitating a revolution 17 years later. The foundations for both Canada and the United States were laid that day. This is historical fact. Ignoring it does not make it go away.

Curiously, last week several separatist Quebec politicians attended a ceremony honouring five patriotes who were hanged by the British following the defeat of the Rebellion in Lower Canada in 1837. But what makes one such event worth celebrating and another a trigger for outrage and violence? It is a self-delusional pursuit to allow political groups to cull historical events into acceptable and unacceptable incidents.

Other countries do not seem to suffer from this same fear of their own past. The Battle of Gettysburg was similarly a conclusive defeat for the Confederacy. Yet Americans from both the North and South manage to participate in annual re-enactments without animosity or threats. They are able to recognize the event for what it is—a significant and non-political event that defined a nation.

We lack this ability, as witnessed by the outrage-driven political revisionism of the Battle of Quebec, bombing campaigns of the Second World War, the Riel Rebellions and numerous other episodes. We are losing the war against our own history

A mature and confident Canada ought to be able to consider its own past without fretting about who might complain. And the complainers might even come to a greater appreciation for their own condition. The terms of surrender for Quebec drafted by British Gen. James Wolfe, who died on the battlefield that day, established the protection of Quebec’s unique culture, language, law and religion that has since become the hallmark of modern Canada’s identity. It seems a fact worth celebrating. Or at least acknowledging.

Our readers were quick to respond to our editorial in the March 2 issue, which hit newsstands last week. Here’s a sample from our Inbox:

The column “A war on our history” (From the Editor’s Desk, Mar. 2), regarding the late, lamented re-enactment of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham made my day! I have had smoke coming out of my ears every since learning of the pusillanimous decision of the National Battlefield Commission to cancel this historic event, which shaped the entire future of the North America. The Canadian government, and the Canadian people, have bent over backwards to accommodate Quebec’s sensibilities, but the separatists behave like recalcitrant and immature children who want revenge, no matter how petty. Your column put it succinctly when it said “our history is written by the whiners.” Bravo!
Ruth Craig, Mississauga, Ont.

Your editors say that Canadian history is “written by the whiners” and then go on to prove it. The remainder of the article is one long whine about separatists and “political revisionism.” English Canada seems to have swallowed a big chunk of British myth-making. Certainly, the Battle of the Plains of Abraham was important, but the whole thing was an episode in the Seven Years’ War, a worldwide imperial war involving not only the British and the French, but also Prussia, Russia, Spain and others. The North American episode ended with the Treaty of Paris when France traded Quebec to Britain in return for Guadeloupe and Martinique. Instead of dressing men up in costumes and having them shoot blanks at each other, why not re-enact the
Treaty of Paris? It is not surprising that some French Canadians feel that re-enacting a battle which represented a defeat for some of their ancestors is an attempt to humiliate them. Instead of pretending to be imperial cannon fodder, let’s act like grown-ups.
John K. Collins, Winnipeg

Most Canadians do not or refuse to understand that Quebec separatists have never accepted the battle at the Plains as a defeat but, rather, a tie game. They have been playing the overtime period for 250 years and will continue to play until they win. Any losses or setbacks they incur are brushed off by blaming the feds, the English language “threat” or minorities that refuse to see the world through their prism.
Jacob Kasperowicz, Kirkland, Que.

The decision to cancel the Battle of the Plains of Abraham re-enactment is regrettable. It is especially sad because it should be celebrated, not for who won the short skirmish but for its aftermath. It is in the vested self-interest of separatists to trumpet an imagined insult when they say the re-enactment would have been a slight to their French heritage. Rather, it was the enlightened articles of the “capitulation” agreement after the cessation of hostilities that led to the 1763 Treaty of Paris, that gave New France the guarantees that preserved its culture. The treaty broke with common practice—think of the Acadian expulsion in the years before—and granted unprecedented rights of religion, language and education that reinforced and protected the culture of the former French subjects who now found themselves under British rule. Without this pivotal point in history, French in Quebec today would probably be like it is in Louisiana: a quaint Cajun cultural tourist attraction and possibly not even an official language. All Canadians should be celebrating this anniversary, but perhaps none more so than the Quebecois.
Peter Goldring, Member of Parliament, Edmonton East

Personally, I think it was a good move to cancel the re-enactment of the Battle on the Plains of Abraham. Ever since 1759 this little battle has been a sore point with every generation of French Canadians. Why would the rest of Canada want to flaunt “our” win in glowing colours and graphic productions? As a federal employee, I loved working with my French-speaking
collegues in Ottawa and Quebec. They have a joie de vivre that seems to be lacking here in the West. I  very much appreciate what their culture has given to Canada. Could we not use this anniversary to let Quebec know how much they are appreciated?
G. A. Teske, Sherwood Park, Alta.

It’s time to move on, to stop dressing up, brandishing muskets, pikes and tomahawks. There is much more to write about in our nation than the nostalgic foolishness to which you devote a page.
Gordon M. Clark, Summerland, B.C.




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A war on our history

  1. so why are *you* whining then? so sorry sunshine, no reenactment of violence for you. bait much?

    ””The remainder of the article is one long whine about separatists and “political revisionism… why not re-enact the Treaty of Paris? It is not surprising that some French Canadians feel that re-enacting a battle which represented a defeat for some of their ancestors is an attempt to humiliate them. Instead of pretending to be imperial cannon fodder, let’s act like grown-ups….”’…John K. Collins, Winnipeg
    my sentiments exactly.

    • Finally some common sense and respect.

      Thanks

      A friend from Québec

  2. Isn’t there a big Quebec Festival held every year on the plains of Abraham? Whats the french word for irony?

  3. Why is so important to glorify war? We are not normally a warmongering nation. But since harper’s election we have become warmongers. Just look at how much is being wasted on war toys. But to remember a battle that humiliates a group in our society is just rubbing the salt in the wound, one of the reformers traits. Isn’t that what rememberance day is for? They come off as blood thirsty savages, like the yanks and their war glory.

    • Er, Boer War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Gulf War 1, Afghanistan (started under direction from a Liberal government). I look forward to seeing the back of Harper myself, but to say the Conservatives have turned us into warmongers overlooks historical fact.

  4. “The Battle of Gettysburg was similarly a conclusive defeat for the Confederacy. Yet Americans from both the North and South manage to participate in annual re-enactments without animosity or threats.”

    Oh Good lord, I’d rather not use the Americans as an example of how we should consider war or history.

