Saturday, January 31, 2009

Battlefield Re-enactment Getting Dangerous

Anglophones may not be aware, but a firestorm is brewing in the Quebec press about a plan by the National Battlefields Commission to re-enact the Battle of The Plains of Abraham to commemerate the 250th anniversary of the event. Created in 1908 the commission was set up by Ottawa to preserve the 108 hectare site in Quebec city where the battle between the French and the English was fought 1759. It seems that in their zeal, they have badly considered the consequences. The victory of General Wolfe over the defending General Montcalm is largely seen by Francophones as the turning point that marked the loss of the new world to the English.
Whether this is historically correct is beside the point, re-enacting the battle is a patently stupid idea and can only be seen as a provocation.
The controversy has legs and is growing. The nationalists see a popular issue that they can rally support around. They have promised a fight and I have no doubt they mean what they say.
Pierre Falardeau of Réseau de résistance du Québec (RRQ) says that the organization is gearing up for a battle of it's own and predicts a 'nightmare' should the event go on as planned.
Josee Verner, the minister responsible for the Quebec City region is defending the plan and advises those against the re-enactment to skip the event. If she's smart she'll distance herself from those type of remarks.

Someone in Ottawa will get the message, the event will be canceled, it is a matter of time. Let's hope it's sooner than later.
If the event goes on, at best, Quebec city will witness one large and nasty demonstration. Worst case, there could be a violent and bloody confrontation.
The Conservatives are playing with fire, failure to act in this matter would be political suicide.

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