of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham makes
a joke of the motto on Quebec licence
plates: Je me souviens --I remember.
Clearly, not well. The collective memory
of Quebec's history, in this instance,
is selective and disturbingly distorted.
A few noisy separatists first managed
to get the cancellation of a re-enactment
planned to commemorate the epic battle
in which the British defeated the French
Now, a new event includes the reading of
the FLQ manifesto, as part of a 24-hour
reading marathon supposedly to celebrate
the poetry and literary works of Quebec artists,
and historical figures.
The added insult is in how the same
sovereigntists --outraged by the re-enactment
of one historical event --are now
defending the inclusion of the FLQ
manifesto as part of their history.
The manifesto, written by the kidnappers
of British trade commissioner James Cross,
was first read on Radio-Canada television
as one of the kidnappers' conditions.
"There is nothing dishonourable in
looking history straight in the eye,
" former PQ premier Bernard Landry
told newspaper Le Devoir.
Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe
screamed "censorship" in reference
to any objections about
the manifesto being read.
How rich coming from the leader who
demanded the cancellation of
the historical reenactment.
That event would have seen
2,500 history buffs --not politicians
or federalists -- travel to Quebec City
to stage what PQ leader Pauline Marois
called the "profoundly tragic" events of 1759.
The separatist agenda has once again
rewritten history, with the battle of the Plains
taking on mythic qualities.
Quebec flourished after the so-called
conquest, as the strength of their language
and culture attests to, to this day.
Battlefield Quebec, a documentary airing
on Sunday's anniversary on History Television,
concludes "France lost the battle
but Quebecers won the war."
To suggest the French would still control
Quebec to this day had Louis-Joseph de
Montcalm triumphed over British General
James Wolfe, is sheer fantasy.
The British would have either subsequently
won later, or the U. S. would have
If the sovereigntists want to know
what life under American rule looks like,
they should visit Louisiana.
Historians travel far and wide to participate
in reenactments of important battles
that take place all the time,
throughout the western world.
Even children who play cowboy games
get it: Battles have winners and losers.
Just because the British lost the Battle
of Hastings in 1066 doesn't stop them
from commemorating it every year as part
of their proud history.
So why is the loss of the French in Quebec
any different, or any more tragic than
the murder of a Quebec cabinet minister
at the hands of the FLQ?
The separatists are correct in saying
the October Crisis is a part of their
history (a dark chapter indeed) and should
never be forgotten.
Seldom does politics lead to murder
But remembering it on the 250th anniversary
of the historic battle on the Plains
is inappropriate and out of context.
Further, inviting Jacques Lanctot,
co-author of the manifesto, to come
and read the turgid prose amounts
to celebrating and glorifying the racist text.
Thankfully Lanctot refused but the hypocrisy
is no less astounding.
The FLQ terrorists kidnapped and killed
Quebec Cabinet Minister Pierre Laporte.
They committed murder.
The manifesto is an offensive diatribe
that incites violence and calls upon
the use of "every means, including arms
and dynamite, to rid ourselves of
these economic and political bosses,
who are prepared to use every sort of
sordid tactic to better screw us."
Quebecers saw it for what it was at the time,
and rejected it.
There's even less of an audience
for that type of extremism today.
The commemoration of the definitive
battle on the Plains was hijacked
by a separatist agenda
from the beginning.
But, the raucous protest has backfired.
A younger generation of Quebecers
has been given a history lesson in
the radical terrorist movement
of the FLQ. And, the rest of the country
has been reminded of the immaturity
that still exists among
certain insecure separatists in Quebec.
After 250 years, one would have hoped
they would finally grow up and
realize Quebec is no oppressed society.Link here
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