Messages to members

What we have in common




Links and ressources

Contact us

Becoming a member

Table des matières






Messages aux membres

Ce que nous avons en commun


Liens et ressources



Nous contacter

Devenir membre


Messages to members
Messages aux membres


MAY 19, 2008 / 19 MAI 2008

Note: Ce messsage s'adresse d'abord aux Écossais, et montre les liens entre les Écossais et le mouvement Patriote du 19e siècle. Par conséquent, le message sera en anglais et sera suivi d'un résumé en français.


Today is the ‘Journée nationale des Patriotes’, or National Patriotes Day, in Quebec! In Canada, this day is Victoria Day, in honour of Queen Victoria. Since Quebecers have a certain distaste for the English monarchy (for some reason...), they replaced this forced holiday with National Patriotes Day. Fun fact: the Patriotes actually fought their Rebellion as Victoria took the throne! But, who were those ‘Patriotes’?


The term “Patriotes” can refer to three groups from the early 19th century linked to each other:

1. The Parti Patriote and their members, who fought in parliament for responsible government, for democratic and liberal principles and against the favoritism and corruption of British rule,
2. The citizens who supported them,
3. Those who participated in the 1837-1838 rebellions on the side of the so-called rebels, who sought to establish an independent Republic for Quebec (then called ‘Lower Canada’). Inspiration for the Patriote movement came notably from the American Revolution, the French Revolution and the Irish Rebellion of 1798. Their leader was Louis-Joseph Papineau, who frequently denounced injustices suffered by Ireland, made links with the Quebec situation, and has been called the Quebec’s Daniel O’Connell.

After an armed conflict in 1837 and 1838, a Declaration of Independence which would have made Quebec one of the most progressive countries in the world and the British Army crushing the so-called rebellion, the Act of Union of 1840 was passed to unite Quebec with its English neighbour, Ontario (Upper Canada). The British had been wanting to annex Quebec to its English neighbour for decades on the model of Scotland, Ireland and Wales.


The Patriotes were massively supported by French-speaking Quebecers, but also by members of other groups. A number of supporters came from the Irish in Quebec, who were not exactly fond of British rule either. The better known are : Edmund-Bailey O'Callaghan, Daniel Tracey and Thomas Storrow Brown. The pro-Patriote Irish had the newspaper ‘The Vindicator’ as their main political organ. It is even said that the green stripe in the Patriote tricolour flag was represented Irish Quebecers. Irish leader Daniel O’Connell himself defended the Patriotes in the British Parliament, and Cornish-born William Lovett, one of the founders of the Chartist movement, wrote in support of the Patriote cause. Also, some MPs from England and Quebecers of English stock defended justice for Lower Canada, as did a number of people from around the world (France, Poland, the United States, etc.) who came to Quebec to fight on the side of the “rebels”.


Another people with a similar sentiment: the Scottish. In the ranks of Patriote politicians, we can find John Neilson, born in Dornal, Scotland. He broke ranks with the Patriotes in 1834, but spoke against the Act of Union. When Alexis de Tocqueville visited Quebec in 1831, he met Neilson, who told him:

“The fact is that they [the French-speakers of Lower Canada] are liberal, enlightened and nonetheless deeply believing, and their morals are exemplary. I myself am a proof of their tolerance; a Protestant, I have been elected ten times by Catholics to our House of Commons, and I have never heard it suggested that anyone had ever tried to create the slightest prejudice against me on account of my religion.” – John Neilson

Except for the “deeply believing” aspect, this is still true today!


