Span: Journal of the South Pacific Assoc for Cwlth Lit and Language Studies
Number 36, 1992
Postcolonial Fictions:
Proceedings of the SPACLALS Triennial Conference 1992
Edited by Michèle Drouart

Multi-post-colonial Culture: The Great White North Downunder

Wendy Waring

Since my arrival in Australia three years ago, I have been trying to piece together some of the differences between Canadian and Australian multiculturalism. This paper is little more than an initial effort in that direction. One reading which is suggested by Freda Hawkins' comparative study of Australian and Canadian immigration policy, would put Canada out in front in the multicultural diversity race.

Canada today has a more ethnically diversified population than Australia, chiefly because of her two founding peoples and the much larger numbers of Europeans who entered Canada in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Because of this, Canada has more experience of ethnic diversity and of larger non-majority, ethnic communities at an earlier stage. Despite this ethnic diversity and longer experience of ethnic difference, which may result in more tolerant attitudes and less potential hostility towards new ethnic communities and visible minorities today, Canada[...] discriminated against non-white immigrants from the late 19th century onwards with the same determination as Australia and for the same reasons, only seeing compelling reasons to change 11 years earlier. (Hawkins, 258)

Even while emphasising the racism of Canadian policy, the vocabulary of a teleological view of something called "multiculturalism" is clear here. Canada's greater "experience of ethnic diversity and of larger non-majority, ethnic communities at an earlier stage" and her "longer experience" may mean "more tolerant attitudes." But in another 11 years, will Australia be as "multicultural" as Canada? What is significant about the differences in ethnic diversity as they relate to notions of multiculturalism and postcolonial culture?

Today, approximately 43.5 per cent of Canada's population is of British origin, 28.9 percent of French origin, and about 27.5 per cent of other origins. Although immigrants constitute a higher proportion of Australia's population today (20 per cent to Canada's 16 per cent) Australia is in fact far more homogeneous than Canada. [... . It is] estimated that Australians of British origin represented 76.95 per cent of the population. (Hawkins, 261-263)

If the success of multiculturalism or a postcolonial heterogeneity were dependent on the weight of numbers, then Canada would surely be winning the race. And we'd always be further down the track than Australia. Now this seems to me to be an absurdly teleological way to look at something like "multiculturalism." Perhaps it's not a question of counting up the number of Other voices, but rather of understanding how those Other voices, whether there are 56.4 % of them or 33% of them, manage to make themselves heard. I am convinced that at this point it would be useful, both for reasons of methodology and redress, to turn our attention to the "French Fact" in Canada. In light of the fact that the French in Canada were white European colonists, this may seem a perverse suggestion to some.1 Nonetheless, a little potted history might make my aims more clear here. My apologies to those for whom the following history is a familiar one.

By the end of the Seven Years' War, the French crown had ceded much of their North American empire to the British. In 1763, the colonists were abandoned to the new government. Before this defeat, French-speaking Europeans had been settled on First People's lands for about 150 years. These canadiens were now cut off from (and deserted by) France; they had been conquered by a foreign power. The status of their existence as a people, their history, their culture and their language was tenuous. Yet the British were reluctant to disenfranchise them completely. Not only were they white, and from northern European stock, their knowledge of the country was useful.2 In order to remain secure in this new and distant addendum to the empire, London decided after The Conquest of 1763 to allow the canadiens to keep their language and traditions. The king's counsellors had no way of knowing that in thirteen years - 1776 - a plentiful supply of loyal British colonists would flee the new republic of the United States. By then it was too late. The canadiens adamantly refused to assimilate to British ways; the rebellions of 1837-38 and the institution of the War Measures Act in 1970 are pages in this history of the French-Canadian struggle. And to make a very long story absurdly short, this is why Canada is officially bilingual.

