Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Saturday, 14 April 2007

"Putting the Quebec Nation to Shame"

There are moments when I simply become unhinged. This morning was one of them. As most Canadians are aware the Quebecois have at best an ambivalent attitude toward the monarchy, yet this is simply too much.

A suggestion the Queen should be invited to Quebec City's 400th anniversary birthday bash next year has created an uproar in the province. Open-line radio and television shows were swamped yesterday with calls opposing the idea,the majority of people saying it would be an insult to Quebeckers and putthe “Quebec nation to shame.” “Have we forgotten that England deported the
Acadians, sent Louis Riel to the gallows and exploited francophones?” asked one caller to a TQS television show that dedicated a full hour to the news.

Did Queen Victoria order Riel to be hanged? Was that not the decision of the federal government and its then leader, Sir John A MacDonald? While Riel's hanging was deplorable, he was mentally unstable and the Metis possessed legitimate grievances against the federal government, he did rise in rebellion twice, though the first time the legal status of Riel's actions is somewhat murky.

“This is shameful. The Queen has no business coming here. Quebec City is the cradle of French in America. Her presence will only fuel nationalist sentiments,” another caller said. The Queen hasn't been to Quebec City since 1964, when she was met by a huge crowd of booing separatists who were violently
dispersed by truncheon-wielding police.

Truncheon wielding certainly comes to mind with regards to the following:

"You can be sure that people will demonstrate in protest,” Mario Beaulieu, vice-president of Montreal's Société Saint-Jean Baptiste, said in an interview yesterday. “We are celebrating the foundation of New France, not its conquest. The monarchy remains a symbol of imperialism and colonialism. Her presence will not be welcome"

Gérald Larose, president of the Quebec Sovereignty Council, said the 400th anniversary organizing committee is controlled by federalists who want to hijack an event that marks the foundation of the Quebec nation. “Canada wasn't founded in 1608. What was founded in 1608 was the Quebec nation. This has nothing to do with Canada,” Mr. Larose said in an interview. “It would be indecent to recycle history in this way . . . Moreover the monarchy is the most despicable, appalling, anti-democratic, imperial, colonial symbol against which all social and individuals rights were obtained through the course of history.”

Clearly M. Larose and M. Beaulieu are traitors to crown and country. Their treason is not the inspiration for my rage, it is too garden variety in modern Canada. It is their mendacity, not the crown, that is despicable and outrageous. So the monarchy is a symbol of "imperialism" and is "anti-democratic?" Eh? Perhaps you should have preferred Wolfe lost on the Plains of Abraham? Remained good loyal subjects of the Bourbons, those tyrants in silk stockings? Let us for a moment forget that notorious imperialist Lord Dorchester, who secured the passage of the Quebec Act, much to the detriment of the wider empire. Let us forget Baldwin and LaFontaine, Laurier, St. Laurent and of course Vanier. No, dear sirs, let us forget that and imagine a world without the tethers of the British crown, let us imagine Quebec tied to France and its history.

During the American Revolutionary War the people of Quebec were offered a chance to escape the crown and join the rebels. Instead they choose loyalty. It was not out of love, but a calculated gamble that the British Crown and Empire would probably be less intrusive in changing Quebec society than the radical American patriots to the south. They were confronted with change and chose the status quo. Had Wolfe lost even this option would not have been afforded them, either the Americans would not have rebelled, the French threat so close at hand, or French regular troops would have supported the American rebellion using New France as a base.

Then there is 1789 to consider. The radicalism of the French Revolution shocked many Quebecois and the execution of Louis XVI was seen as a horrific crime. The guillotine became the symbol of the alienation between Old and New France that even now has not been completely healed. France was still the spiritual homeland but one that had become strange and hostile. This rupture between new and old was true within France itself. The radicalism of Paris versus the conservatism of rural France was a feature of national politics until at least the time of de Gaulle. Rural France, the France that stayed loyal to the Bourbons, as evidenced by the rebellions at Vendee and elsewhere, was very similar in belief and composition to New France. Unlike New France, rural France could not ultimately escape the revolutionary zeal of the Terror. The distance between Paris and Quebec City would have mitigated the disturbances of the Revolution, but not completely. It is not too much to imagine guillotines within sight of the St. Lawrence. The Quebecois of that generation understood this well enough that some even learned to shout Vive Le Roi and mean an Englishman on an English throne.