In Europe, none other than philosopher John Stuart Mill, son of great Scotsman James Mill, argued for the Patriotes:

“[The people of Lower Canada] had against the people of England legitimate cause of war. They had the provocation which, on every received principle of public law, is a breach of the conditions of allegiance. Their provocation was the open violation of their constitution, in the most fundamental of its provisions, by the passing of Resolutions through Parliament, for taking their money from their exchequer without their consent.” – John Stuart Mill

The Scottish philosopher James Mackintosh, as a Member of the British Parliament, was also important for the Patriote cause. At Westminster, he was the first agent of the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada. In 1822, he was the one who informed in time the House of Assembly of Lower Canada that a bill to unite Upper Canada (Ontario) and Lower Canada was about to be debated in the British House of Commons, without the knowledge of those most concerned. Scottish MPs Joseph Hume and Henry Brougham also defended the Patriotes’ cause and voted in their interest by opposing the “Russell Resolutions”.


Another fact: while it is known that Scots fought with the British at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham (in 1759, which assured the Conquest of New France by the British), it is less known that other Scots were on the French side, defending Quebec!

“[W]hen Britain and France were locked in a struggle for empire, Scots found themselves fighting their auld allies. But they might find themselves fighting fellow Scots at the same time, for there were still Scots in the French service and France offered a refuge for Jacobite exiles. The Royal Ecossais remained a regiment of the French army. Indeed after the failure of the '45 Rising two other French regiments were formed from Jacobite exiles. When in 1759, by capturing Quebec, General James Wolf won Canada for Britain, the French officer who surrendered was a certain Roche de Ramsays, descendant of Scots Ramsays and the aide de camp was a certain Chevalier de Johnstone, who had fought for Bonnie Prince Charlie at Culloden.” –


So, let us celebrate the Scots, Quebecers and all others who fought on the side of Quebec, of Justice and Freedom, and happy National (and now International) Patriotes Day!

– Benoît Rheault, Main administrator of the Scotland-Quebec Alliance




Nous célébrons aujourd'hui la Journée nationale des Patriotes. Mais saviez-vous que le mouvement des Patriotes du 19e siècle a pu compter sur plusieurs appuis non-Québécois francophones?

Il y a eu des appuis d'Irlande, de Pologne, de France, des États-Unis... et d'Écosse! Au Québec, les Patriotes ont pu compter sur le support des Irlandais Edmund-Bailey O'Callaghan, Daniel Tracey et Thomas Storrow Brown, et de l'Écossais John Neilson. Dans les Îles britanniques, le légendaire leader irlandais Daniel O’Connell défenda la cause Patriote, comme le fit William Lovett, le fondateur du mouvement chartiste né dans les Cornouailles. Sans oublier, bien-sûr, les députés d’Angleterre et les Québécois d’origine anglaise qui ont su défendre la justice pour le Bas-Canada.

En ce qui concerne les Écossais, John Stuart Mill, célèbre philosophe fils de l'Écossais James Mill, prit position en faveur des Patriotes du Québec. Au parlement, les Écossais James Mackintosh (qui a su avertir les Québécois d'un plan d'union avec l'Ontario ourdi à leur insu), Joseph Hume and Henry Brougham (qui votèrent contre les Résolutions Russell) ont su défendre les Patriotes à leur manière.

En plus, s'il est vrai que des Écossais se trouvaient du côté des Britannique à la Bataille des plaines d'Abraham, il est vrai également que d'autres Écossais se sont battu du côté de la Nouvelle-France! Grâce à "l'Auld Alliance" entre l'Écosse et la France, et le refuge que cette dernière a offert aux Écossais jacobites, on trouvait des Écossais dans l'armée française.

Donc, célébrons les Écossais, les Québécois et tous ceux ayant lutté pour le Québec, pour la Justice et la Liberté, et joyeuse Journée nationale (et maintenant internationale) des Patriotes!

– Benoît Rheault, Administrateur principal de l'Alliance Écosse-Québec



MAY 18, 2008 / 18 MAI 2008

Here’s an news update on Quebec!

Note: Ce message a pour but d'informer les écossais de l’actualité québécoise. Il sera donc écrit en anglais.


Quebec held 3 by-elections last Monday, May 12 : in the ridings (constituencies) of Bourget, Pointe-aux Trembles (both at the eastern tip of the Island of Montreal) and Hull (in the west of Quebec, in the city of Gatineau, near Ottawa, Ontario). Quebec holds elections under the first-past-the-post system.

