Last modified: 2005-07-30 by phil nelson
Keywords: franco-canadian |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors
I tried to explain a few times in the past about why French-Canadians tend use the fleur-de-lis rather then the French tricolore.
I think it goes down to identification: despite the name, most francophones
do not see themselves as "French living in Canada" (in the way that
some other ethnic communities might). Because of this, in modern day Canada
the tricolore is mostly seen as a foreign flag, not a symbol of ethnic pride.
Marc Pasquin, 20 May 2005
And then, to confuse matters even further (but would probably make perfect
sense to Canadians, almost to the point of "that's common
knowledge!") not all francophones in Canada are in Quebec
(though probably a majority of them are), this is obvious to vexillologists,
who know that francophones in each of Canada's provinces and territories (with
the exception of Quebec) have their own flag. The confusing part is the way
francophones in other parts of the country regard themselves. Here in Manitoba (I've mentioned before that Winnipeg has the largest French population in Western
Canada, the former city of St. Boniface (I grew up on a street 6 streets south
of St. Boniface) is now a part of the city of Winnipeg since 1972) the French
population is quite happily a part of Canada, yet they also are quite happy to
be French (this can be said of most ethnic groups in Canada). I know that the
French in Manitoba go way back in our history and played a pivotal role in the
founding of our province (widely considered the man responsible for creating
Manitoba, Louis Riel was French and Métis), but
to be honest, I don't know if they came from France or Quebec. Regardless,
here in Manitoba, they neither associate themselves with the Tricoleur or the
Quebec flag, but, as you might assume, the Franco-Manitoban
David Kendall, 20 May 2005
Most francophones came from Quebec, including Riel's grand-father or great-grand-father, however there was also a large group that came from Belgium later.
Before 1948, when Quebec adopted the fleur-de-lis, the previous version (with the fleur de lis pointing toward the center) was quite popular in French-Canadian communities all across Canada, minus the Maritimes where the Acadian flag was already used since 1884. In fact I happen to have photos of the flag with the sacred heart and fleur-de-lis used in St Boniface.
The French Tricolore was also once popular in Quebec. At the turn of the 19th-20th centuries, it was in competition with the fleur-de-lis for about a decade until the latter definitely took over. In fact, the colors of the 1909- founded Montreal Canadiens hockey team (blue, white and red - the team is also nicknamed Le Tricolore) derive from this early 20th century period.
Perhaps one of the reasons why the fleur-de-lis won popular favor in Quebec
over the Tricolore is that the clergy did not approve of the French
Revolution. (However, this did not stop an Acadian priest from creating the Acadian flag based on the Tricolore). There was also
the fact that the first fleur-de-lis was inspired by the "Banner of
Carillon", that was said to have been the flag of the (French-)Canadian
militiamen during the last French victory in 1758. Turned out to be simply a
religious banner, but the legend stuck and the fleur-de-lis profited from it.
Luc Baronian, 20 May 2005
Probably the simplest way to see it is this: First, all were French and after a few generations had been born, they start to identify with their province (Canada and Acadie-plaisance).
After they were conquered by the British, they identified more and more along those lines developing separate traditions (and dialects). Even when moving, they tended to still identify first from a cultural point of view with these groups. This ended however in the years leading up to the quiet revolution when the French-Canadians in Quebec developed a sense of self that was based on the province itself. Francophones in other provinces followed suit.
When this mean in this day and age is that the only francophone groups you would see flying a Quebec flag outside of the province are those who either moved out in this generation (explaining the fleur-de-lis seen in Nunavut) or at most within the last century (like some groups in the US states near the border with Québec).
Where Métis came from is a complex question:
part of their ancestry was Amerindians of various tribes (so did not came from
elsewhere) and another part was European (mainly French-Canadians but also
Scottish). Because of this, you can find specific symbols used by them that
are not related to those used by the other francophone communities.
Marc Pasquin, 20 May 2005