    • Yes those nasty Americans. We here in Canada like to hide our heads in the sand as we get ripped off, screwed, etc. When was the last time a corprate criminal was put in prison here? Why did we require those nasty Americans to finally put Conrad Black, Alan Eagleson, Bennie Ebberts in jail for their financial malfesance. They would never have seen a day in jail here. I don’t see your argument about the way Americans from the North and South have come to terms with their common history. You seem to indicate we should capitulate to the artsy-fartsy sepratist crowd, who by the by, make their living on Canada Council grants producing “art” no one would pay a dime to see. You would prefer to appease traitors, rewrite history and do God knows what else, just as long as we don’t hurt anyone’s feelings. Well I hope you intend to keep paying these blackmailers for another 400 years. I for one, and I think I have a lot of company, are getting rather weary of putting up with the BS from a handfull of malcontents. I seriously doubt the majority of Quebecers give a rat’s ass about the Plains of Abraham.

      • I couldn’t have said it better myself, but you put it so eloquently, “Yes those nasty Americans.” The same americans who started a false war in iraq, sure saddam was a pain in the butt, but the same can be said of the north Korean leaded, kim jong ill, Why aren’t the americans stepping in and taking him out? The americans put on their re-enactments, but they look so ridiculous, and laughable. The south puts on their version, but in their version they win. Where do I indicate we should capitulate to the “artsy fartsy” “sepratist” crowd. You and your categorizing and generalising makes no sense. Your reasoning is if I’m against war i’m an art lover, give me a break, If we’er going to stereotyping, you must be a war loving blood thirsy fan of death.

        • Wait a second, hold up, Wayne Moores. Who could you possibly be addressing? Who mentioned anything about the Canada Council for Arts? I’m not sure this is the right time for you to unload some weirdo arts chip off your shoulder. Way to discredit whatever insight you might lend to this re-enactment hoopla.

        • No, I am no “war loving blood thirsty fan of death”. Actually I have two university degrees, one of them being a degree in history. So by using your logic, we are to assume anyone who has an interest or a degree in history, or I guess the truth, has to be a war monger. As for the criminal activity of that bonehead Bush and the rest of his neocon administration, were it up to me they too would be in prison. What annoys the hell out of me is the smug attitude of many Canadians like you, with your instant, knee jerk hatred of all things American. Looking back the last couple of centuries Canada hasn’t faired too badly with America as it’s neigbour. Ask the people of Central Europe or Tibet how much “fun” it’s been living next to Russia or China. As for your remark about how civil war battles are recreated, you obviously havn’t a clue what you are talking about. These recreations are done with maticulious detail as they actually happened. I have never heard or read anywhere that the South was revising history. We here in Canada seem to have cornered that doubious distinction.

          • What annoys the hell out of me is the smug attitude of many Canadians like you, with your instant, knee jerk hatred of all things American

            *ding ding ding* We have the appearance of the word “smug!”

            My day is made.

          • It’s OK for you to stereo type or categorize people but when it’s done to you, your all offended. I never would have guessed you were educated, never mind had degrees. You sound like a blood thirsty warmonger. Maybe you should stop generalizing. I doubt you would like it to much if I called you a traitor, blackmailer, or a malcontent, well maybe the last one, by the way, the US is just as bad as any of those countries you named, it should be part of the axis of evil.

      • @wayne moores “Yes those nasty Americans…

        whatever…

        i have American family; Albertan family, Quebec family, international family whom i love… nice try to use reverse psycho in trying to pit us vs them, French v. English; either you need to grow up or you need to retire. but you seriously need to upgrade your attitude.

        what a self-defeatist tone i read in your post; at least *i* believe in Canada and know that we get the govt we allow here. you “how come we don’t and the Americans do”-whine like crime is run amok here or somethin’.

        as for the art and culture thing? don’t sing the song of grace called “O Canada” it was written by a Quebecker. in fact, don’t sing any song, don’t salute the flag either; that was created by an artisan as well; you are very ungrateful.

        your meanness belongs a minority of Canadians who know better and do better everyday.

        • excuse me; i meant to say “your meanness belongs to a minority of Canadians; but most of us Canadians know better and do better everyday.”

  5. Or we could follow the Ulster example where for generations orange and green have marched about to commemorate 200 hundred year old atrocities committed in response to someone beating a drum and marching about to commemorate a previous atrocity.

    People came here to get away from that kind of nationalist sabre rattling and strife. Both the enactors and their vocal opponents should find a new hobby.

  6. I’m rather disturbed by the negative attitudes towards historical re-enactments that I’ve been hearing. Military history is history as well, and it had its impact. Getting dressed up in the gear, using the equipment, marching or doing formations over a particular set of terrain is valuable to gain insights in how the battle was fought, and how they dealt with various challenges. If the battle of the Plains of Abraham isn’t revisited from time to time, an important historical research tool about that period of history would be lost. Though nobody is denying it can be a lot of fun and a good excuse to picnic.

    A good story that would put this into perspective would be a documentary on Roman soldiers I once watched. There they were re-enacting setting a camp, using tools, marching in full gear, etc, while being watched by historians. One thing that struck the historians watching those doing the re-enacting (largely soldiers from the British military) was that they took the linings out of their helmets and were using them as wool hats because their ears were freezing. It was a eureka moment for the historians watching, because it makes so much sense, but someone might have never thought of that application for the helmet linings just looking an a recovered artifact.

    I put it to you good folks that historical re-enactments of battles thus serve an important academic purpose as well as a recreational one.

  7. Hey Jacob Kasperowicz!

    How about a one way trip down Hwy 401? I thought we were done with west island rhodesians like you. The good old days are over, pal. You don’t want to live in a french speaking society? Great! There is a wonderful place called Ontario about 1h from your house. There you’ll be able to team up with around 400 000 fellow former quebec residants, angry-anglos who could not accept the new reality of Quebec. One in which francophones want to be like any modern and developped society in the world (like in Canada for example!), i.e. a society where new comers accept to learn the local language of the majority, French. Not that they have to forget their mother tongue or that they should not learn any other languages. But by deciding willingly to move to Quebec, they decide to join a French-speaking society. It’s just normal they accept that they’ll have to live in French in the public space. It’s like that in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary… Only in Mtl should it be accepted that 30% of downtown stores cannot do business in the language of the majority. Can you image an anglophone being refused service in English downtown Vancouver by a Chinese shopkeeper?

    That battle re-enactment was a disgrace for Canada. A country which is supposed to have been built on a partnership of two nations.

    So again, if you can’t accept the reality of Quebec, just pack up and leave. I’ll gladly drive you down to the border if you need a ride.

    • They will also join many Quebecois (like my father) who left la belle province because the mere prospect of separatism scared away the jobs.

