Send the Confederate Monuments to Canada

After all, as Wilfred Laurier asserted, where else does a nation honor both the victors and the defeated?

Where is the Canadian who, comparing his country with even the freest countries, would not feel proud of the institutions which protect him? Where is the Canadian who, passing through the streets of this old city and reaching the monument raised a few steps from here to the memory of the two brave men who died on the same field of battle while contending for empire in Canada, would not feel proud of his country? In what other country under the sun can you find a similar monument reared to the memory of the conquered as well as of the conqueror? In what other country under the sun will you find the names of the conquered and the conqueror equally honored and occupying the same place in the respect of the population? (The Benefits of British Institutions, 1877)

Laurier, Canada’s first francophone Prime Minister (1896-1911), was referring to the Wolfe-Montcalm Monument that memorialized the two generals who fought on opposite sides and died in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, a decisive battle in 1759 during the Seven Years War when the British rolled back French colonial presence in North America.

Canada’s capacity to honor both anglophones and francophones in one monument may give provide reasons for thinking of the nation up north as exceptional.

19 thoughts on “Send the Confederate Monuments to Canada

  1. We are exceptional, indeed.

    But the same spirit of progressive iconoclasm has infected us, too, with monuments to British generals (e.g. Lord Cornwallis), and buildings named after dead bureaucrats (e.g. Langevin Block), coming under attack for racism against First Nations.

    So once again, the worst parts of intra-American cultural strife have affected us too.

    It’s all your fault. 😉


  2. In other words, Will S. is telling us, Laurier was a long time ago. We weren’t tearing down monuments then, either.


  3. Exactly, Dan.

    Best to not read history books if one wants an accurate picture of matters contemporary; they can only show what we’ve lost…


  4. Since Canada is a bilingual nation, it seems that both heritages are equally important. Of course the conflict between the French and the English in Canada does not quite parallel the Civil War. For the Confederate monuments were not just honoring war heroes, they were honoring white supremacy. So in comparing our Civil War with the British-French conflict in Canada, is white supremacy what we rely on to protect us? If so, then Canada certainly is exception compared to us.


  5. “Since Canada is a bilingual nation, it seems that both heritages are equally important.”

    Unfortunately, not so. Since Pierre Trudeau, government jobs have mostly required fluency in both languages, leading to the civil service being dominated by francophones, which has a huge impact on society, esp. in tandem with the separatist threat of francophone Quebeckers allowing them to constantly hold the rest of Canada hostage, so that they are a minority who end up with their own becoming party leaders and thus both government head and opposition leaders many times, yet still they complain, because this allows the blackmail to continue, and the bribery to flow.

    Meanwhile, they, like our current PM, say BS like ‘Canada has no culture’, ignoring English Canada’s heritage and roots. We have a distinct culture, but it’s one the ruling class loathes, and would rather stamp out via immigration and French domination. (Je parle francais; aucune probleme pour moi. But many of my Anglophone countrymen aren’t so fortunate.)


  6. Oh the irony! The administration at WILFRID Laurier University must have quaffed a few at drinks at Wilf’s, the on-campus pub, before making this decision:

    Or maybe it’s a Liberal bias showing (Macdonald was Conservative) or no, they only took on the Wilfrid Laurier name because the acronym is the same as their previous name: Waterloo Lutheran University.


  7. Let us end this violence, and join our hands in song.

    I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world” (John 17:14). If the world is a foreign land, then the justified elect by definition in exile. But if everything is exile, nothing is exile. Because the whole world is alien territory, Every culture is equally close and equally distant from the new creation..


  8. D.G.,
    Your last sentence is a bit off. There were some abolitionists who were white supremacists. But the cause of the Union Army was white supremacy as was the cause of the Confederate army and the reaction to the efforts at Reconstruction by many of its soldiers after the Civil War. Pointing out that the North exhibited its own form of racism doesn’t exonerate the confederate cause.


  9. @ DGH: Oh, I don’t blame America for Canada wanting to be more like Europe; we manage that part on our own.

