Picking sides in 18th century fights


In case you were wondering, Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney kind of wishes the French had won the battle of the Plains of Abraham.

At an event Tuesday honouring those who fought and died in Canada’s name, Blaney told a group of school children he was “a little bit” on the side of French General the Marquis Louis-Joseph de Montcalm. “I was not there, yet,” Blaney told the kids with a chuckle, “but I was a little bit leaning for the French, at that time. And still, today.”


Picking sides in 18th century fights

  1. Canada is descended from both the French and British empires that fought at Quebec in 1759. The country has amalgamated and reconciled both pasts, even if some individuals continue to insist on triumphal glorification or self inflicted victimisation, respectively, with regard to “the conquest.” It was our civil war, before we were a country – a typically Canadian paradox. There’s nothing wrong with a minister, in talking with schools kids, especially speaking in this obviously sentimental way, of “favouring” one side. Canada is still a product of French and English.

    • I like the romanticism of your “it was our civil war, before we were a country” line, but in reality there’s no way that one can really refer to the Seven Years’ War (of which the Battle of the Plains of Abraham was a major engagement) as anything like a “civil war”.  After all, it was fought by over a dozen different countries over five continents.  There aren’t many wars in history that were further from the definition of “civil war” than the Seven Years’ War, and almost all of them were later in history, as the Seven Years’ War has sometimes been referred to as the very first “world war”.

  2. The sad thing about Canada is that we always show far more concern for the past than we do for the future.

    • Really?  You really think that people in Canada generally show a lot of concern for the past??? 

      I’d be willing to bet good money that even Steven Blaney couldn’t really articulate for us just WHY he kinda prefers the Bourbons over Hanover, and (presumably) the Hohanzollerns over the Habsburgs, lol.

      • Yes, I do.

        We are constantly rehashing things that were decided years ago.

        Everything from gays and abortion to separatism and the War of 1812.

        • I guess.  I kinda don’t count things that have happened in my lifetime as “history” per se, so I don’t really count gay marriage (and besides, even the TORIES consider that over and done with).  I’m also not sure that anything was ever “decided” vis a vis abortion, we just all agreed not to decide anything (which I suppose is kinda a “decision”).  Plus, that’s ALSO pretty much a done deal for the OVERWHELMING majority of Canadians.  I’m also not sure you can call separatism as over and done with so long as there’s a serious chance of the people of Quebec electing a separatist provincial government.

          I’ll give you that the War of 1812 is definitely “history” but honestly, how much concern are Canadians showing about that???  Sure, we’re going to commemorate the 200th anniversary (it’s the 200th anniversary after all) but I’d be utterly shocked if more than 50% of Canadians could name more than three people who were involved in the War of 1812.  I’d also say that 90% of the concern I see vis a vis the War of 1812 is of the “why are we spending so much time talking about this???” variety.

          Sadly, I’d say that the majority of Canadians display a greater concern over whether or not Jersey Shore is going to be cancelled than they do about our history.

          • Of course events in your lifetime are history….recent history, but over and done.

            Gay marriage and abortion being two of them…abortion being decided by the Supreme Court…gay marriage would have been the same but it didn’t need to go that far.

            Any province could elect a separatist govt at any time…and Canada may eventually decide to break up…but the original separatist movement in Quebec is over with.

            Canadians commemorated the 100th, 125th, 150th, 175th of 1812…it just never became a federal govt concern to militarize the country by making a big deal out of it.

            I just wish Canadians would spend more time being concerned about the future than the past.

          • OK.

            I guess we’ll just stick you in the “doomed to repeat it” category (lol, j/k ;-))

  3. I, for one, side with the Poles in the 1772 First Partition of Poland.

  4. I suppose I see the romanticism in favouring the French.  After all, they were on the side of cute little Saxony.  And it was so Holy.  And Roman.  And Imperial.  And really, who likes a Prussian?

    However, they didn’t call the guy Fredrick the Great for nothing.  I mean, the Bourbon French were cool and all, and they did have Russia, Austria, Sweden and Spain all on their side, but still.  If you’re gonna fight a war against an essentially two-nation alliance, even with Russia on your side, it’s probably best not to go up against the two-nation alliance that has 1) the world’s most powerful navy (Great Britain), and 2) the continent’s largest and most effective land force (the Prussian Army).

    Wait… what were we talking about again?

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