      PS: if you are so concerned about mother tongues, how good is your Huron?

  8. All this debate is pathetic. One one-side you have this minority of hard-line separatists living in the past and that are always eager to sparkle this kind of controversy at every opportunity. One the other hand, you have all these Quebec bashers considering that my fellow Quebeckers have never contributed to the canadian journey.Unfortunately, whiners from both sides of the Ottawa River are heard more loudly in the media and this is a shame.

    There is no net advantage for Quebec to leave the federation, but also Canadians must realise, and I still believe that the majority are realising, that our different culture, language and institutions are far more positive for Canada than few sterile controversies.

    Christian Martel
    Montreal, QC

  9. The issue here is not nationalism. It is denying a historic event…and sacrificing a defining point in North American History. The Plains Battle…the later Proclamation, the American Independence, the war of 1812…all of these are interconnected. Reenactment can be a public history lesson in what occured and does not need to be along nationalistic ideals.

    History first…

  10. “denying a historic event”?
    What B.S.! This is an attempt by Anglo red-necks, both in the West Island and elsewhere, to celebrate “their” victory over the French. Celebrating this battle, like the Battle of the Boyne in Northern Ireland, is a ritual to affirm Anglo superiority in Quebec. The outrage and vitriol flowing from its cancellation shows to what extent it is an ehtnic gesture, that would do the Rev Ian Paisley proud.

    The “enactors” could easily have prepared to re-enact what was historically the real last battle, in 1760, that of St. Foy on virtually the same site. It was bigger, bloodier, and more spectaculcar. However, the French won and the Britsh fled back to their fort, abandoning their guns and their wounded. The real victors were the Royal Navy that defeated the French fleet and then delivered reinforcements to relieve the surrounded British garrison. The French Army later formally surrendered in Montreal, after buring its colours.

    By ignoring these historical facts, the would-be enactors reveal their real motivation of distorting history and denying the brave fight of the French regualrs, but as well, the Canadian Militia and thier Indian allies. The fate of Canada was decided by the Royal Navy and the Treaty of Paris; the footsoldiers of both sides fought bravely to a strategic draw. THIS is what the rednecks have trouble admitting. AND this is why their re-enactment is unacceptable in modern Canada.

    • But Ste. Foy isn’t until next year.

      Was this reenactment really planned by crazed bigots? Where is the evidence of that? I’ve met some of those NBC guys and a) they’re francophone and b) they’re mild-mannered historians. I think this was just somebody’s half-baked idea of a fun thing to do. After all, what on earth could be gained by a triumphalist display of Orange Order bigotry at this date, for Heaven’s sake?!? If the NBC had had some nefarious scheme to rally the sovereignist troops, they couldn’t have come up with anything better than this. So it would make more sense if they were separatist <agents provocateurs or something.

  11. It may be that a South African analogy is more appropriate here. I don’t recall the defeat of the Zulu being re-enacted, since that defeat resulted in a minority dominating a majority. The same happened in Quebec. When I was a professor at the Concordia business faculty, the reality of the “conquest” was brought home daily at the corner of Guy and St. Catherine, where I banked. The TD Canada Trust building was from an earlier time, where proudly displayed at the top of the building were the words “Bank of Toronto”–absolutely no French. Similarly, as recently as the late 1960s, one of my superiors at Revenue Canada Taxation (now the Canada Revenue Agency) recalled how, in response to his speaking French in a store, he was told by another customer to “speak white”.

    It is important to keep in mind that, following the defeat at the Plains of Abraham, the commerce of Quebec was largely controlled by the English. This didn’t even start to change until the late 1960s, in response to the “quiet revolution”. The effects of the Plains of Abraham defeat are far more current than one might at first suspect.

    • Depending on how old you are, of course, 1960 was just yesterday.

      • Ho, ho…

        • Seriously, got a timetable for when Quebec is allowed to have its history back from the clutches of les anglais? Twenty years from now? The moment the last person who was insulted with “speak white” dies? Three generations from now? Or . . . why not tomorrow? For me, tomorrow itself is too slow in coming when it’s clear what the right thing to do is.

    • The South African analogy applies, but not as you invoke it. The Zulus invaded South Africa from the north (following some Bantu migrants) about the same time as the Dutch and British began to move north from Capetown and its environs. The local population (Bushmen) was ground up between them. It was a battle between invading peoples that the Zulus lost.

      So too in Quebec, the invading British and French states fought over Canada, destroying the local population in the process, and one side bartered away their position in favor of another position elsewhere.

  12. March.2nd, 2009

    Macleans Magazine

    Dear Editor:

    I was just recently reading your article on the cancellation of the re-enactment of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City called ,“ A war on our History.” The re-enactment has offended some separatists, as is understandable. I am definitely supportive of the National Battlefield’s decision to cancel the re-enactment, even though I do not share the views of Quebec separation or the writer’s.

    As known, Quebec has continually felt as though they do not truly belong as part of Canada. They have looked at English-Canada as a different society from themselves, and as if their identity is being lost here. These feelings are evident despite the government’s many attempts to adjust to Quebec’s needs. The situation of Quebec is a very fragile one especially after all the incidents that have taken place, such as European colonization, to the October Crisis. French- Canadians and Quebeckers still feel as though English- Canadians overpower them, and dominate, even though they have made their best efforts to show otherwise.

    With this being said, given Quebec’s hard feelings after all that has taken place, we must consider that these emotions are still very shaky. Thus, the re-enactment was obviously going to strike up some old and still present views. Even though it was intended as a harmless, innocent, and patriotic act, it still was not considering what this battle symbolized for the French. I admit, it is important to celebrate history and look into it for identity and growth, however, not at the cost of offending people who are just as much part of this country. Even though the writer states that “it is a historical fact [and] Ignoring does not make it go away”, celebrating such an act also does not help with Canada’s current situation. We are obligated to make the French-Canadians feel as much at home and appreciated as we can. Not only through governmental policies but also through our actions as people.

    The writer also states that this was just a way for politicians to decide which historical events are acceptable and which aren’t, and that Canada should be able to celebrate its history without complainers. I agree that Canada should be able to celebrate its history peacefully. I am on no level supporting the violence used by Quebec separatists. However, I do agree that as long as this situation remains with Quebec, that we should try our best to welcome them with little acts such as the cancellation of this re-enactment. Celebrating our history should consider all of our peoples’ feelings, both First Nations, and Quebeckers. Maybe after removing any feelings of inferiority and insecurity regarding self-identity, we can come together as a Nation and celebrate our history truly maturely.

