Wednesday, July 6, 2011

'Grenadiers March' a Bittersweet Pill

I watched the Canada Day ceremony from Ottawa and like most Canadians I was brimming with pride at the truly magnificent spectacle put on by the Feds, an extra measure of mustard added to celebrate the presence of the Royal couple William and Kate.
The government spared no expense, knowing full well that the event, or highlights thereof, would be broadcast around the world, with hundreds of foreign correspondents covering the Royal visit with the vim and vigour of Hollywood paparazzi.

It's hard not to swell up with pride watching the pageantry of the smartly uniformed, handsome (and now fetching as well, because of the female element) soldiers parade in perfect cadence to the tune of catchy military music.

As the soldiers marched past the adoring crowds, I caught a few bars of a military band's rendition of the 'March of the Grenadiers.'  
Take a listen, you'll recognize it instantly;

video

It sent chills down my spine..... but not in a good way.

You see, I recently finished screening Dan Snow's 'Battle for North America," the documentary of Great Britain's victory at the Plains of Abraham which of course led to British control of Canada.
You can catch the documentary, if so inclined, in four parts on YouTube, by starting HERE. It is indeed fascinating.

The documentary brought to life the events of the Battle of Quebec in way that the dry history books we studied in high school never did. The human drama and suffering depicted so honestly by Mr. Snow, gave me a perspective of the war that I never had before.

A few months before the famous Battle on the Plains of Abraham, General Wolfe, the commander of British forces was encamped on the east side of the Montmorency river with the French defending the other side. Wolfe hoped to launch a ground assault on the city of Quebec, but would first have to take out that local French garrison. The Montmorency river drains into the St. Lawrence River via the famous Montmorency Falls and Wolfe's plan was to sail around the Falls on the St. Lawrence and then land back ashore to attack the French.

The preparation for the assault was a testament to poor planning  with the attackers landing far from shore because of the failure to allow for the tide. The execution of the plan was no better, a testament to poor discipline.
The Louisburg Grenadiers, having been cooped up in camp for months, scrambled to shore with gusto. Whipped into a frenzy by the beating of the drums and the piping of the "March of the Grenadiers" they imprudently ignored their officers' orders, attacked the heights foolishly and were cut down by the French rather easily. In minutes, over 450 were dead or injured. The attack failed miserably and a furious James Wolfe was forced to abandon the attack and retreat unceremoniously.
Here is a passage from a soldier's account of the battle by the Serjeant-Major of Gen. Hopson’s Grenadiers. LINK
" The First Push we made was on the 31st of July: with 13 Companies of Grenadiers, supported by about 5 Thousand Battalion-men;-- as soon as we landed we fixed our Bayonets and beat our Grenadier's-March, and so advanced on ; during all this Time their Cannon play'd very briskly on us; but their Small-Arms, in their Trenches, lay cool 'till they were sure of their Mark; then they pour 'd their Small-Shot like Showers of Hail, which caus'd our brave Grenadiers to fall very fast: Brave Gen. Wolfe saw that our attempts were in vain, so he retreated to his Boats again: The number of kill'd and wounded that Day was about 400 Men; ...;"
Forced to change plans Wolfe plotted a new attack, but not before taking revenge for the defeat on the local French villages in the surrounding area. Saint-Paul, L’Ange-Gardien, Château-Richer, Saint-Joachim were all burnt to the ground with hundreds killed.
"The most inhuman revenge was perpetrated by Captain Alexander Montgomery, an officer of the 43rd. He was responsible for a terrible incident near the village of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. A small group managed to keep the British at bay by taking refuge in a stone farmhouse.... Rather than take them prisoner, Captain Montgomery ordered their execution in cold blood and shot all the citizens after raping the women and girls (the crime reported by Scottish Fraser in his diary). At Chateau-Richer, several farmers barricaded themselves in the church. The English brought them out by promising them that they'd be spared, then slaughtered and scalped them in the Indian fashion. Link{FR}
Not their finest hour.
Some British officers were so appalled by Wolfe's cruelty that they recorded accounts of the barbarism in their personal journals.

The Battle for Quebec itself was no less savage. The British, using superior technology launched an artillery barrage from the opposite side of the St. Lawrence, that for weeks pounded the city to the point that when Quebec surrendered, there was hardly a building standing.

These are the unfortunate truths of war. Not very pretty.

Although the Grenadiers faced a humiliating defeat at Montmorency, it was they who marched victoriously into Quebec to accept its surrender.  No doubt, the chilling notes of the March of the Grenadiers sent fear and loathing down the spine of the defeated.  

