mardi 7 juillet 2009

Independance (the sequel)

Commenting on my last post Rob-Bear wondered why I had not mentioned the Quebec Act of 1794. At first it did not ring a bell. Then I figured he must have been referring to the 1791 Act creating the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, now mostly Ontario and Québec. Upper Canada was to be majority Anglphone and Lower Canada was to be majority Francophone. Both provinces were to be governed by an elected parliament and a nominated legislative council under a governor named by London, he in turn appointed the members of the legislative council (kind of an unelected senate) and vetted the election of the Lower Chamber members. To be eligible to office or to vote, you had to be a male over 21 and owner of propety or commerce generating a revenue of 40 schillings or more ( in: Histoire du Canada par les textes, by Guy Frégault, Michel Brunet and Marcel Trudel, éditions Fides, Montréal, 1952).
However, because of the eligibilty conditions, very soon both governements were dominated by the elite and the wealthy. It caused much irritation at the popular level and much corruption since the sole revenue allowed these administrations were the perception of excise taxes. Since the merchants were dominant and considered those taxes as very bothering every means were legitimate to avoid them. The governements were always short of money and could not provide the general services they were called to give the population.
After some forty years of this regime, in both provinces the pot boiled over. In Upper Canada the Family Compact, closely related people controling the Governor, the Legislative Council and the Judiciary, generated much opposition but were deaf to it. A short armed uprising, in 1837, under the leadership of William Mackenzie, a York (now Toronto) journalist ensued. The army quelled it and Mackenzie fled to Buffalo. In Lower Canada, the Clique du Château de Ramezay was the exact replica of the Family Compact and caused the same type of frustration. It was compounded by the refusal of the Clique to recognize the Francophones needs and place in the society. Lead politically by Louis-Joseph Papineau a strong movement of opposition took form. parrallel to it a miltary wing, lead by the Nelson brothers, both doctors, and an Irish merchant, J.B. O'Callaghan took form involving many Francophone farmers and workers. While papineau disapproved, the militia attacked the army, in 1837, battles were fought in St-Eustache and on montreal's South Shore. Lives were lost and General Colborne, nicknamed Le Vieux Brulôt (The Old Torch), burned down farms and villages in reprisal. It petered out in 1838. Papineau fled to Britain then France, the Nelsons, with 300 armed men, fled to North Hero, Vt.
London sent in Lord Durham to inquire. His report is famous and led to the dimantlement of Upper and Lower Canada and the Union act of 1841 destined to mate the Francophones and assimilate them to the Anglophone population...problem was that in the new entity the Francophones were a majority. It did not work and in 1867 the Confederation was born re-creating Upper and Lower Canadas as the provinces of Ontario and Québec, joined by New Brunswick and Noca Scotia.
1791 was a total failure, some would say 1867 also...but that is another story.

18 commentaires:

  1. Non, mon amie. The Quebec Act of 1774. C'est vrai.
    The Quebec Act is quite different from the Constitutional Act of 1791.

  2. Excusez-moi, svp. The link for the Constitutional Act of 1791 is:

    Sorry for the confusion.

  3. Of course, I had totally forgotten the Québec Act and attributed, wrongly, the restauration of French rights and catholic recognition to the 1791 Constitutional Act. Thank you for setting me staigth. As we say:"Il y en a plus dans deux têtes que dans une seule".
    As for territory New-France, as claimed by France comprised evrything all the way to the Rockies and down the Ohio-Mississippi and Louisiana, not to mention the Hudson Valley down to Albany. It explains the many French place names found in these parts such as -Au Sable river and Chazy, near Plattsburgh, Des Moines in Iowa and even Détroit in Michigan and so on.

  4. Maybe the pot will boil over again in my children's lifetime. Will they have a govenor general, or see an English monarch on their currency in their old age?

  5. 66% of all Canadians and 86% of Quebecers according to a recenr survey favor the abolition of the monarchical link at Queen Elizabeth's abdication or death. That would mean a republic style head of state...could we be electing a president in the next 10 years or so? The Queen is past 80.
    I'm sure, as always, that it would be done graciously. !837-38 is not in the Canadian tradition, it was a blip.

  6. Lots of history to absorb for a newbie like me, but a good start to learn about our neighbors.

  7. 1. Can you say more about the survey about abolishing the monarchy's relation to Canada. Where and when was the survey done; by whom and for whom?

