Sunday, 17 May 2015

The May Holiday: Journée des Patriotes

This weekend is the unofficial beginning of summer in Canada.  In the Rest of Canada it is called Victoria Day, but in Quebec it's now called la Journée des Patriotes.  

Nice juxtaposition here.  One name refers to a Queen, the other to a rebellion that began just as Victoria was ascending the throne. 

The Rebellions of 1837-38 were the closest thing to a revolution that Canada ever had.  Protesters in both Upper Canada (now Ontario) and Lower Canada (now Quebec) wanted representative government.  Eventually many of the things they demanded were granted, but today the role of the Patriotes (as they were called in Lower Canada) is not as well known as it should be.

The flag in the photo is not the one I just put up on our balcony: it is one designed during the Rebellion and revived during by Quebec's nationalists in the late 20th century.  I probably should go looking for one to fly on this holiday, but the nearest thing I have is the Quebec flag.   I fly it largely as a reminder that the Patriotes included many Anglophones who had had enough with British dominance.  Justice, democracy and responsible government go beyond linguistic barriers.

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