Although the Battle at the Plains of Abraham was a great victory for one side, it was also a terrific defeat for the other.

And so the "March of the Grenadiers" proudly played in Ottawa on Canada Day by our military in front of the Royals, represents a direct link to the past and a celebration of those sad events in 1759, a historical reality that we should acknowledge, but not celebrate.

Considering that Francophones and Anglophones are partners in this great country, I question the wisdom of retaining the "March of the Grenadiers."

Tradition is tradition, but just as the Confederate flag was retired, isn't it high time the regiment picked a new ditty?

34 comments:

  1. Well, as the say, history belongs to the victors.

    Whether one likes it or not, that tune is the regimental march of the Canadian Grenadier Guards. That proud outfit is the second most senior infantry regiment in thereserve Force of Canadian Forces, as well as one of the two Household regiments. The most senior, as well as the other Household regiment is the GG's Foot Guards based in Ottawa. The Grenadier Guards are based in the Plateau in Montreal. It is a bilingual unit.

    Whether the Canadian Grenadier Guards can trace its lineage to the Louisburg Grenadiers or not, the tune is a traditional tune for British Grenadiers. As the Canadian Grenadier Guards are modelled after The Grenadier Guards of the British Army, the traditions are also carried over.

    I do not have any problem with that. That tune has been played - in Montreal, no less - as long as the regiment has been here. If one needs to be offended by that, what about the fact that the only francophone infantry regiment of the Regular Force, the pride and joy of Quebec - the Vandoos (Royal 22e Regiment) - also wears the british red coat and bearskin as their ceremonial uniform? They parade regularly on the Esplanade, not very far from the Plains of Abraham.

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  2. "Considering that Francophones and Anglophones are partners in this great country,"

    You really believe that? Well maybe where the weak partner benefits from the strong partner.

    War is war, and the results realized by Wolfe were a win and a loss to the French.
    Keep the song as it is.

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  3. What a fantastically stupid proposal, Editor. I couldn't care less if the sound of The March of the Grenadiers makes every separatist within earshot weep tears of grief into his poutine. No doubt the French had their own military music playing when they and their Indian allies raided English colonies. Your proposal to retire this regimental song would be the latest in a long series of failed attempts at reconciling Quebec with Canada. The previous efforts -- sacking the Red Ensign, official bilingualism, downplaying the Canadian monarchy -- have all failed to persuade Quebec to shift its role from a demanding province to a contributing one. You claim Francophones and Anglophones are are partners, and any partnership demands compromises be made, yet its very much a one-way road with the English doing the accommodating. Recently I was in Toronto when I passed by a French cultural centre advertising how to live and work in French in Toronto. I'm certain there is no corresponding business teaching how to do the same in Montreal in English. "Hurt feelings" is no reason at all to censure a part of English Canada's historical legacy.

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  4. Very unfortunate that Wolfe stopped where he did. Would have been a much better country without the present day Quebecois and all the problems that were allowed to precipitate into what we have today. Quebec and the French have created a great many of the problems we now "enjoy" in Canada. The editor talks about founding nations whereas I believe Quebec and the Quebecois to be the "unfounding" nation. Canada would be better if they all drifted down the St. Lawrence out to sea.

    Really too bad that Canada has to be tarnished by those people (Quebecois) who are a total and continuing embarrasment to the rest of Canada. This clearly born out by the protests against a visiting celebrities in Montreal and Quebec city.

    Pathetic, small and typical of the
    Quebecois peoples insecure mindset.

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  5. For those who'd like to see M.Beaulieu get grilled, by both the host(ess) and the other guest:

    http://vtele.ca/videos/dumont/rapports-d-inspection-trop-niaiseux-pour-comprendre-faut-il-faire-derailler-la-visite-de-kate-et-william_31409_31408.php

    The attitude to the Monarchy in Quebec is as the woman says - mainly curiosity. People like Beaulieu may be loud and hog the spotlight, but I have a feeling they are not representative of the general population in this case.

    Also, Quebec media should challenge the SSJB people more often, as was done in this clip.

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  6. Wow!!! That clip of Beaulieu getting challenged like that was well worth 8 minutes of my time!! Love it!!! What a clown !!!

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  7. I was disgusted with Canada (Kebec ) day on parliament hill. Way to much French was spoken, just sickening. Not only that, the majority of the acts were from Kebec as usual. I just shut the TV off, again. This is just more funnelling of our money into Kebec, again as usual, sick! Kebec being overrepresented again. Just made me and many other people sick.

