WOLFE AND MONTCALM: CONQUEST, OR BEGINNING OF A DIALOGUE?
In light of the recent controversy in both the English and French-language media concerning the National Battlefields Commission’s wish to re-enact the Battle of the Plains of Abraham to mark its 250th anniversary , a few thoughts come to mind.
First of all, as usual, the sovereignist intelligentsia seems to have completely missed the mark again with its sterile critique of the affaire, and its call, which was unfortunately heeded, to call the whole thing off. Also, I must take exception to what my good friend Mary Robertson had to say about the battle supposedly being a glorification of war, which it is not.
This event, albeit a violent one, was a pivotal milestone in the evolution of Québec and the Canadian federation. This event which we lived through must be recreated with the utmost authenticity so as to preserve and to honour the memory of those who served on both sides, and who gave their lives on the battlefield.
History marches forward and the crossing and blending of cultures continue with alacrity. Many Québecers, including yours truly, now consider themselves, just as much Québécois as they do Canadian, Québec civilization having descended from the ‘Canadien’ people after all. And whatever their sense of belonging, most Québecers take for granted that this violent human confrontation, which will have occurred almost 250 years ago this fall, was neither a glorious victory for Britannia, nor a crushing defeat for France, but rather the beginning of a dialogue between two of the greatest civilizations on this planet : The English and French-speaking peoples, and that it is effectively our destiny to pursue this dialogue within the context of a federal union which is ‘A Mari Usque ad Mare’, that is to say, from sea to sea.
This dialogue began almost as soon as the dust had settled on the battlefield, and the Ursulines nuns took pity upon the poor Scottish Highlander soldiers who were wearing their kilts, but with no underwear underneath. So they knit them some long underwear, avoiding therefore the worst case scenario for these poor souls in their new found land. Talk about reasonable accommodations!!! Messrs. Bouchard and Taylor would blush!!!
And so it has continued here in the land of the True North Strong and Free. until Confederation, when the grand coalition of Baldwin and Lafontaine created the embryonic core of elite accommodation which would become Canada. And our history continues still…
For I remember that we were born under the Fleur de lys of France, we grew up under the rose of England, and that it was under the Maple Leaf that we were reconciled all together as one federation of Aboriginal, French, English, and New Canadians.
Long live Québec, and long live our Home and Native Land! Peter Stuart