Strongholds were kept as two ridings remained with the Parti Québécois and one with the Parti libéral. Cameroon-born PQ candidate Maka Kotto, the first African-born person to be elected in the Parliament of Ottawa, now makes his way to the National Assembly of Quebec. Maka Kotto is an actor and poet by profession. He will join Pierre Curzi, another actor now PQ MNA (Member of the National Assembly) who starred in the Oscar-winning Denys Arcand film Invasion of the Barbarians (A.K.A. The Barbarian Invasions).


These are the parties that contested the elections:

PQ : Parti Québécois (social democrat)
QS : Québec solidaire (left-wing coalition)
PI : Parti indépendantiste (independence fundamentalists)

ADQ : Action démocratique du Québec (right-wing populism)

Federalist (unionist):
PLQ : Parti libéral du Québec (center-right)

Unaligned on independence:
PVQ : Parti vert du Québec (Green Party of Quebec)



In March 2007, the general election resulted in the first minority government for Quebec in a century, with the PLQ keeping power. But, for the first time since 1970, the PQ wasn’t the opposition or the government, as the ADQ took the official opposition. Since then, PQ leader André Boisclair resigned and Pauline Marois took his place. She has since then worked towards bringing the party back to the forefront. This was successful in part, with the party being first in opinion polls, but about a month ago the PLQ took back the lead.


The by-elections will result in the same seat distribution at the National Assembly of Quebec, as both the PQ and the PLQ kept their strongholds. The PQ made a good showing in the rigings it won, and increased its votes in Hull.

The biggest news in these elections is the plummeting results of the ADQ. The party’s fortunes have always been a rollercoaster, but this time commentators speak of a blow from which it will be hard to recover. Hurt by a reputation of amateurism of its members in parliament (MNAs), this time the candidates were of high caliber. This did not prevent them coming fifth in Hull, after small third-parties without MNAs.

This was the first electoral test for the Parti indépendantiste, a group of “pur et durs” (fundamentalists) frustrated at the PQ’s “étapiste” (gradualist) approach. Also, the pro-independence Québec solidaire, a party dedicated to being more left-wing than the PQ, has earned a respectable amount of votes in Hull with Bill Clennett, of “Shawinigan Handshake” fame (when the Canadian Prime Minister took peaceful protester Clennett in a chokehold, threw him to the ground and broke his tooth; a glorious moment of Canadian history about which you can learn more on Wikipedia...).


These are the results :
(* : Pro-independence parties)
(IND: Independent candidate)

Voter turnout : 34,81 %

* Maka Kotto (PQ) : 40,54 %
Lyn Thériault (PLQ) : 32,04 %
Scott McKay (PVQ) : 11,26 %
Denis Mondor (ADQ) : 9,44 %
* Gaétan Legault (QS) : 4,41 %
* Richard Gervais (PI) : 2,30 %

Voter turnout : 34,24 %

* Nicole Léger (PQ) : 55,92 %
Mélissa Dumais (PLQ) : 21,74 %
Diane Bellemare (ADQ) : 13,90 %
Xavier Daxhelet (PVQ) : 4,81 %
* Marie Josèphe Pigeon (QS) : 1,61 %
* Colette Provost (PI) : 1,14 %
Gérald Briand (IND) : 0,66 %
Régent Millette (IND) : 0,23 %

Voter turnout : 34,25 %

Maryse Gaudreault (PLQ) : 45,24 %
* Gilles Aubé (PQ) : 33,95 %
* Bill Clennett (QS) : 9,72 %
Brian Gibb (PVQ) : 7,20 %
Jean-Philip Ruel (ADQ) : 3,23 %
* Jean-Roch Villemaire (PI) : 0,67 %


The last opinion poll showed 42% of support for independence with the “hard question”, which is a question about sovereignty without any mention of association. It should be higher with such a mention.

Do not hesitate to ask questions on Quebec by contacting the main administrator or using the forum!