L'abandon De L'abandon: The Emergence of a Transatlantic "Francosphere" in Quebec and Canada's Strategic Culture

By Haglund, David G.; Massie, Justin | Quebec Studies, Spring-Summer 2010 | Go to article overview

L'abandon De L'abandon: The Emergence of a Transatlantic "Francosphere" in Quebec and Canada's Strategic Culture


Haglund, David G., Massie, Justin, Quebec Studies


Introduction: For the Love of France

Last year's celebrations commemorating the 400th anniversary of Quebec's founding sparked a controversy over the historic bonds between Quebec, Canada, and France. Some regard 1608 as marking the arrival of francophone civilization on the North American continent, and they understand the "Quebec nation" to be this civilization's bedrock. But others, including Canada's prime minister, Stephen Harper, have preferred to imagine Quebec's founding as also denoting Canada's founding as a state, and they see a direct line of descent running from Samuel de Champlain to the current governor general of Canada, Michaelle Jean. (1) This ascription of an eminently federal lineage to the events being celebrated this past year was too much for one member of parliament from the Bloc quebecois (BQ), Michel Guimond, who dismissed the prime minister's interpretation as nothing short of a "surrealistic rewriting of history." (2) Such an interpretation not only brought to mind Salvador Dali, it also made a mockery of the historical record, for to claim that Canada, rather than Quebec, had been "born French" did seem to skate rather blithely over the British conquest of New France during the Seven Years' War of 1756 to 1763. As the historian, Michel de Waele, put it, to deny the rupture that was the Conquest is tantamount to erasing the original line of division between French and English Canadians. (3)

Nor was Stephen Harper the only national leader to feel the wrath of Quebec sovereigntists. France's president, Nicolas Sarkozy, also found himself being raked over the coals for similarly pooh-poohing the country's contested origins, through comments such as the following, made during a brief stopover in Quebec: "I have always been a friend of Canada's, because Canada has always been an ally of France's. Frankly, anyone who thinks that the world really needs now is one more fracture is not someone who sees the same reality as I do." Sarkozy went on to say that he did not understand why a declaration of fraternal and familial affection for Quebec had to be accompanied by a show of disaffection for Canada: "France is a country that brings things together, rather than splits them apart." (4) He hastened to add that his supporting Canadian unity in no way detracted from the historic links between France and Quebec; and as had Prime Minister Harper, Premier Jean Charest of Quebec, and Prime Minister Francois Fillon of France, so too did President Sarkozy insist upon the "special," "unique," and "privileged" quality of France-Quebec relations.5

The tug-of-war for France's affection was interesting in its own right; but what was truly remarkable about this jousting between federalists and sovereigntists was the historical novelty of either side's insisting upon having bragging rights to a French heritage. Consider how absent France had been the last time a Quebec centenary was being celebrated, back in 1908 on the occasion of the three hundreth anniversary of its founding. A century ago, it would have been very difficult to imagine such an outpouring of esteem for any transatlantic "Francosphere." (6) As the historian Patrice Groulx reminds us, the 1908 birthday bash served primarily to underline the advantages of colonial status both for the city of Quebec and for French Canada, and to highlight their attachment to the British Empire. The Prince of Wales was chief among the visiting dignitaries, and his presence not only lent the festivities royal luster, it also served as a reminder that Quebec was a "fleuron de l'Empire britannique." To say the least, this is not exactly how things would be interpreted a hundred years later. (7)

What happened during the intervening century? How is it that an event dating back to the eighteenth century should have been interpreted so differently in 2008 from the manner in which it had been regarded in 1908? It seems that in Quebec's collective consciousness (to say nothing of Canada's) one myth has given way to another. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

L'abandon De L'abandon: The Emergence of a Transatlantic "Francosphere" in Quebec and Canada's Strategic Culture
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.