Saturday, January 26, 2013

More on the Treaty of Paris

Some time ago Mickaël Bertrand made note on his blog, "Histoire, Mémoires, & Sociétés", of allusions to the commemoration of various historical events in the debates of France's Assemblée nationale.  One is of particular interest to us, and invites a follow up to my last post.  On November 6th, 2012, Jean-David Siot, deputy of the Bouches-du-Rhône, formally asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs if the French government had any intention of commemorating the Treaty of Paris of 1763.  To quote Monsieur Siot's reasoning: "It holds a particular importance for the national community because it was this judicial act which decided the cession of the French and Francophone territories and populations of New France to Britain.  It is important to commemorate the event, to breath life into the unflagging links of France and the populations still Francophone of Quebec, Louisiana and Acadia.  He [Siot] wishes to know the intentions of the Government regarding this anniversary, and know if ministerial authorities will visit on this occasion the old American territories".

The French government official's response confirmed the persistence of "particularly strong links" between France and North America, and in partricular to its Francophone communities.  Alluding to the commemorative hoop-la of 2008, it pointed to a forthcoming colloquium around the Treaties of 1763 and 1783 will be held under the auspices of the Commission franco-québécoise des lieux de mémoire communs in partnership with the French ministère des affaires étrangères, ministère de la défense, and archives nationales, sometime in November 2013. 

The response concluded with "The Government is ready to examine other initiatives which may emanate from the concerned North American authorities".  Bertrand is taken aback by the implication that the French government does not deem the event worthy of an initiative of its own, or that it seeks to avoid commemorating the loss of a territory. 

Indeed, the Treaty of Paris does not appear on the list of "commémorations nationales" for 2013 published on the website of the Archives de France (the Treaty of Utrecht is there, though).

Do the Canadian or Quebec government have any plans to mark this anniversary?  It's not clear yet.


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