    I partly blame America for Canada wanting to be more like America, though. But it’s more on us, actually, for letting that happen.


  10. D.G.,
    Wish there was editing on this, Meant to write that the cause of the Union army was NOT white supremacy. The cause of the confederate Army was white supremacy.


  11. D.G.,
    IN other words, you’re deflecting again. Never said that the Union cause was pure, it just wasn’t white supremacy. Defending race-based slavery was part of defending white supremacy. That was the Confederate cause.

    BTW, do the Scriptures condemn the kind of slavery that existed in the South?


  12. Curt, the union was not White Supremacy? And yet we on this side of the Civil Rights movement are being told we participate in institutional racism through implicit bias? So somehow people living 150 years ago — who never heard of MLK — were free of implicit bias?

    You need to take out the convenience meter. It’s off the charts.


  13. D.G.,
    The Union didn’t fight for white supremacy, the confederates did. There is a big difference there and the fact that the Union did not fight for white supremacy did not imply that there weren’t many people in the North who weren’t white supremacists. I know from personal experience about the discrimination and white supremacy that existed and still exists in the North. Do you know that one of the townships that WTS is located between didn’t have any Black homeowners until the Supreme Court acted against discrimination? I know because I lived in that township.

    Somehow, you tend to make connections that aren’t there. And you add to that the eagerness to make accusations while responding to others. You might see that as charming but I don’t think the Scriptures do.


  14. Curt, you mean Ta Nehisi Coates is wrong about red-lining in northern U.S. cities?

    Who knew?

    The North fought to preserve the Union. And as many blacks have been saying, the original union was white supremacist. Now you’re telling me it was only the South?


  15. Garrison Keillor—My friend Pastor B.D. Christensen said something so good Sunday morning that I woke up and wrote it down: “[something something] . . . about making peace with the mistakes of the past [blah blah blah] and learning from them. It’s slippery ground, in general, to judge past actions by present standards and with a benefit of hindsight that is, morally, highly questionable.” And immediately I thought about the Minneapolis Park Board voting to rename Lake Calhoun as Lake Bde Maka Ska because the man for whom it was named back in the early 1820s was a slavery enthusiast from South Carolina and an author of the Indian Removal Act and also, judging from his pictures, ugly as a mud fence.

    Renaming is a slippery business. I knew a Cheryl back in 1969 who became Saffron and it didn’t work out and a few years later she resumed her Cherylness. The Triborough Bridge in New York City was renamed the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, but if you were to ask directions to that bridge, you might wind up in Pennsylvania, a state named for the common pencil.

    On the other hand, Jean-Louis Kerouac did well to rename himself Jack. A Jean-Louis would be unlikely to write “On the Road” but a Jack Kerouac — the road was right up his alley. In 1963, Idlewild Airport on Long Island was renamed JFK, which stuck, thanks to the clumsiness of “Idlewild” — no large airport is idle, and airline passengers do not care to think of aviation in terms of wildness — and besides that, “JFK” rhymes. Fine and good. And back in the 18th century, Francois-Marie Arouet did a smart thing by taking the pen name Voltaire.

    And then there is Sen. Al Franken. He did USO tours overseas when he was in the comedy biz and the show he did was broad comedy of a sort that goes back to the Middle Ages. Shakespeare used those jokes now and then, and so did Bob Hope and Joey Heatherton when they entertained the troops. If you thought that Al stood outdoors at bases in Iraq and Afghanistan and told stories about small-town life in the Midwest, you were wrong. On the flight home, in a spirit of low comedy, Al ogled Miss Tweeden and pretended to grab her and a picture was taken. Eleven years later, a talk show host in LA, she goes public, and there is talk of resignation. This is pure absurdity. Franken should change his name to Newman and put the USO debacle behind him and then we’ll change frankincense to Febreze. Remove the slaveholder Washington from our maps, replacing him with Wampanoag, and replace Jefferson, who slept with Sally Hemings — consensual? I doubt it — with Powhatan, and what about the FDR Drive in New York, named for a man who was unfaithful to his wife? Let’s call it RFD and let it go at that.


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