    2. As you say, "!837-38 is not in the Canadian tradition, it was a blip." We are, after all, the people of "peace, order, and good government."

    Merci. A la prochaine.

  8. A president of the Republic as head of State can be more modern and democratic but it has less aura - the case of Spain is interesting, although I'm not a monarchist. In Canada's special case, it is just a link to a Queen from another state, and a link to the colonial past, plus the will of the people is what counts more. However, I'm wondering if erasing all traditions - similar to tearing down old buildings, as we've discussed before - will bring more or less happiness in the long run.

  9. Rob-Bear: the survey was done very recently, I believe by Ekos-Reid, for an organization linked to McGill University and directed by Jack Jedwab a well known, at least down here, human science researcher. It was pan-Canadian.
    MoR: Canadians are practical people, the "aura" of monarchy still impress the elite club of the Daughters of the Empire and some Ontario Lodge of Orange gentlemen...but not much more. Some say Monarchy costs us too much, I'm not sure a president would cost any less but the colonial symbol would be gone. That would please the younger generations.

  10. The aura of Monarchy doesn't exist here neither. By 'here' I mean everywhere in Europe there isn't a monarchy, which is almost everywhere. I was talking about symbols and traditions in a general way. In my country we have traditions but not valid national symbols (useful to unite, to give inspiration), our nation being too young. We don't like our flag, we never boast it or show it, like the USA or the UK, we dislike our musical national anthem, one of the worst on earth (with so many beautiful Verdi's hymns at disposal!), there is little attachment to our Republic, although the president is respected enough.
    I am digressing. I understand the British Queen cannot be a right symbol for you and especially for the youth.

  11. Outside the UK, the USA, France and Russia I know of no other flag waving country. Canadians are happy with the Maple Leaf but it flyes mainly on federal buildings. Otherwise each province and territory has it's own flag seen much more than the national one. Besides, each branch of our armed forces has it's flag. The main use for our national flag these days is for draping the coffins of our soldiers killed uselessly in Afghanistan.
    The true rallying symbols in Canada are the maple leaf, the leaf not the flag, the beaver and to some extent the lily (Québec), the Shamrock (The Irish), the Rose (The English), the thistle (The Scots); all four figure on the city of Montreal's flag.

  12. Offtopic. Paul, I think you should add a blogroll, i.e. a list of blogs you like, for many reasons: easier for you to reach those blogs, promotion of your blog (people would 'feel' you link to them and be pleased and possibly link you back), a service for readers that come here (if they like you, they will probably like what you like and be thankful for the info), etc.

  13. Thank you MoR, I will see to it.

  14. Wow. Detto fatto.

    If you have a look at Café Philos, it contains a LONG blogroll. When you set such links people are aware (automatically) of it and are pleased. It is good PR for your blog, which gets promoted.
    On second thoughts, my blogroll is short, considering I'm there since almost 2 years. I'll see to enlarge it a bit if I can.

  15. For some odd reason the link to your blog does not work. When it states that your blog can not be found???

  16. It is because the URL (or address) of my blog is wrong. The right URL is this:

    Also Neil's and Commentator's seem not correct. You should go to their blog and copy the right address in the URL box of the browser.

    The Commentator in any case is this:

  17. I have checked and double checked your URL and the Commentator's and still it does not work. Commentator takes me to a general site and yours gets a message that you do not exist but that I could register the name for me???
    As for Neil, it now works fine.

  18. I think it's because you have put the right URL as a NAME for the blog and not as an address. I'll try to explain:

    I have a wordpress blog, not a blogspot one, but I'm sure that when you create a blogroll link you have some boxes to fill up: 1) one should be a NAME box - or similar - that should contain a name that will appear in your blog's right column (e.g. Café Philos: an internet café) 2) a web address or URL box where you should insert the URL (e.g. ) and 3) A description box that could not be present in blogspot blogs and which in any case is not so important

    Number 2 is crucial for actually 'reaching' the blog via Web. My URL and Commentator's in fact seem wrong. They are not:

    they should be:

    I think you have inserted the (correct) URL in the NAME box (num 1) instead of in the URL box (num 2) and the wrong URLs (see above) in box 2 as a name: the name should instead be: Man of Roma, the Commentator

    Confusing, I know. Computers ARE confusing. They've been invented by the Devil.