Jan 8 2013
Wilfred Laurier and Canadian Politics
I. Louis Riel Revisited
Hanged for his role in NW rebellion
Martyr vs. father of Manitoba- in 1993 the martyr statue was replaced by the
respectable statue stating him as the father of Manitoba instead of a tortured soul
there are diff ways we think of Riel
conflict over historical memory
how should we understand his place in Canada?- the English and the French see
riel very differently
in French Canada, there were massive demonstrations protesting what had
happened to Riel. In English Canada, they saw him as a murder and against the
3 key dynamics of the age
1. The fundamental cleavage/division of French and English Canada.
2. How local issues become national ones, the provinces all have a stake in
each other’s issues.
3. The way cultural issues become political issues. Catholicism and
II. Growing Divisions
Manitoba schools question- and the status of separate catholic schools- the gov.
eliminated public funding for bilingual and separate schools in the province.
They banned bilingualism in courts etc…
The 2 religious systems were sensible. The Manitoba province was split b/w the
Metis and English
It represented demographic reality and political compromise
The cultural recognition recognised politics and reality
The pop of Manitoba of Catholics went down to 10%- what happened?
Immigration happened. Good land in Ontario was filling up and much of the
English pop went to Manitoba and it became a little colony of Ontario
But very few French Catholics go to the NW.
This shifts the demographic balance of Manitoba
Most common form of Canadian migration is within Canada, or the migration to
the U.S. so internal migration and out- migration
Thus, catholic pop is not so politically powerful, so Manitoba makes the law of
banning the funding the separate schools- this becomes national bc education is a