    "Considering that Francophones and Anglophones are partners in this great country,"

    This comment by you tells me how much you have bought into the propaganda, lies and spin of the last 5 decades, you should know better.

    "Loyal She Began, Loyal She Remains." Go learn our proud, BNA and UEL history. These were the builders of our country (and Kebec) since 1763,not this phony, revisionist lie, spin, nonsense, this bilingual, multicultural,2 founding nations, linguistic duality lie, spin, propaganda that we’ve been living with since Trudeau and Kebec forced this upon the nation. We’ve been part of the British Empire since 1763 and officially and English speaking country for over 200 years, again just the facts...

    I wonder if people really know what’s been going on in Quebec for the last several decades. Quebec = 5 decades wiping out the English language and culture with racist,anti-English language laws such as bill 22, 178, 101…Just a fact. Racism, bigotry, ethnic language cleansing and human rights violations alive and well in kebec.Kebec where the English, Scottish, Irish, United Empire Loyalists…built the province since 1763, where the Union Jack and Red Ensign flew until 1950. Again just the facts. This lie, this revisionist BS that Quebec is a French province and that Canada is bilingual is just that, an outright lie. 1 million people have been forced out of the province of Kebec (original spelling) due to this type of hatred/lie/spin.

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  8. "but I have a feeling..."

    L'Australie aimerait elle aussi voir disparaître la monarchie mais semble-t-il trop complexe et trop coûteuse comme opération.

    Donnez un petit cours d'histoire aux Québécois et même aux Canadiens sur les coûts et bénéfices reliés aux liens monarchiques et refaite le sondage.Cette opération n'est qu'une campagne médiatique internationale de rajeunissement de la monarchie qui du coup tente d'effacer de l'avant-scène certains moutons noirs indésirables de la famille.

    Mais ou sont donc les grandes oreilles de Charles qui a tant terni l'image monarchique et qui a fait honte a sa maman?Une chose est certaine,il ne se retrouvera jamais sur le trône celui-la sauf le trône auquel je pense.

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  9. "Also, Quebec media should challenge the SSJB people more often, as was done in this clip."

    Vous qui disiez y'a pas si longtemps que les médias Québécois étaient tendencieux et partiaux.Hé bien,vous aviez tort...une fois de plus.

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  10. Thing is, that era was one step removed from the middle ages, and savagery was common place, and also undertsand in this conflict in north america, french and indian would raid farmhouses in us north east and scalp and terrorize, cruelty abounded on all sides. The battle of quebec was a nasty affair like all 7 years war battles.
    It excuses nothing, but it is a reflection of it's times, and reflect the nastiness of the ocnflict in north america.

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  11. À l'anonyme July 6, 2011 10:58 AM :'' 1 million people have been forced out of the province of Kebec (original spelling) due to this type of hatred/lie/spin.'' Personne ne les a forcés à quitter. Par contre, ça démontre bien comment ils pensaient... La majorité reprend ses droits légitimes, c'est-à-dire de contrôler son destin et ses leviers économiques et sociaux, ça ne leur plaisait pas donc, ils ont quittés... Si je suis votre logique, Entre 1840 et 1930, plus de 900 000 personnes quittent le Québec pour les États-Unis, est-ce dire qu'ils ont quittés parce qu'ils crevaient de faim alors qu'ils étaient employés par les anglophones ? Arrêtez de faire votre victime...

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  12. '' 1 million people have been forced out of the province of Kebec (original spelling) due to this type of hatred/lie/spin.''

    Et le plus tragique dans cette affirmation c'est qu'il y croit vraiment et ne voit aucune trace de mépris envers la majorité francophone de l'époque.
    La quintessence du racisme,si je peux m'exprimer ainsi.

    Résumons ainsi:Qui m'aime me suive et plusieurs n'ont pas suivi.

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  13. Hors propos mais sur le sujet de l'armée américaine.Vous avez 3 minutes pour rire?

    Conversation en espagnoles et anglais,sous titré en français.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdvuB5_VnyM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Sont cons les amerlocs!

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  14. "Si je suis votre logique, Entre 1840 et 1930, plus de 900 000 personnes quittent le Québec pour les États-Unis, est-ce dire qu'ils ont quittés parce qu'ils crevaient de faim alors qu'ils étaient employés par les anglophones?"

    They had Anglophone bosses in the United States too. They left Quebec because the economy in the northeastern U.S. was booming and there were more job opportunities there. No accommodations were made for the French language or culture there, so very few of their descendants speak French.

    "Arrêtez de faire votre victime..."