The point of returning to these particular tensions in Canadian history is to frame the discussion of Canada's two "founding nations" and the institution of notions of multiculturalism in Canada within this strife. While the words "founding culture" cannot help but carry the imperialist aroma, and in Australia inexorably turn one's attention to the British empire, in Canada the relationship between the canadiens and the British would be anything but the cordial agreement of two founding nations. With the arrival of the United Empire Loyalists after the Conquest, the language and culture of the canadiens was increasingly repressed, sometimes outlawed. Nor did Confederation in 1867 unambiguously confirm the status of French Canadians in Canada. One hundred years later, the place of their language and culture, and the negotiation of Quebec's provincial powers with regard to a vigorously promoted federalism, is still a site of conflict. By the time the Royal Commission to investigate bilingualism and biculturalism was established in 1963, French-speaking Canadians were increasingly garrisoned in Quebec. Speaking French in Canada owed nothing to the glamorous European chic with which it is associated in Australia. At the time, demographic surveys showed that the French-Canadian population was dwindling; some estimated that what had been a third of the population at the turn of the twentieth century would, by the twenty-first, be merely a fourth (Posgate & McRoberts). In the 1960s, few positions of responsibility would be entrusted to someone who spoke no English; bilingualism was a survival strategy. Francophones traditionally belonged to the working class. As Mordecai Richler put it in The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

Pea-soups were for turning the lights on and off on the sabbath and running elevators and cleaning out chimneys and furnaces... . The French Canadians were our schwartzes. ( Richler, 110)

For over two hundred years, French-Canadian literature has inscribed and articulated the struggle to survive under the threat of English assimilation. Even while moving back and forth between a cultural politics of race and nationhood and an exploration of the possibilities of the cosmopolitan and international in Quebec culture, the French-Canadians have laboured under the perpetual threat of slow cultural genocide. Perceiving French Quebec or French Canada solely as a leftover mouthpiece for an imperialist founding people in the British style neglects their subsequent history of colonization and a struggle which in the 1960s and 1970s came to be embedded in Thirld World discourses of autonomy and independence, the articulations of Black liberation in the States, and Marxist revolutionary texts re-written for a French Canadian context.3 The articulation of French Canada as culturally and economically colonized by English Canada and the USA was carried out in texts like Paul Chamberland's Les nègres blancs d'Amérique in Michèle Lalonde's poster poem Speak White or through the literary use of the Montreal working class dialect of joual. While it is important not to conflate race and ethnicity, it is also important to understand the nature of the French Canadian adoption (and adaptation) of négritude in relation to their own cultural self-definition against the English nations which surround them. Here we may begin to see the importance of the French Fact to considerations of multiculturalism in Canada and Australia. French-Canadians have been contesting the imposition of a homogeneous British colonial culture since the 1700s; the very structure of the nation of Canada enacts the repressions and the counter-strategies of a continuing neocolonial struggle.4

I'm sure you will not be surprised to learn that many of the articles and books available on the relationship between Australia and Canada perpetuate an identification of Anglo-Canada with all of Canada. Both English-Canadians and Australians are guilty of "eclipsing" French Canada in their critical discussions. Typical of this critical tick is the "inclusion" of the 400-year-old history of the 11-odd million French-Canadians in Canada through one or two pithy lines, as in: "[I]n Canada, there is French Canada which forbids any national definition in unitary terms" (Arthur 6). This is all the author has to say about French Canada, despite the title of her article: "Between Literatures: Canada and Australia."5 The discourse of universality underlying this practice can be clearly seen in an essay on Margaret Atwood's Surfacing by Christopher Worth. He writes:

There is nothing so Scottish as Waverley - and yet it is also so European. There is nothing so Canadian as Surfacing - and yet it is so much a text about speaking English in an American dominated world culture. (Worth 150)

The consistent omission of the hyphenated descriptor of English- or Anglo- in titles makes for a more marketable universality; moreover, this tendency to universalise anglophone culture into Canadian culture is reinforced by a number of institutional factors, for example, the importance of journals like World Literature Written in English, or certain assumptions of Commonwealth Studies (that the Commonwealth speaks English). As Leslie Monkman put it in his review of the collection of essays Australian/Canadian Literatures in English: Comparative Perspectives:

The comparison [between Australian and Canadian national literatures or cultures] usually weakens, and often directly interrogates, presuppositions relating to nationality and literature. Various factors influence the form and argument of such studies: [...] in both Australia and Canada, the study of, let alone the comparison of, any literatures outside the Anglo-American axis has remained relentlessly "marginal," "peripheral," or "emergent" in the political milieu of both university literature departments contemplating curricula and publishing houses contemplating books. (Monkman 164)

Needless to say, French-Canadian texts are often less regarded in the process of the canonical formation of the national literature; still more marginalised are those texts by French-speaking immigrants like Jean Jonassaint or Marilu Mallet. Writers from Haiti, Algeria, or other North African and Middle Eastern countries, as well as those from the many Latin peoples - Italian, Chilean, or South, Central and North American Spanish speakers who have taken French as their Canadian langue de travail - are virtually absent from criticism.6 The universality which is thus perpetuated is not without its links to a canon which Arun Mukherjee describes in her book, The Aesthetic of Opposition:

... a canon made mostly of ahistorical and apolitical Anglo-American texts was presented to me as the epitome of what constituted literature. It did not educate me in anything and alienated me from my reality. (Mukherjee 4)

The tendency to erase the French Fact is shadowed by another, more insidious side of universalism where French-Canadian culture and texts are used with their political content evacuated and their political context disappeared. Take, for example, an early essay by Diana Brydon entitled "Landscape and Authenticity: The Development of National Literatures in Canada and Australia." Brydon proceeds as if no Europeans had invaded Canada and confronted its landscape before the British conquest. None of the French-Canadian literature produced in the century before The Conquest is considered. One of her examples of "a Canadian voice" was that of William Drummond, a doctor and member of the English bourgeoisie in Montreal who appropriated the speech of French-Canadian habitants for his poetry.

Drummond introduced the halting English of the French Canadian peasant in poems which celebrated a simple life in harmony with the rhythms of the seasons and the cycles of farming the land:

But I tole - dat's true I don't go on de city
If you geev de fine house an' beacoup d'argent -
I rader be stay me, an spen' de las' day me
On farm by de rapide dat's call Cheval Blanc. (Brydon 1981, 281)

There is a consistent confusion about whether the article is referring to both French and English Canada or English Canada alone. Early in the article we read:

At first especially, Canadians and Australians tried to make their homes into little Englands, shutting out the alien landscape around them. Yet at the same time they were proud of having survived in such a threatening environment. There is always a tendency to make a patriotic identification with the harshest elements of the climate, so that Canadians sing, "Mon pays, c'est l'hiver," while Australians recite: "I love a sunburnt country." (Brydon 1981 279)

The irony here is that in the period in question, the nineteenth century, the word "Canadians" would refer to the canadiens, none of whom had any interest in making their homes into little Englands (or little Frances, for that matter). Moreover, the patriotic song "Mon pays, c'est l'hiver" is in fact by Quebecois nationalist Gilles Vigneault, and was often sung in the 1970s at rallies and demonstrations. Approaching Canada as if it were a chilly version of an officially English Australia repeats the neocolonizing gesture of The Conquest. Moreover, it neglects a body of texts which are constantly challenged by and challenge the simultaneous existence of cultures in unequal relation.