    I was proud to hear that after hearing the views of some Quebeckers, The National Battlefield commission canceled the battles celebration. I am supportive of our history and our country’s accomplishments, however what is more important than the past is what we have learned from it. We have learned that as a country, we are made up of many different people and we must unite by respecting each other. I disagree that canceling would be damaging to our country’s identity, but on the contrary it showed that we have that respect needed to make us a great nation.

    Thank You,

    Olivia Charran

    Olivia Charran

    • Is this a parody?

        • Well, it was nicely written, but the mushy thinking and vapid cliches deployed for defending the yahoos who threatened this event and the spineless bureaucrat who canceled it that I hoped it was a parody.

          • I wouldn’t call the hope for peace and harmony “mushy thinking.” She’s writing a sensible letter to the editor, not a ruthless-hack-and-slash comment to a blog. To every genre its style.

  13. «James Wolfe, who died on the battlefield that day, established the protection of Quebec’s unique culture, language, law and religion that has since become the hallmark of modern Canada’s identity.»

    What a farce ! That is the most comical comment I have read in a long time. Before the Conquest, Canada was a nearly 100% francophone , now, 250 years later, francophones in Canada are about 22% and get every year lower.

    • In 1759 there were maybe 100,000 in Nouveau France. Today there are about 6 million Quebecois, and many more Acadians and others. Yes, francophones are a lower percentage of the total, but they are wealthier and far more numerous than ever before.

  14. Merci, MacLean !
    Messieurs les Anglais !
    Heureuse Conquête !
    Il ne faut pas renier les bons côtés de la domination de l’Amérique du Nord par les Anglais. Ces derniers ont fait subir un nettoyage ethnique aux Acadiens. Pas grave, à peine la moitié des déportés acadiens en sont morts ! Ça aurait pu être pire ! Les Anglais ont attaqué les Canadiens de la vallée du St-Laurent. Peu importe, ils ont tué à peine dix mille Canadiens ! Le beau côté des choses, c’est que soixante mille Canadiens ont quand même survécu, même si les Anglais ont incendié villes et villages des Canayens. Un de nos conquérants anglais, le général Ahmerst, a été le premier à exterminer des Amérindiens en les contaminant à la petite vérole. Belle chose tout de même, que la guerre bio …logique ! Les Anglais et leurs descendants américains esclavagistes ont fait la traite des Noirs et répandu l’esclavage en Amérique. Ils ont aussi anéanti / décimé des centaines de nations amérindiennes qui vivaient ici. Pas grave. De toute façon, Noirs et Amérindiens sont-ils de vrais humains ? Ont-ils seulement une âme ?

    Merci pour tout, Messieurs les Anglais pour votre belle civilisation ! On en a eu de chance que l’Amérique ne soit pas française ! J’ai froid dans le dos juste à imaginer tous les ravages que les Français auraient pu causer en Amérique s’ils en avaient pris le contrôle à la place de nos magnanimes et supérieurs conquérants Anglais !

    • Bravo Mme Bordelau ! Il y a quand même des limites à se faire rire de nous. Wolfe le sauveur du Canada Français !!! Celle-là c’est la meilleure. Faut avoir du culot.

      Sachez chers amis Canadiens qu’une majorité de Québécois, tant fédéralistes que souverainistes, étaient contre cette honteuse reconstitution. Même Jean Charest, le Capitaine Canada qui nous sert de premier ministre, avait dit qu’il n’y assisterait pas.

    • L’ignorance manifestée ici par Mme. Bordeleau est étonnante, surtout quand on y voit l’appui de “Frontenac.”

      1. Personne au RDC n’a jamais nié que la déportation des Acadiens a été quelque chose d’affreux.

      2. “Les Anglais ont attaqué les Canadiens de la vallée du St-Laurent. Peu importe, ils ont tué à peine dix mille Canadiens !”

      Ils ont détruit les fermes au côte du nord du St-Laurent et sur l’Île d’Orléans (la térritoire que Wolfe controllait). Ils n’ont jamais massacré la population canadienne, même si (naturellement) quelques uns ont été tués en défendants leurs fermes. La seule véritable massacre a été commis par un Capitaine Montgomery. Ils ont détruit Québec par le bombardement, mais d’où vient ce figure de “dix mille Canadiens”? C’est pas vrai de tout.

      3. “Un de nos conquérants anglais, le général Ahmerst, a été le premier à exterminer des Amérindiens en les contaminant à la petite vérole.”

      C’est vrai qu’il a fait ça, mais c’était à l’époch où les Amérindiens étaient en train de massacré et de scalper beaucoup de colons Britanniques aux bords des colonies (grâce à la politique de Vaudreuil). Les “droits humains” n’ont pas figuré dans ce conflit atroce.

      4. “Les Anglais et leurs descendants américains esclavagistes ont fait la traite des Noirs et répandu l’esclavage en Amérique.”

      Cela fait rire. Il n’y avait pas d’esclavage en Nouvelle France?? En Louisiane, et même au Québec?

      5. Ils ont aussi anéanti / décimé des centaines de nations amérindiennes qui vivaient ici.

      Ce qui ont fait aussi les Français, même si ce n’était pas l’intention: la plupart des nations amérindiennes ont été décimées (réduites en 10% de leurs populations) par les maladies communiquées entre eux, de source européenne, par l’interaction avec les commerçants. Il est vrai que le gouvernement des États Unis a souvent adopté une politique de génocide envers les Amérindiens, mais cela n’a rien à faire avec le RDC. Aussi, même si on peut féliciter l’ancien régime français sur son attitude moins génocidaire envers les Amérindiens, il faut noter qu’il n’avait pas la capacité de coloniser leurs térritoires.

      6. “De toute façon, Noirs et Amérindiens sont-ils de vrais humains ? Ont-ils seulement une âme ?”

      Qu’on demande cela des gouverneurs français d’Haïti, de Martinique, etc. L’idée que les Français n’avait rien à faire avec l’esclavage, ou qu’ils traitaient les Amériendiens de la même manière, est ridicule.

      7. “Merci pour tout, Messieurs les Anglais pour votre belle civilisation !”

      Tu parles à qui avec ça? Nous ne sommes plus “les Anglais” ici au RDC.

      8. “On en a eu de chance que l’Amérique ne soit pas française !”

      C’est vraiment étrange comment certains Québécois s’imaginent que, outre la guerre de Sept Ans, les Français auraient pu bel et bien garder contrôle de l’Amérique du Nord — sans colonisation, sans grande armée, et avec les colons des 13 Colonies désireux de conquérir de nouvelles térritoires. Le fait que l’ancien régime, gérant une population européenne à peine deux fois plus grande que celle d’Angleterre, ne se soit jamais chargé de coloniser l’Amérique, alors qu’on y trouvait 1.5 million de colons anglais en Amérique en 1757 face à seulement 60 000 Canadiens, nous indique que la France n’aurait pas pu garder le Mississippi, l’Ohio, etc.

