Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Excavating Democracy

It has long been one of John Ralston Saul's talking points in his case that Canada has abjectly neglected, if not actually denied, the moment in 1848-49 when responsible government, the foundation of Canadian democracy, was secured. Go to Montreal, he would say, and you will find that the site of Parliament where it was achieved, the Parliament thereupon burned down by an anti-democratic mob, is a parking lot.

Well, maybe some people listened. The terrific Montreal museum Pointe-à-Callières has been conducting archaeological excavations at the parking lot since the summer, and the finds are terrific, it seems.

Update, October 27:  Ken Dewar comments from Halifax:
Re your item of Oct. 18th, Excavating Democracy, the excavations are very interesting, but isn't the real "abject neglect" the failure to note Joseph Howe in Nova Scotia in February 1848 as the real moment "when responsible government, the foundation of Canadian democracy, was secured"?
Thirty-five years of residence in Halifax turns one into a bit of a Nova Scotia nationalist.
Hmm.  I guess it is no excuse to say I only had five years in Nova Scotia, and it wasn't enough.

On the other hand, good to recall that Province House is still right there for Nova Scotia to admire, not waiting for a few shards to be recovered from the dirt.

A timeline on responsible government from the Nova Scotia legislature website.

Image:Toronto Star
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