The French-Canadian third of the population in combination with those Canadians of "Other" origins do by far outweigh (in numbers if not in clout) the remaining percentage of the population of British origins. The weight of these "voices overriding the voice" is not to be underestimated. This forceful heterogeneity ethnicises the British cultural heritage of Canada and re-contextualises the powerful anglophile presence in North America. In a text like Daphne Marlatt's narrative prose poem, How Hug a Stone, the intercultural and intertextual "conversations" between Quebecois experimental writers such as Nicole Brossard reappear in an approach to the fabric of language. The mute "e" of How Hug a Stone and its language play echoes the concerns of French-Canadian feminists with the workings of gender in language. The poetic narration of a return to England in search of a cultural heritage is rendered particular, quirky and quaint through the exploration of the fabric of the English language, a textual procedure we can in part relate to the exchanges between Quebecois and English feminist writers. As Leslie Monkman notes:

Some of the most promising comparative studies stress issues relating to literary reception in order to indicate the importance of class, race and gender while others examine the roles of universities, publishers and governments in order to argue that national literatures develop not on the basis of masterworks or evolving cultural adaptation but rather on the establishment and influence of the institutions of a literary culture. (Monkman 164)

It is mistake, however, to think that an Anglo-American universality can be corrected solely by the addition of "Other" voices. Adding in the occasional French-Canadian (or French-Canadian immigrant) text will not adequately address the challenge that a bilingual, multicultural Canada raises.

In a more recent article, "Troppo Agitato: Reading and Writing Cultures," Diana Brydon explores the impact of the meeting of cultures. Her analysis of novels by Rudy Wiebe and Randolph Stow, insists on the postcolonial necessity for "transcultural hybridization."

The postcolonial imagination depends on the mixing of cultures. Its interest lies in the characters who embody that process in their lives. Colonial fiction in Canada and Australia stressed the tragedy of the mixed blood, a person who belonged nowhere, because of the shared imperial and native horror of "impure" race. But postcolonial fiction re-evaluates that stigma, seeing it as the unjustified product of an ethnocentricity that postcolonial experience of multiculturalism has outgrown. (Brydon 1988 19)

While I certainly fall in with this healthy suspicion of "purity," I am not entirely sure that "hybridization" does not harbour certain monsters. The thought of such plurality brings to mind a novel by Quebecois writer Jacques Godbout which enacts with humour and a self-referential joie de vivre certain aspects of the "postcolonial experience of multiculturalism" in Canada. Les têtes à Papineau is a bi-graphic autobiography of a freak two-headed child born to French-Canadian parents. In it, the bicephalic character writes the story of their life while awaiting a surgical procedure which will join them together. One head, Charles, is the rational type. He has no time for literature, for the sound of words, les jeux de mots (21-23). Unlike François, who delights in all of language's games, Charles wants a modern life, unfettered with the messiness of history.

Je ne crois pas aux traces, dit Charles, nous avons payé assez cher, il me semble, notre filiation aux Papineau. Je ne veux plus avoir de pere ni de mere. Nous serons conçus par laser cette fois.
(Godbout 22)7

The novel is an obvious, quite over-the-top allegory of a certain bilingual and bicultural nation. The surgical procedure which will join the two heads together will eliminate the "impurity" of their existence. As Dr Northbridge, the eminent specialist who will perform the operation, puts it:

On ne peut passer sa vie a moitié ceci et cela. Savez-vous la place que vos deux têtes vous permettent de revendiquer? Pour la science et pour l'administration, Messieurs Papineau, vous n'êtes que des moitiés d'homme ... (Godbout 21)8

The echo of discourses of economic rationalism comes through loud and clear. Additional cultures, Other cultures, multicultures, are a drain on resources; moreover, they cause too much paperwork. Of course, Dr Northbridge does not intend to cut off one head; rather he plans on merging them. Here, we might do well to recall the notion of transcultural hybridization. In imagining this merger, Charles visualises the process as the joining of two halves of two divided melons: seeds intact, the join a bit tricky, but clean. Francois envisages a recipe of his mother's: slice a pineapple down the middle, scoops out the insides, mix the pulp with icecream, fill the cavities up, and put the two halves back together. Pop it in the freezer. The problem, as François so drolly notes, is that some of the cream always leaks out.

As we move through the novel we come to appreciate the very different identities of the two heads. What will become of them if they merge? The questions here are reminiscent of those which Brydon poses in "Troppo Agitato."