      Je ne réponds pas au sarcasme offensive de ton message. Voilà la voix de quelqu’un qui vit encore avant la révolution tranquille.

  15. The British have conquered Nouvelle France from the French but not Canada and neither the Canadien nation.

    The canadian federation has replaced Nouvelle France, but the original country called Canada is still in the Saint-Laurent Valley and its Canadien nation still living there as Québécois.

    The reenactment of the battle on the Plaines that was proposed was innapropriate for the Canadien nation because it was all centered on the British and French, while the Canadiens involved in this battle and were fighting for their country Canada were totally ignored.

    That many Canadiens today also call themselves Québécois dont mean that the Canadiens’ history and heritage has disapeared.

    The good thing out of all this is that it reminded everyone of who is the real Canadien nation.

  16. I’ve fought in each referendum to encourage Quebeckers to stay in Canada, but the tail is now wagging the dog. It’s time to let them go, folks. Nay, encourage them to go. We’ll all be better off.

  17. I have always believed Canada to be the only country in North America to be straightforward when it comes to its own history. All facts are presented in documentaries, school textbooks, non-fiction books, etc. without embellishing who won and playing down who lost. The United States glorifies its own history, unacknowledging it losses and oopsies, in order to fill its citizens heads with patriotism and propaganda. The one thing these separatists can`t say is that they are misrepresented with insubstantial facts, and for that reason, should hang their heads with shame. It`s time for them to suck-it-up-buttercup and realize that, although they might not like it, they are a part of Canada and no stomping of feet and shaking of fists is going to change history to prove otherwise. They present themselves as if they are already a nation of their own and those who support these separatists are jaded and misguided.

  18. Sarah, the mere fact of suggesting that this re-enactment was cancelled by a small 15 members of a innocent separatist group (you should visit their web site and forum) is proof enough of the twisting and weeling of the true picture of this country by the federal govermment. If you think this indignation against this dedrading spectacle was the cry of only separatists, then this proves how wrong you are with your vision of a straightforward canadian govermment on historical issues.

    The USA made hundreds of documentaries, films, feature films, with all points of views of their history. The very first Hollywood feature film (1915) was about american history (The Birth of a Nation) and the point of view is quite chocking. There have been, scince then, hundeds others from the point of view of natives, southeners, northeners, blacks, Jews, Irish, etc…

    That, Sarah, is called culture.

    I have not seen ANY canadian feature film on Canada’s history, other that the separatist Pierre Falardeau (1837) who is said to be close to those 15 innofencive separatist group accused of being the cause of this cancelation.

    The only respectable feature film on Canada’s history and prior to 1759 was an Australian film called Robe Noire.

    Your trying to make us swallow history repression for restraint of overembellishment says it all.

    • Well that is interesting considering that the Quebec PROVINCIAL government has a lot of sway on culture spending. So it isn’t just a sinister cabal of Anglos that have suppressed a separatist view of history – Parti Quebecois governments have evidently done so as well. Moreover, why are you looking at feature films? Canada’s domestic film industry is tiny (a lot of American movies are made here). We don’t generally make feature films, and if we do, nobody hears about them. Bon Cop Bad Cop recently broke Canadian box office records… which were held by Porky’s – a movie from the early 80′s.

      You also have clearly never taken history in Ontario. Our history classes are strongly slanted (I DO agree that Sarah is wrong), and teach us that Louis Riel shouldn’t have been hung, that the Manitoba school act was bad, and that the Conscription crisis was a mistake – generally from the perspective of “poor poor Quebec”. The CBC recently ran a revisionist history documentary that redid the trial of Louis Riel, but found him innocent. Canadian history classes are all about the kind of guilt you guys want us square-heads to feel.

      I think backing down on the reenactment was a mistake, because it buys into the most important of the separatist myths – that Quebec was conquered. That myth presupposes that the French were great, enlightened and beneficient rulers, when in fact they were far from it. Quebec was not conquered, so much as it changed empires. Moreover to presuppose that 1759 was a CONQUEST implies that Quebec is not distinct from France and runs contrary to the notion that les Quebecois are a distinct cultural entity.

      “Stop beign parasites and make yourselves a country of your own and a culture of your own.”

      I DO believe that Quebec is a nation in the sociological sense, just as I believe English Canada is one as well, distinct from Britain and the US. I reject, however, the notion of national self-determination. What is a nation but some random sorting of people based on the accident of birth. What really matters is that all members of both nations are individuals – whose rights are protected by the charter. No rational person with liberal democratic intentions would demand secession in that setting, particularly when Quebec is a net winner of Canadian federalism.

      So why does separatism persist (apart from the lack of willingness among the English to debate the myths underpinning it)? Partly it is a sleight of hand tactic from your political elite (which separatists fall for), but there is also a core group of separatists who want to take away certain rights of natives, English Quebeckers and allophones. I will never countenance that, and that is why I take a hard line against separatism (and strongly dislike the “let them go” argument). That doesn’t mean we can’t discuss ways of getting at the root cause: you want to ensure the survival of your culture as something more than a minor tourist attraction like that in Louisiana.

      So that is where I depart from many strong federalists. I can accept loi 101, decentralization of power, and so on, if it gets at preserving what I accept to be a distinct culture. You are right that Quebec can’t be bought off though.

      • “So it isn’t just a sinister cabal of Anglos that have suppressed a separatist view of history – Parti Quebecois governments have evidently done so as well.”(Hosertohoosier)

        I dont know many English canadians that are aware of that. You are one of the few. You are right about the Parti Quebecois, but wrong on the separatist view of history. The small 15 persons group called RRQ was used by both the federal and PQ to downplay the real indignation from the Canadiens view of history.

        The PQ and PLQ Quebec parties are the left and right arm of the federal govermment. No doubt about that. The PLQ repress Canadiens’ history before 1759 and the PQ repress the Canadiens’ history before 1960, to create a “new” people called Quebecois. This “deal” between the two major Quebec parties maintains the division amongst the Canadiens majority in Quebec (about 50/50) and thus garanty themselves both parties rotation into power.

        To keep alive the federal myth, the PQ and PLQ created the Quebecois nation myth. Both myths are designed to suppress the Canadiens historical reality. Anyone who believes the PQ is a “separatist” party are living in the myth.

