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J24 Tf1E UNIVERSITY OF TOROl\'TO QUARTERLY REJOI~DER BY B. K, SA~DvVELL There are, I suppose, English-speaking people in Canada whose idea of national "unity" is that one of the two cultures of the nation should obliterate the other. I do not think ,that that is a necessary meaning of the,term, and it is certainly not the meaning with which I myself use it. But so long as we define our terms clearly it does not greatly matter what words we use, and if Mr. Turcotte prefers "solidarity" I am perfectly satisfied; his definition of it is exactly what I mean by "unity." , " That Canada is committed to a duality of cultu're is admitted, I should think, by all intelligent students of history. But I wish Mr. Turcotte, along with so ma)1Y of his fellows, 'would not ,talk as if French Canada had no part in the process by which Canada was thus committed-as if the French language and Roman Catholicism were imposed on the French Canadians against their will-, would not assign aU his active v,erbs to the British and their "policy" and all his passive ones to the "Canadiens." Certainly the price paid by the Crown for Canadian loyalty in 1776 was the Quebec Act of I774; but it was a price paid to, and accepted by, Quebec, and there ,was an open market and a rival bidder, and it was Quebec that chose. NIr. Turcotte sounds a little as if he regretted the choice. He sounds also as if he regretted the fact that French Car'lada was sheltered from the French Revolution, and he quite definitely ascribes the whole responsibility for that to the British. "Ellgland has had' Cromwell. France has had the Revolution. French Canadians of today have had neither." That is 'true, but they could not have had either, and it is wildly improbable that they could have had anything resembling either, not because they were under the British, but because they were French"Canadians, a colony, settlement, plantation, call it what you will, established and living its own life in North America three thousand miles away from France long , before the French Revolution took place. It was not British policy, it was geography, that kept French Canada monarchist and conservative when Paris was abolishing, God and the calendar and executing 'aristocrats b}" the tumbril...:load. "The great liberating wave of the French Revolution" would in any event never have splashed up the St. Lawrence, not 'because the" adjacent counties were under the British flag, but because their inhabitants had rio aristocrats, no rapacious landlo.rds, no burdensome taxcollectors against whom to revolt, and because they did have an infinite frontier to afford occupation to those of them who particutarly loved freedom and adventure. They are, as a result, today a bit eighteenth-century. So, I suggest, are a good many of the Latin-American Republics, for the same reason. It is possible for a French Canadian to deplore their eighteenth-century-ness; and Mr. Turcotte has a right to do so, for he is doing all that he can to combat and modernize it; but he will get along far better at that job if he will recognize the true cause of what he combats. V,!ith the rest of his contentions I am so completely in agreement that I can only h~pe t'hat these reservations do not sound churlish. They are THE FUTURE OF ' UNITY IN CANADA not so i~1tended. 'I am convinced that if French Canadians would only think more of their power and less of their helplessness we should all get along much better together. The one great obstacle to the liberalizing at French Canada is the conviction o( so many liberallY-lnclined French Canadians that it is no use working at it because "the 'Canadien' conservative rulers and their allies, the English overlords" (now of course the English-speaking majority in Canada) still have "a .common interest in preserving the existing shape of things" in French Canada. II. AS SE'EN .BY AN ENGLISH-SPEA.I\)NG CAl\'ADIAN B. K. SANDWELL THE parallel between the position of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 124-125
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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