How can we create conditions for equal dialogue while avoiding eclecticism? [ ... ] How can we achieve the ideal of "heterology," which makes understood the difference of voices - what Wilson Harris terms the "harlequin cosmos at the heart of existence" (Harris 120) - while avoiding the twin perils of insipidity and self-parody? What is the discourse appropriate to this heterological mentality (Todorov 12) (Brydon 1988 13).

In the context of a critical article, these are procedural questions, but then, in the context of the novel, we too are concerned with procedures. (And is there not a whiff of the cultural smorgasbord here to set the postcolonial mouth watering?) Or: Will the cream leak out of the pineapple? What will happen to the two heads? The novel ends with a letter, dated July 1 1981 (which, in Canada, used to be Dominion Day but is now, after fervent federalism, Canada Day):

Dear Sir:

I am truly sorry I can't honor the publishing contract Charles and François Papineau had previously signed with your house. As you must have learned from Dr. Gregory B. Northridge, it is impossible for me to write the last chapter of the book in your language.

Dr. Northridge insists it is merely a side effect of the brain operation. Research psychologists tend to agree with him. French speech was in the left side of François' brain. The voices of the right side still occasionally break through. But when I hear the words I cannot reproduce them. It is as though they were a mesmerizing speech!

It was a shock for the entire surgical team when it became clear that once beheaded "les têtes" were replaced by a unilingual individual. So be it.

Both heads wanted so much to be normalized. Well, there is no one left to be blamed for what happened, is there?

Of course if you were kind enough to send me the diary in translation, I promise you I will study it and send you some feedback.

Thanking you in advance, I remain

Yours truly,

Charles F. Papineau

Computer Science Center

English Bay

Vancouver B.C.

This letter is in English. Coming as it does at the end of a text that not only is in French, but which plays with the myriad political and literary possibilities that Quebecois French affords, this letter is a violence done to the reader. The process of "cultural hybridization" is obviously difficult and can be fatal to some.

Opportunities for transcultural dialogues are riddled with problems of translation and the process of translation is never transparent; never divests itself of the political baggage of the source and target languages. As Susanne de Lotbiniere-Harwood shows so ably in her bilingual text Re-Belle et Infidèle: La Traduction comme pratique de réécriture au feminin or The Body Bilingual: Translation as a rewriting in the feminine, translation is an ideal site for political intervention. Indeed it cannot be avoided. A touching illustration of this can be found in the Canadian-Korean writer Jean Yoon's poem, "Direct Translation."

Direct Translation

Toronto, 1979
Pissed off because I slept in again
and my feet ache from dancing to Rocka-Billy till three
All I want in the world is a fast coffee and some quiet
but there's my mother again with a bright face and an apron
Did you sleep well, Honey?
I grunt and put on the kettle because it's the same stupid question
she asks every morning and I still haven't found a response
and there's not much we can discuss anyway
because everything I think is wrong.

Seoul, 1983
Folding up my bed and sneaking a cigarette before breakfast
the tinny sounds of cooking and the hup hup of soldiers on their morning jog
the small of half-familiar things like warm rice and ten-jung soup
moo gung hwa and marigolds by the garden wall
red dust and distant construction
I think of all the things I cannot say
which is everything except the basics
like "Studying korean is difficult but fun."
and "Because it is raining today, I go to the library."
I bury my cigarette in the earth like a seed
and practice "Good Morning" in my mother's tongue
Anyong-hi Choomoo-shu-say-yoh?
Direct translation
Did you sleep well? (familiar)
Did you sleep well? (polite)

So many years of intimate misunderstanding between mother and daughter are inscribed in this simple instance of translation. And beyond this domestic impasse is woven a social and political text. Or to take another example, shorter still, but caught up in the politics of immigrant oppression in the western provinces in the 1950s.