        “Canada’s domestic film industry is tiny (a lot of American movies are made here). We don’t generally make feature films, and if we do, nobody hears about them.”(Hosertohoosier)

        Exactly. But in Quebec, the Canadiens are producing and consuming the culture canadienne. Go into the houses outside Montreal where 80% of the Canadiens live, and in it’s capital Quebec city, and you will see they watch mostly their own cultural products, from all medias. For our small population, we produce an incredible amount of feature films and every Canadien in Quebec hears about them and consume them. But historical feature films are rejected by both parties.

        “Bon Cop Bad Cop recently broke Canadian box office records… which were held by Porky’s – a movie from the early 80’s.”(Hosertohoosier)

        Bob Cop Bad Cop is a perfect example. It is a totally bilingual “canadian” film with English canadians actors and Canadiens actors from Quebec. It broke the ROC’s (population of 24 million) box office record of the 1985 film Porky’s revenge with a population of only 6 million Canadiens. Bon Cop Bad Cop, up to 2006, had grossed 13 million $ in Quebec and only 1.3 million $ un the ROC.

        Porky’s revenge is a mile stone in what we can call the “destruction of the english canadian culture industry”. Simply look for cultural english production before 1980 and you will be amazed of it’s amount and quality. In those days and before, going down to the 60′s, I remember to have learned my english by watching english canadian TV. Remember Peter Gzowsky or Wayne & Shuster ? To name but a few ! Who needed american TV in those days ? It’s all gone now. English canadians dont even have a talk-show. We, in Quebec, have maybe 10 talk-shows, TV and radios !

        Only YOU, the english “canadians”, dont hear about them. No one hears about you guys either scince the 80′s ! You are all gone working to make american-jewish films and consuming american-jewish TV. The few you produce yourselves you now make not english canadians for english canadians but of american-jewish culture to be consumed by amrican-jewish myth consumers.

        Learn canadian history in Ontario ? If I have a advice for anyone looking to learn a country’s history, dont do your research it that country but in the books of a country close to it and that have no political reason to lie about it. If you want to learn about Canada’s history, read american books on it. Look into documents and theses in american universities.

        As for the “guilt” you say we want to impose on you, I dont see how we could achieve this if you are innocent. I dont feel guilt if I am innocent of something. The facts are the facts. If you feel guilt in front of those facts, it is your own problem. We cant change history just to make you feel good !

        “I think backing down on the reenactment was a mistake, because it buys into the most important of the separatist myths – that Quebec was conquered.”(Hosertohoosier)

        Well, that is a myth on all sides, not only “separatists”, because the Quebec province did not even exist in 1759. The British ruler created the Quebec govermment in 1763 and its territory was quite huge (ingolfing the great lakes). So, just like today, Canada (St-Laurent valley) was a territory inside Quebec province.

        “I DO believe that Quebec is a nation in the sociological sense, just as I believe English Canada is one as well, distinct from Britain and the US.”(Hosertohoosier)

        Now that is some myth. Quebec is a province and the ROC is also a collection of provinces. They are provincial govermments. Period. The Canadien nation is not only in Quebec but in all provinces. The Canadien nation is not a territorry, but a people. Stephen Harper understoud this perfectly when he said he recognized the Quebecois people as a nation and specified that those Quebecois people where those who called themselves Canadiens français under british rule and Canadiens before british rule. In other words the direct descendants of the Canadiens nation.

        English Canada is not a nation. The canadian federation is officialy a multicultural entity. There is no Canadian people. Read your constitution. English people from british descent make up one of the peoples in this multicultural federation. They dont form a nation like the Canadiens or Amérindiens and Inuits. You dont have any more nation status than the Chinese canadians in Vancouver or the Jamaïcan canadians in Toronto.

        (more on your comment, later)

        • I’m trying to imagine how far to the Right you have to be to imagine the PQ as an agent of the Canadian federal government.

      • “What really matters is that all members of both nations are individuals – whose rights are protected by the charter.”(Hosertohoosier)

        You too, just like Mitchell, think of yourself living in the 1867 confederation. It’s all gone. Scince 1982 you are no more a founding nation. Forget about your “two founding nations” myth. It’s gone.

        We have nothing to give a damn about your charter or constitution. We did not sign it and dont care about your multicultural federation, just like the other native nations dont.

        Cecession is a PQ fantasy.

        “Partly it is a sleight of hand tactic from your political elite (which separatists fall for),”(Hosertohoosier)

        Absolutely.

        “but there is also a core group of separatists who want to take away certain rights of natives, English Quebeckers and allophones.”(Hosertohoosier)

        Very small group. Those are the 15 “terrorists” in their Montreal basements.

        “That doesn’t mean we can’t discuss ways of getting at the root cause: you want to ensure the survival of your culture as something more than a minor tourist attraction like that in Louisiana.”(Hosertohoosier)

        Well that’s it. We still make 80% of Quebec population, but the PQ has usurped all of our institutions (cultural and economic) to transfer them to the state so that the elite can control them and feed it’s privileges (govermment syndicated workers). These make the “Quebec nation” the PQ defends. The State, not the people. It is not different for the English in Quebec who also are feeders of this elite. This elite is not only francophones but also anglophone. The PLQ and PQ work hand in hand to maintain this fascist state.

        “So that is where I depart from many strong federalists. I can accept loi 101, decentralization of power, and so on, if it gets at preserving what I accept to be a distinct culture.”(Hosertohoosier)

        If the Canadien nation would have not loose it’s institutions to the PQ after the Revolution Tranquille, we would never had needed a loi 101. We were in a healty competition with the English community and reaching same economic status. This healty competition is what was the problem for other provinces that had power over the federal govermment and also was a threat to the syndicate elite in the Quebec state upper public administrations.

        So now, the State make itself as the “protector” of both communities who have lost their independance and are totally dependant on the state.

        We are getting closer and closer to a communist state.

        • So you’re a fascist federalist, Gébé? I honestly did not know such people existed. Who says you don’t learn anything on these comment boards?

  19. This comment was deleted.

    • What an excellent example of said vomit you have penned.

      • You are welcome.

      • Bon appetit !

        • Surely you won’t leave us a mere apéritif of hate? We ordered the prix fixe.

          • Natural.

            The parasite’s worst fear is rejection from the host.

          • I fail to see how wanting to build a peaceful and harmonious society of two cultures in mutual respect and esteem can be considered parasitical.

            You aren’t Howard Galganov in disguise, by any chance?

          • Gébé, I can’t tell if your comments are serious or facetious.

