Jules-Paul Tardivel. Quebec 1901


Source: Andree Ferretti & Gaston Miron, Les grands textes indépandantistes. Editions de L’Hexagone, Montreal, 1992;
First Published: La Verité, October 12, 1901;
Translated: for marxists.org by Mitch Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2005.

American born Jules-Paul Tardivel (1851-1905) emigrated to Quebec and became the first post-Confederation writer to call for independence for Quebec. He wrote for and founded several journals, and believed it was divinely ordained that Quebec would obtain its independence.

It would perhaps be appropriate to come to an agreement on the precise meaning of the expression “the independence of Canada.”

The French-Canadians aspire to the creation at the hour willed by divine providence of a state French, free, independent and autonomous; a state that we believe will embrace the entire northeastern part of the American continent. This hope should be deep in the heart of every truly patriotic French-Canadian. If it isn’t there, the efforts we are making to keep our language, our institutions, and our nationality have no meaning. Why put ourselves to so much trouble to preserve our own existence if we don’t count on the fact that one day, known to God alone, that existence will receive its full development? The struggle to preserve intact the French-Canadian nationality, amidst the political vicissitudes through which our people has passed, necessarily presupposes the intention to one day form a French-Canadian nation.

But if by the independence of Canada we mean the independence of Canada as it is, the rupture pure and simple of colonial ties, of the tie that unites us to England, and the maintenance of the ties that chain the provinces to each other, then this is not at all our intention.

We would have nothing to gain from such an independence, for we would continue to be a minority in this independent Canada. On the contrary, we would have everything to lose, for the English majority of Canada — which is certainly more hostile to us than the English people and parliament — free from that point of any constraints, would seriously attempt to carry out its plans of universal Anglicisation. This would mean either the crushing of our race or civil war, two things to be avoided.