In Ann Decter's recent novel, Paper, Scissors, Rock, the protagonist Jane is a true hybrid woman (her mixed heritage includes Ireland and Eastern Europe, Catholic and Jewish faiths). She returns to "Muddy Water," a thinly disguised Winnipeg, to nurse her dying father, and rediscovers some of the stories of her heritage. The moment of translation in question comes after his death.

As the heat of summer gave way to the grief of autumn, Jane, Gene and Owen struggled through what Phil had left them. While the burden of the will and the estate fell to Owen, the job of packing and closing the house was left to Jane and Gene. Jane still ran errands when Owen had sorted out exactly what needed doing. One particular day she went to the registrar of births and deaths to obtain a certificate of each for Phil. Jane drove idly down to the river as she waited for the forms to be processed, the little cards typed and sealed in plastic. The Muddy River slumbered north, meandering its thick and lazy way along the Arctic watershed. When she retrieved the certificates, Jane slipped them in an envelope and drove back to the slowly emptying little house. She only looked at them when she got home.

"Hey" she said to Gene, "his name wasn't really Phil. It was Peretz."

"What do you mean?" He took the birth certificate. "Peretz," he read.


A long-ago world vanished yesterday. (179)

I stop on these instances of translation to emphasize something about the possibilities for re-organising our understanding about the inter-relationship between Australian and Canadian multiculturalism. Could the French-Canadian history and culture of a struggle for language rights tell us more about some of the pathways open to multiculturalism in Australia than English language texts? Although I too have been known to glory in the plurality of tongues and the infinite ironies of theoretical schizophrenia,9 perhaps the struggle to understand how we can celebrate plurality without evacuating the heterogeneity of its power plays comes clear in Jacques Godbout's cautionary allegory. After all, two heads are better than one. In negotiating the overlapping distances between the postcolonial and the multicultural, we must be careful not to lose our heads.

Curtin University of Technology


Arthur, Kateryna Olijnyk. "Between Literatures: Canada and Australia." Ariel. 19.1 (January, 1988): 3-12.

Bhabha, Homi K. "DissemiNation: time, narrative, and the margins of the modern nation." Bhabha, Homi K, ed. Nation and Narration. London: Routledge, 1990. 291-322.

Brydon, Diana. "Australian Literature and the Canadian Comparison." Meanjin 38.2 (July 1979): 154-165.

. "Landscape and Authenticity: The Development of National Literatures in Canada and Australia. Dalhousie Review. 61.2 (Summer, 1981): 278-290.

. "Troppo Agitato: Reading and Writing Cultures." Ariel. 19.1 (January, 1988): 13-32.

Burns, D.R. "The Move to the Middle Ground: A Reading of the English Canadian Novel." Meanjin. 37.2 (July 1978): 178-185.

Chamberland Paul Les negres blancs d'Amerique

de Lotbiniere-Harwood, Susanne. Re-Belle et Infidele . La traduction comme pratique de reecriture au feminin: The Body Bilingual . Translation as a Rewriting in the Feminine, Toronto: Women's Press/Montreal: Editions du remue-menage, 1991.

Decter, Ann. Paper, Scissors, Rock. Vancouver: Press Gang, 1992.

Gauvin, Lise. Letters from an Other. Lise Gauvin. Trans. Susanne de Lotbiniere-Harwood. Toronto: Women's Press, 1989.

Godbout, Jacques. Les têtes à Papineau. Paris: Seuil, 1981.

Hajdokowski-Ahmed, Maroussie. "Le denonce/enonce de la langue au feminin ou le rapport de la femme au langage," Femininite Subversion Ecriture, ed S Lamy and I Pages (Montreal: Les Editions du remue menage, 1984).

Hawkins, Freda. Critical Years in Immigration: Canada and Australia Compared. Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1989.

Healy, J.J. "Literature, Power and the Refusals of Big Bear: Reflections on the Treatment of the Indian and of the Aborigine." McDougall & Whitlock. 68-93.