            Correct me if I’m wrong about your claim:

            A culturally diverse pseudo-country of 25 million is feeding parasitically on the myths of an increasingly irrelevant linguistic island of 7 million, in order to establish some kind of national identity.

            Did I get this right?

          • A culturally diverse pseudo-country of 25 million is feeding parasitically on the myths of an increasingly irrelevant linguistic island of 7 million, in order to establish some kind of national identity.

            “Irrelevant?”…ZING!

            I’ll tell you, it’s not much of an insult to accuse French Canadians of irrelevance. It’s only the permanently colonised who worry about such things.

            I wouldn’t be so mean and dismissive as Gébé to call the ROC parasitic, but its constant inability to nurture its own cultural institutions and to stand up to its sneering elite who are always condemning them as unsophisticated or parochial drives me crazy.

            If it isn’t stamped with the US seal of approval, it’s discarded.

  20. why don’t they reenact the destruction of Africville too then? how about reenacting the arrival of African slaves here? (i understand that the Grey Nuns traded in slaves). or how about we reenact all the disgraceful embattlements and swindling and destructive things done to FN ppl past and present in order to swindle their land from them when they were actually leasing the land to the rest of us or wished to share the use of the land? any takers? [clearly i am being sarcastic].

    we are a country with an unusual identity which is fluid and adaptable; it’s why a lot of ppl like coming here and while many may at first refer to themselves as hyphenated Canadians (actually i know for a fact they are hyphenated by those who need to see difference), eventually the country seeps into their bones, their blood, and they come to call themselves Canadian/Canadien. it began with the environmentally responsible, creative and hospitable FN and ends with the last immigrant that came here today.

    while the Quebecois (sp?) are not perfect, they do deserve some respect and dignity from the “larger” culture; i believe they have cherished and protected their art and culture much more than English speaking Canada; the Quebecois should also be as generous to the FN ppl who, though fractured and genocided, still survive and still hold the key to the environment and respect for the land in this country.

    • You can’t equate the destruction of Africville with the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. The people of Africville were flat out victims, their historic community shamefully bulldozed. The Canadiens at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham have a lot to be proud of. The battle may have been a British victory overall, but the Canadians were the ones who saved the French army; and even the metropolitan troops fought with great bravery.

      As to reenacting FN events, have you bothered asking them? I don’t think the 6 Nations would be averse to reenacting some of their historical episodes, e.g. from 1812, and I don’t think the Métis would mind reenacting Fish Creek, say. (Do you know what I’m talking about or are you frantically googling these events?)

      I just don’t understand why the Battle of the Plains of Abraham has to be considered a moment of humiliation for the Canadiens of the time or for their Québécois descendants. It was a glorious defeat, followed shortly by a glorious victory at Ste. Foy. I know it’s taken as a symbol of the Conquest by lots of people on both sides, and has been for 250 years, but that’s mainly owing to the fact that nobody really looks at the facts and everybody (on both sides) buys into British imperial chauvinism. To heck with British imperial chauvinism.

      • i *can’t* or you just don’t want me to (not a hostile but a slightly cheeky observation). humiliating someone is no way to gain an understanding about them.

        btw, search engines are a good reference/clearinghouse/resource; great for minds that think at the speed of light. retention of facts while helpful, just makes you a great wet-storage, and is not necessarily a sign of great intelligence or genius; but it can date you based on the facts that you are acquainted with; and it might be a sign of tyranny of the fact-fighters and ppl who love to pontificate; otherwise someone like Henry Ford wouldn’t have had a chance. …no pt in googling for dollars right now to find out about Fish Creek. i note that you conveniently ignored my pt about the reenacting of FN’s being swindled and defrauded.

        i do recall a photographic exhibit in TO some years ago that portrayed so-called “blacks” in what many “blacks” would consider to be degrading/”victim”-type situations; it was pulled due to the sense of humiliation many felt about the depictions. now, if those “blacks” had a different experience of history in which their ancestors or close ancestors or simply “skin-tone” ancestors had been paid for their inventions and major contributions to society appropriately recognized and appreciated before that exhibit i’m certain it would have had a different reception.

        perhaps the problem, as i have come to see it, is in an unwillingness to understand or give credibility to why a ppl react adversely to something that seems benign to another. it takes two ears to hear with the mouth/speech disengaged; and i mean to imply “deep listening”; not lip-service that results in getting what you wanted to hear anyway; it takes effort and desire to do this.

        which causes me to come full circle back to you and wonder if *you* have even asked and given credibility to the Quebecker’s reactions and really gotten their angst over this?

      • You realy dont get it.

        You still hold to the federal lie that this was cancelled because of a group of 15 “indépendantists” in their Montreal’s house basement.

        Our indignation is not the defeat of the French. It is the fact that the organisers of this re-enactment were from outside and the Canadiens were ignored.

        Sorry, but this is Canadien’s land and this battle is our battle for Canada. We will make our own historical re-enactments, tank you.

  21. “I fail to see how wanting to build a peaceful and harmonious society of two cultures in mutual respect and esteem can be considered parasitical.”(Jack Mitchel)

    Whitch two cultures are you talking about ? The canadian federation is a constitutional multicultural state. Read your constitution. You signed it in 1982. You have no more nation or even founding status than a Chinese canadian in Vancouver.

    We, the Canadien people, have not signed that. We will never sign that.

    • On the off-chance that you are not just a fascist troll but authentically misguided, here goes.

      The Canadian state is a multicultural one, but the cultures involved are not monolithic and immutable. The Scottish Canadian nation, for example, to which I happen to belong, has evolved considerably over the centuries, owing to intermarriage, interaction with other cultures, and most of all to the passage of time. It is the natural tendency of cultures in close contact, particularly when joined by a linguistic bond, to grow together and share characteristics. The idea behind “multiculturalism” is that the state does not coerce those cultures into a single form but rather allows the interaction to happen naturally. For example, someone from Saskatchewan who is of mainly Ukrainian background would by now feel they had a great deal in common with someone from Toronto whose ancestors might have come from Ireland in the late 19th C, because in both cases their ancestors would have been living and working in Canada for many generations. Nevertheless, under multiculturalism, the state takes no position on which culture (if either) is “authentic”; and it may well do its best to preserve some aspects of the original immigrant cultures so as to enrich Canada and preserve its polyvalent heritage. As a result, many characteristics of the original immigrant cultures (in my case, a certain dourness and probably Protestant habits of thought) are retained. Thus a superculture, featuring many component cultures, emerges.