    Anglophones were victimized. Their language was banned from public display. Hundreds of thousands of them left Quebec because the language laws made life intolerable. The United Nations cited Quebec for violating basic human rights with its racist laws.

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  15. "Hundreds of thousands of them left Quebec because the language laws made life intolerable."

    C'est la vie et parfois elle est cruelle.

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  16. "Their language was banned from public display."

    Mais c'est payant $$$!!!

    Troisième ville la plus aimée des touristes,juste après Barcelone!

    http://tinyurl.com/433wgg7

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  17. @ anon 1:09
    "C'est la vie et parfois elle est cruelle. "

    Yes I guess that is why Anglos and Allos need to use their majority in Canada to end Bill 101 in Quebec and to add many strategic parts of Quebec to Ontario for example Montreal Island and points west. I mean life is cruel and there ain't much the Quebecois could do to stop it.

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  18. "Yes I guess that is why Anglos and Allos need to use their majority in Canada to end Bill 101 in Quebec..."

    Je vous rappelle que vous n'étiez que 12 a votre manifestation.12 donuts dans la rue.

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  19. Haïtie chérie dit: ''Anglophones were victimized. Their language was banned from public display. Hundreds of thousands of them left Quebec because the language laws made life intolerable. The United Nations cited Quebec for violating basic human rights with its racist laws. '' Je ne sais pas ou vous habitez mais je trouve que l'anglais est pas mal (trop) présent dans l'espace public. Pour la vie intolérable, parlez m'en, j'ai essayé de vivre en français à Toronto et Ottawa, j'ai jeté la serviette... ''They had Anglophone bosses in the United States too. They left Quebec because the economy in the northeastern U.S. was booming and there were more job opportunities there. No accommodations were made for the French language or culture there, so very few of their descendants speak French.'' Les anglophones eux ne quittaient pas pourquoi si il y avait un boom économique dans le nord-est des États-Unis ? Ils ne cherchaient pas les opportunités ? Et on voit bien comment les descendants parlent français... N'importe quoi... J'essaye de parler français dans le Vermont, pas très facile... donnez-moi des adresses svp !

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  20. @ Haitie cherie,

    "Je ne sais pas ou vous habitez mais je trouve que l'anglais est pas mal (trop) présent dans l'espace public."

    I have lived in Quebec for a long time. Bill 101 banned English and all other languages from public display. How much English do you see on outdoor signs in Quebec now?...hardly any.

    "Les anglophones eux ne quittaient pas pourquoi si il y avait un boom économique dans le nord-est des États-Unis ? Ils ne cherchaient pas les opportunités ?"

    Some Anglos moved to the United States. Many moved to other provinces within Canada. Most of the Anglos in Quebec lived in cities where job opportunities were better. They also had much smaller families than the Quebecois. Most of the Quebecois/Habitants lived on farms and bred like rabbits at the behest of the Catholic Church. They had huge families and eventually there was a spillover of their population into the cities and into other jurisdictions such as the United States.

    Individuals such as yourself and Amir Khadir present an excellent argument for stripping away the autonomy the Quebec government has over immigration.

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  21. Haïti chérie dit: À l'anonyme July 8, 2011 8:34 PM: Ça fait longtemps que vous n'êtes pas venu à Montréal... La Loi 101 n'est pas vraiment appliquée comme elle le doit. Les anglos bigots ont charcutés l'esprit la Loi 101 avec la complicité des tribunaux fédéraux... La revanche des berceaux à donner une population suffisante pour permettre la maîtrise du territoire par les francophones sur cette terre d'Amérique, comme nous en Haïti ! Souhaitons-nous un Québec indépendant dans les années à venir !

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  22. @ Haiti cherie at 10:30 AM:

    "Ça fait longtemps que vous n'êtes pas venu à Montréal... La Loi 101 n'est pas vraiment appliquée comme elle le doit. Les anglos bigots ont charcutés l'esprit la Loi 101 avec la complicité des tribunaux fédéraux"

    The real bigots are the people who wrote Bill 101 and those who support it. Bill 101 was diluted because it was found to be discriminatory by the Supreme Court of Canada – an accurate judgement. Even the United Nations stated that Bill 101 violated basic human rights. English is now allowed on signs in Quebec (as long as it is underneath French and is no more than half the size), but the Office quebecois de la langue francais (and other French language extremists) pressure businesses and others not to post in English.

    "La revanche des berceaux à donner une population suffisante pour permettre la maîtrise du territoire par les francophones sur cette terre d'Amérique, comme nous en Haïti !"