Homel, David & Sherry Simon, eds. Mapping Literature: The Art and Politics of Translation. Montreal: Vehicule Press, 1988.

Hutcheon, Linda. Splitting Images: Contemporary Canadian Ironies. Toronto: Oxford UP, 1991.

Keeshig-Tobias, Lenore. "The Magic of Others." Language in her Eye: Views on Writing and Gender by Canadian Women Writing in English. Scheier, Libby, Sarah Sheard & Eleanor Wachtel, eds.Toronto: Coach House Press, 1990. 173-177.

Lalonde, Michele. Speak White Translation:

Lepailleur, Francois-Maurice. Land of a thousand sorrows: the Australian prison journal, 1840-1942, of the exiled Canadian patriote, Francois-Maurice Lepailleur. Trans. & Ed F. Murray Greenwood. Carlton: Melbourne UP, 1980.

Marlatt, Daphne. How Hug a Stone. Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 1983.

. Anahistoric. Toronto: Coach House Press, 1988.

Marlatt, Musing with mothertongue

McDougall, Russell & Gillian Whitlock, eds. Australian/Canadian literatures in English: comparative perspectives. North Ryde: Methuen Australia, 1987.

Monkman, Leslie. "Reading Comparatively" (review of Australian/Canadian Literatures in English: Comparative Perspectives). World Literature Written in English. 29.2 (1989):162-171.

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Posgate, Dale & Kenneth McRoberts. Quebec: Social Change and Political Crisis. Toronto: McLelland and Stewart, Ist ed 1976.

Richler, Mordecai. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

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Waring, Wendy. "Mother(s) of Confusion: End Bracket." Double-Talking: Essays on Verbal and Visual Ironies in Contemporary Canadian Art and Literature. Ed. Linda Hutcheon. Toronto: ECW Press, 1992. 145-157.

Worth, Christopher. "Mapping the Boundaries: Margaret Atwood's Surfacing." World Literature Written in English. 25.1 (1985):145-150.

Yoon, Jean. "Direct Translation." Half-familiar Things (Chapbook). Toronto: Two Bints Press, 1986.


1 I have even a rather audacious suspicion that the introduction by political parties of policies of multiculturalism precisely at the moment when, in Canada, Quebecois nationalists were making loud (sometimes explosive) noises about independence, and when, in Australia, Aboriginal peoples were trying to get less-than-welcome tenants to pay the rent, may have its ideological similarities. A paranoid delusion worth considering ...?

2 In 1744 in the Maritimes, where the British had a firmer hold, 20 000 French-speaking Acadiens were forcably removed from their homes to distant shores. No doubt they were not as useful to the empire.

3 It may also be inexact, given the different historical moment of this particular European colonization effort. See Healy, 72ff in McDougall & Whitlock.

4 As an introduction to the literature and criticism of Quebec, there exists an excellent text by a Quebecois critic which is available in translation and very readable: Letters from an Other, by Lise Gauvin.

5 The author might have got away with this one, if earlier in the article she had not made reference to "the Indians and the Inuit in North America and Canada." (Arthur 3)

6 As antidote, see the issue of the Canadian Review of Comparative Literature devoted to "Literatures of Lesser Diffusion" (1989 vol 16, no. 4?) and edited by Joseph Pivato, or see his recent article in New Literatures in English (and mull over the implications of its inclusion in this journal while you're at it).

7 I don't believe in traces left behind, Charles said, it seems to me we've paid a high price for our affiliation with the name of Papineau. I don't want a mother or a father. This time we'll be born by laser. [my translation]

8 One can't spend one's life half and half. Do you realize how much space you can claim for your two heads? As far as science or administration is concerned, Mister & Mister Papineau, you are but two halves of a man. [my translation]

9 See my article "Mother(s) of Confusion: End Bracket" in Double Talking,: Essays on Verbal and Visual Ironies in Canadian Contemporary Art and Literature, Linda Hutcheon, Ed. Toronto: ECW Press, 1992, 145-157.

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