Tuesday, February 5, 2013

And what about the Royal Proclamation, while we're at it?

I commented earlier this month on the commemoration, or lack thereof, of the Treaty of Paris of 1763.  Tom Peace has a new post on ActiveHistory which makes a thoughtful case for the importance of commemorating the Royal Proclamation of 1763, especially in the context of the #idlenomore winter we've been having here in Canada.  (Christopher Dummit also offers some insightful comments on his blog, Everyday History).

 "The Harper government should embrace the Royal Proclamation." writes Tom, "Not only is it a foundational – one might even say constitutional – document in Canada’s legal history, it also provides the Prime Minister with an opportunity to demonstrate his apparent concern for First Nations’ priorities."  He goes on to argue, though, that it's not just the government, but everyone, who should be thinking about that momentous document and its consequences.

To Tom's overview of the significance of the Royal Proclamation in the realm of Aboriginal affairs, I would add only a small caveat: let's not forget that this was also a significant milestone in the history of the Canadiens of the time, and their French-Canadian and Québécois descendants.  Just take the name "Quebec", for example.  Before then, it referred to the city alone.  With the Proclamation, a "Province of Quebec" was born, encompassing the whole of the St. Lawrence valley.  To be sure, its boundaries would evolve, and it would be renamed "Lower Canada" and "Canada East" over the following century, but that early label would return with a vengeance in 1867.


No comments:

Post a Comment