Then there was Napoleon. Then again the Bourbons, Then 1830. Then 1848 and so on. Five Republics, two monarchies, two empires and two provisional governments since 1789. When the government of Sir Robert Borden instituted conscription in 1917 it was highly selective in its imposition on Quebec. Anglophone areas bore the brunt of the military's demands for new recruits. Republican France would not have been so kind and a far greater number of Quebecois, like their Algerian and Moroccan counterparts, would have met their ends in the fields of Belgium and Picardy. Such are the cruelties of British Imperialism.

The tacit compact of Confederation was non-interference by each of the Two Solitudes in each other's affairs. This was a price that the Quebecois could extract from a nation where it comprised between a half and a quarter of the overall population. It was a price, in accordance with traditional British imperial policies of limited intervention in colonial societies, and British conceptions of individual rights and democratic legitimacy, that Their Majesties and their respective governments were willing to grant. Even when Lord Durham proposed assimilation, he would never have thought of genocide. The Acadians were deported, not massacred in their beds. The officials of the French Empire were not always so mindful of these human decencies.

The Quebecois have enjoyed not only the blessings of British liberty and stability they have been allowed to keep their laws and their traditions. Under the British crown, both as an imperial possession and a Canadian province, they have enjoyed a degree autonomy that would have been unlikely as a French department. The bigotry the anglophone elite imposed on the Francophone majority should be seen in context of its time. Racism was as much a condition of the world before 1945 as poverty. Had their roles been reversed it is unlikely the Francophones would have behaved any better than their Anglophone "masters." In practical terms the Quebecois have been very much Maitres Chez Nous since the Conquest. Of course it is a far easier thing to blame someone else for the missed opportunities and disaster of the past and present day than oneself.

Cross Posted at The Gods of the Copybook Headings

6 comments:

Beaverbrook said...

Your's is much better. You go ahead.

David Wozney said...

Elizabeth II is not Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, contrary to the requirement in the Fifth Schedule of the British North America Act, 1867.

According to the British North America Act, 1867, the provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick expressed their desire to be federally united into one Dominion under the Crown of the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland", not the Crown of the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”.

Eric said...

What country is more loyal?

RICHMOND – Governor Timothy M. Kaine released the following statement on today's announcement from Buckingham Palace that Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, and His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, will visit Virginia May 3rd and 4th, 2007, in recognition of the 400th anniversary of Jamestown:

“On behalf of all Virginians, my family and I will be honored to host Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, in May.

“We are pleased Her Majesty has chosen to visit during this momentous year for Virginia. Her Majesty’s first visit to the United States in 1957 coincided with the 350th anniversary of Jamestown, and for the Queen to spend two days in Virginia during her first visit to the United States in 16 years is extraordinary.

“This Royal visit speaks to the importance of Jamestown to both of our countries, reaffirms the strong, historic ties between our nations, and demonstrates a mutual commitment to reinforce these connections as we go forward together.

“Our Commonwealth will welcome the Queen with true southern hospitality, and our year-long commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Jamestown certainly will benefit from the international attention that this Royal visit will bring.”

Unrepentant Jacobite said...

Mr. Kipling, I say too bad for you! Wolfe should have been defeated on the Plains of Abraham. Quebec and America would have had a better future than what both are undergoing now.

And the Bourbons, especially the martyred Louis XVI, as "tyrants in silk stockings"? Better they than the half-mad George III and his Empire.

Mr. Kipling, I can "imagine a world without the tethers of the British crown". And it is a lot better and sweeter than what we have now.

For a future Free, Independent and Truly Catholic Quebec!

Erin go bragh!
Alba go bragh!
Free Wales!
Free Cornwall!

Anonymous said...

Unrepentant Jacobite, do us a favour and take your bloody racist extreme celtic nationalism and shove off!

Patrice de Montréal said...

Unrepentant Jacobite wrote : For a future Free, Independent and Truly Catholic Quebec!

He forgot to add «socialist» and, of course «begging» for other people's money to finance its expensive social programs... And it's a frenchie (me) who just wrote that!

I don't know what's the problem with Queen Elizabeth coming to the Ville de Québec's 400th anniversary. Here we go again!

Gérald Larose represents a minority of citizens, here. «Moreover, he said, monarchy is the most despicable, appalling, anti-democratic, imperial, colonial symbol against which all social and indivuduals rights were obtained, etc, etc».

Ville de Quebec wasn't founded for republican purposes. It was founded in the name of the... King of France, so by a despicable, appalling, etc... etc... etc... Despite that, I hope the Queen will come and the future Henri VII, King of France!

Anyway, sorry about that, it's just I'm sick of some politicians and union has-been who try to bring back some old squabbles. I'm franco but I respect the British crown. Call me a colonized traitor but I have English blood running in my veins so it doesn't bother!