      Now, naturally, culture has a lot to do with language, since ideas are expressed in language first and foremost. We therefore speak of “two cultures in mutual respect and esteem” because on the one hand we have a French-language culture, which for demographic reasons corresponds closely with the Canadien/Québécois ethnic culture, and on the other a more diverse English-language culture of great diversity but of remarkable harmony, at least compared to other diverse societies around the world.

      Your model presumes that cultures are monolithic, so that the Canadien/Québécois nation is a single entity that does not evolve and does not interact with its surroundings. This is empirically false. There is no denying that the Canadien/Québécois nation is the oldest European culture in Canada and, as it were, the “senior” culture in Canada, but even though it is unique in that respect it does not follow that must inevitably be opposed to all the other evolving cultures on this continent. For one thing, it is not identical with French-speaking culture in Quebec, which now includes former allophones from all over the world and a good number of originally francophone cultures (e.g. from Haiti). Quebec may not be quite as diverse as Ontario but it’s still quite diverse, and thus a multicultural society whether you like it or not. The question is whether people like yourself, who evidently want to crush minority cultures in Quebec in the name of the Canadien/Québécois nation — fascism, basically — will prevail, or whether the vast majority of Quebeckers, who have no time for that kind of baroque corporatism, will be able to resist such extremism. The good news is I’m sure that they will, because I know the Québécois are a civilised and warm-hearted people, and that your days are consequently numbered.

      • The “Scotish canadian nation”.

        What have you being drinking ? :-)

        My poor fellow, only the native nations have been recognized in this canadian federation ; The Amerindiens nations, the Inuit nation, and the Canadien nation (by the federal assembly and Quebec assembly, by all political parties).

        • Whether a nation has official recognition or not has nothing to do with whether it exists. It doesn’t even have to be self-conscious. The Scots were very important in the history of Canada and their descendants still play a big role here.

          • Be serious,

            Scots are the people of Scotland.

      • Jack, this cultural explanation is so interesting and thought-provoking that I printed it and taped it to my fridge so I could reread it at breakfast tomorrow.

  22. I have asked the website to notify me of any response and I would still like to say how wrong, mean and disconnected from reality many comments are on this forum, and from angle of the issue.

    We should come back at the real prupose in my opinion of this article : How to reconcile the following elements:

    - acknowledgement of historical factual events and their implications by renactments per example, but it could be by films, documentary, essays, etc.
    - what unifying elements of our history worth be celebrated for either identity (Cdn, Que., First Nation, etc.)
    - recognize that some elements of our history are still divise among us.

    Pour ma part, je crois sincerement que le present debat demontre a quel point les societes canadiennes et quebecoises, n’ont pas encore atteint la serenite requise pour pleinement profiter de l’occasion qu’offre le 250eme de la Bataille des Plaines. Quand on y pense, nous avons depuis 40 ans, une crise terroriste, trois referendums, trois echecs constitutionnels, un rapatriment pas tout a fait unanime.

    We might have to wait another generation to acheive that goal.

    Christian Martel
    Montreal

    • Bravo Christian Martel! Voilà exactement ce qu’il nous faut. C’est bien triste que nous nous trouvons encore si divisés. La sérénité avant tout, avec sa compagnone, la Raison.

      • You guys watch too many Disney movies.

  23. “A culturally diverse pseudo-country of 25 million is feeding parasitically on the myths of an increasingly irrelevant linguistic island of 7 million, in order to establish some kind of national identity.

    Did I get this right?”(Critical Reasoning)

    No.

    You, the English descendants of the british are the myth makers who feeds those myths by parasiting the Canadien nation’s historic reality. No other culture in this multicultural federation was behind this re-enactment.

    That is why it was so easy for us to make you retreat in your attempt to produce this comedie-bouffone on the Plaines d’Abraham. Because, scince 1982, you have no more founding nation status in this constitution Trudeau made you sign. The federal govermment retreated as soon as it saw a possible nation-wide discussion, fearing you would wake up.

    • Perhaps we could compromise on this divisive issue. Here’s my plan:

      Re-enact the Plaines d’Abraham for the next New Year’s Eve “Bye-Bye” special. This time, let the French win a glorious victory. Then, skip forward to the 21st century: the United States covers the entire continent!!!

      The punch line: it turns out that Napoleon sold Voltaire’s “quelques arpents de neige” to the US to pay for his war debts, and what used to be Canada is now about as french-speaking as the state of Louisiana.

      • But perhaps the extra cash was what made the difference for Napoleon in the Battle of Leipzig and he was eventually able to buy back the North American territory, besides conquering the world.

        • Good point! I doubt Napoleon could have pulled of a successful invasion of Russia even if he had double the funds, but you know far more about this subject than I do. I love alternative history.

          • No, quite right about Russia. I mean, he pulled out all the stops for that. The classic case of not being able to buy victory.

            And, actually, I doubt he could have won the 1813 campaign anyhow. His lieutenants were just too unimaginative (or shellshocked — they’d all been through Russia) for the kind of huge-scale strategy he tried then.

            I’d never thought about the Louisiana Purchase like that. Definitely something to think about in terms of what-ifs. For me the big What If, assuming France had kept New France after 1763 and retained it through the American revolution, is what would have happened there during the French revolution. On the one hand, there were no Jacobins in New France, no philosophes, and the Church was already very powerful. On the other hand, the Canadiens already felt themselves to be distinct from the French, rather like the American colonists felt themselves to be distinct from the Brits. So would New France have been a royalist stronghold, or the first to cast off the yoke of the ancien régime? I’d love to see more What If debates on TV etc., on all historical subjects — with a narrow focus, ideally — not “what if the Roman Empire never fell,” which this random dude once asked me, wandering into my Classics department; I tried to explain to him that we are the Romans, but he pointed out that we weren’t wearing togas.

  24. I am all for responsible reporting on the public airwaves! Those that use the airwaves to deliberately and repeatedly use fabrications that are not true, are dangerous to the public safety and to the constitution that is supposed to guarantee our rights of free speech. Americans have free speech rights, … but not the freedom to shout “FIRE!” when their is no fire, inside a crowded theatre!
    The irresponsable reporting by the likes of “Glenn Beck” creates a “mob” mentality! A mob mentality that can and will (according to history) incite violence against those that are portrayed as different from that of the mob!
    Let's face it! There are those in america that are looking forward to inciting a “RACE WAR,” and are using the public air waves and the fact of a black president to incite mobs to act violently against the government of the USA!
    You have to be blind to not recognize the conservative movement direction toward insurection of a pluralistic and multi-cultural america and instituting in it's place what existed in our racist fundamentalist bigoted past!
    All of this backward movement toward our unenlightened past is being done in the name of fighting “COMMUNISM!
    http://despicable.wordpress.com/

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