Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Creation of Acadie

I have an alter ego named Hagood Looken, who gives me the down-low on sensitive subjects, often in unseemly terms. Although he favours matters that dare not speak their name, the Irish in me yearns to get into trouble, and I fake an interest.

“This isn’t Canada anymore,” says Hagood, “it’s the Nituit Nation.”

Ordinarily I would have asked him to spell Nituit, but since he’s a figment of my imagination, I already know.

“What is it this time?” I inquired. He flashed those affecting eyes and continued.

“Canada undefended. The Liberals represent the Liberals, not Canada, and that’s a serious consideration. Nobody is positioning Quebec, and the country will be fractured.”

“Positioning?”

“It’s an advanced concept you haven’t fully capiched yet; but it's sort of like National Architecture 101. I’m a Quebec separatist- we need an independent Quebec.”

And all this time I had thought he was just a debonair Dutch expatriate, somewhat roguish, assuringly rugged, and, well, I digress.

I pretended to be surprised at his comment. We had gone over this many times, my dark side and I, and I did an article on it for the Globe in ’79, before the 1980 referendum. I had proposed that Quebec indeed separate, but leave the south shore of the St. Lawrence River in Canada.

The south shore of Quebec is then appended to New Brunswick, and that overly-Anglo name detached from Canada’s new French-speaking province - Acadie.

There was a kafuffle in Montreal when the article was reprinted, but the idea died.

“I see that France is interested, what with Premier Charest travelling to Mexico with French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.” I said.

“It makes perfect sense.” said Hagood. “Could you imagine a Paris-French renaissance in Quebec? And the influence of Euro-French culture on Acadie, our New France? The prospect is delicious..it would be exhilarating!”

“What about Labrador?” I asked.

“Quebec. But Newfoundland gains the rights to its resources, and they become the cod cowboys.. . Think they’re rich? Montreal becomes an open city, like a duty free Singapore, and Mirabel rules the North American air freight industry.”

I searched both my minds in a vain attempt to find something wrong with this picture.

Somewhere a bird fell asleep. I closed my eyes.

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