    Francophones are not the native people of America, just as Africans are not the native people of Haiti. Both populations are the result of colonial conquest and exploitation by France. The original people of Haiti were the Taino Indians, who were driven to extinction.

    "Souhaitons-nous un Québec indépendant dans les années à venir !"

    If Quebec ever becomes independent, the very next day it will be forced to declare bankruptcy. It will no longer be supported by the massive influx of cash from the rest of Canada. Like Haiti, Quebec will become one of the poorer countries in the Americas.

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  23. "Quebec will become one of the poorer countries in the Americas."

    La cote de crédit des É-U est maintenant inférieure a celle du mexique depuis environs 2 mois.Un ami vient d'acheter un condo en floride pour 27,000$!

    Ça va mal pour les amerlocs qui sont désormais sur le respirateur artificiel.Ouch!

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  24. @ Haiti cherie,

    I still find it outrageous that we have immigrants (refugees in your case) coming to Canada who have the audacity to advocate for the elimnation of one of our official languages and the break-up of the country. You really have a hell of a nerve!

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  25. Haïti chérie dit: À l'anonyme July 9, 2011 5:11 PM :''Francophones are not the native people of America, just as Africans are not the native people of Haiti.'' Les anglophones ne sont pas les autochtones non plus, quel est votre point ? On parle de la majorité, j'espère bien que le Québec indépendant fera une plus large part aux Premières nations qui ont perdues le contrôle de leur développement... Allez donc dire aux États-uniens qui en veulent aux Mexicains car le castillan (espagnol) prend de plus en plus de place dans le sud des É-U. Un nouveau pays pour le monde: Québec !

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  26. @ Haiti cherie,

    The point I was making is that the displacement of the indigenous people from their territories is nothing to brag about, especially in Haiti where they were completely wiped out.

    Most of the Native people in Quebec are federalists. We saw just how well Quebec Francophones treated Natives during the Oka Crisis. Women, children and the elderly were stoned in their cars when they were being transported out of Kanewake. This was done in the presence of the Quebec Provincial Police, who did not intervene at all.

    The majority of people in Canada and North America are Anglophone; Quebec is just a region within Canada. It will probably remain that way for some time because the Bloc was wiped out in the last federal election and the PQ is in the process of imploding.

    Since you got off the boat, you obviously have been thoroughly indoctrinated by the pure laine seppies. In reality, most of them think you’re just another lousy ethnic.

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  27. Haïti chérie dit: Je crois en lisant vos commentaire à mon endroit que vous me traitez en ''lousy ethnic'' beaucoup plus que mes compagnons indépendantistes !

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  28. @ Haiti cherie,

    "Je crois en lisant vos commentaire à mon endroit que vous me traitez en ''lousy ethnic'' beaucoup plus que mes compagnons indépendantistes !"

    The separatists refer to me as a "lousy ethnic" too because I am an Anglophone. If you're not a white, pure laine Francophone in Quebec you simply don't belong. By the way, I don't have any problem whatsoever with newcomers here, as long as they don't call for the abolition of my language and the destruction of my country.

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  29. Nous voyons comment les Amérindiens sont traités dans le ROC, trop facile de citer la Crise d'Oka...

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  30. "Nous voyons comment les Amérindiens sont traités dans le ROC, trop facile de citer la Crise d'Oka... "

    But aren't you people always arguing that your nation is holier, purer, and more special than the ROC? That it has these kick-ass "treaties" with the native communities (curiously, most of these communities are very federalist, more so than the Anglos and Allos)? Yet you all tend to jump to these comparisons with the RoC whenever dirt is dragged up to the surface....

    It doesn't seem like your nation is distinct or special at all. In fact, it seems as arrogant, controlling, possessive, and self-entitled as any post-colonial jurisdiction in the world, if not more so...

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  31. "It doesn't seem like your nation is distinct or special at all..."

    C'est votre point de vue adski.Ni plus,ni moins et ça vaut ce que ça vaut,c'est-a-dire pas grand chose.Essayez donc de vous intégrer plutôt que d'adopter une attitude aussi réberbative.Vous dormirez mieux et serez plus relaxe ;)

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  32. "C'est votre point de vue adski."

    It is indeed.

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  33. "Nous voyons comment les Amérindiens sont traités dans le ROC, trop facile de citer la Crise d'Oka..."

    The treatment of First Nations people across North America has been shameful. However, I don't recall a recent incident elsewhere in Canada where a mob tried to murder helpless, Native women and children while the local police force stood by and watched.

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  34. Un puissant &X72;emerсіemеnt au webm&X61;ster du site web

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