Trudeau parade at the Saint-Jean (1968)

News 8 July, 2017
  • Photo courtesy of the municipal Archives of Montreal
    Pierre Elliott Trudeau denied the quebec nation in Canada’s name, but several of his opponents have promoted a Quebec that denied the French Canada from which it emanated; Trudeau and his opponents, separatists have so often worked together to bury the French Canada.

    Gilles Proulx, with the collaboration of Louis-Philippe Messier

    Saturday, July 8, 2017 18:31

    Saturday, July 8, 2017 18:31

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    Something snapped in Montreal on the day of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste of 1968. There is revolution in the air near the parc La Fontaine, where you will have to spend the floats. None other than the new prime minister of Canada, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was prompted to the rank of honor for this celebration of a nation that he recognizes not, however,… and which he will strive to deny the existence.

    Against this provocation federalist demonstrators, many of whom are associated with the Rassemblement pour l’indépendance nationale (RIN) of Pierre Bourgault and the Knights of the independence of Reggie Chartrand, disturbed by the event and taste the batons of the police. They launch missiles at the stage where is Trudeau. Without the reach. It looks on smiling… He knows that this publicity stunt will play in his favor : the antipathy of English Canada to the place of the “separatists” will win him a victory in the next elections. Another consequence of this visit of Trudeau : the young activists of separatist romp on the floats traditional Saint-Jean. This will isolate within the population… who prefers to sum it up Trudeau.

    Feast of the French-Canadians

    For more than a century and a half, even at the time of the minoritisation humiliating to Montreal, the Saint-Jean, it was the feast of the French-Canadians. As the Saint Patrick’s day is the feast day of the Irish. For the summer solstice and the end of the classes, which delighted the children, we had them organize marching bands, and each school had its own. As the school of Saint-Henri, the Plateau (while not gentrified !), the upper school Richard in Verdun, the collège Mont-Saint-Louis, the academy Roussin of Pointe-aux-Trembles, etc, I warn myself of the fond memories ! The whole of the island, francophones celebrated. The mayor made it a duty to be there, even if, inevitably, his opponents booed him ! Camillien Houde has already received the eggs on this occasion…

    Photo courtesy of the municipal Archives of Montreal

    The float “Cartier-Fountain-Papineau” Section of Sainte-Brigide, at the beginning of the procession on Craig street (now Saint-Antoine), near the rue Saint-Denis, June 24, 1909.

    Across the province, mothers ambitionnaient the role of the little st. John, holding a sheep for their boy curly. Today, we marvel at the symbolism of these parades loaded with historical meaning and memory, with its characters such as Jeanne Mance or Dollard des Ormeaux, and his religious aspect yet with a tinge of paganism dating back to the dawn of time. But the young quebec nationalists of 1968 do not want this nation… Quebec to which they aspire is got rid of French Canada and the catholic past. It was then that the idea of a “national holiday” is needed to clear the St.-Jean. The Parti québécois will formalize later. It’s a bit like if the irish nationalist fought to do away with the phrase St. Patrick’s day under the pretext that it is old-fashioned…

    Photo courtesy of the municipal Archives of Montreal

    This is the kind of parade that we see most of our days ! These young Acadian folk costume come to remind Quebecers that they have compatriots abused in the rest of Canada.

    Therefore, Trudeau came to Saint John to deny the nation. But those protesting against him, in a sense, denied it also. They – the Trudeau and Bourgeault – have won. The Saint-Jean-Baptiste, who was the joy of summer in Montreal, has become… a party like the others. Some argue the same for bilingual event ! And why not the ” plurilinguiser “, as to be there ? We tore out the history of the school curriculum. When one spits on its origins, as much to forget them for good…