History Blog

  From France to Canada to Dominion Day

Vande Meulin Group walking across lawn on The Hill
In Search of History…

 If one were to ask me to give an overview of Canada’s history from its roots in France, I would start with a Thesis and a Premise.

My Thesis: God is Sovereign. He guides His creation by His Providence. He sets up and takes down nations (Daniel 2). His hand led to the establishment of Canada through the people that He placed in History in France. It was in the mind of God to use His persecuted people (French Protestants / Huguenots) to establish the first settlements in New France (Ontario and Quebec) and Acadia (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI).

My Premise: God uses people. People perform Actions. Actions are recorded as Events which are viewed as History. 

It is wise to look back and see where you came from, where you are, and to evaluate if you need to auto-correct or keep on the same path. Delving into our Canadian History from the perspective of God’s Providential appointment, is what ChristianRoots Canada is all about.  

Our society tends to judge our forebears by OUR current standards and sensibilities.

We can’t do that.

We can’t go back in time and undo what our forebears have done, or tell our ancestors that they should have lived life a little more civilized (like we’re doing), because we know better and would NEVER have acted as they did.

However, we can look to the future and work to avoid those mistakes.

Permanent Settlements

Permanent settlement in Canada was made possible under Henry IV who was raised as a French Protestant (Huguenot). When, in God’s Providence, he came to the French throne, many of his subjects objected to a Huguenot king sitting on a Catholic throne and continued in a civil war which lasted for about 10 years.

Eventually, he passed the Edict of Nantes which allowed French Protestants to enjoy the freedom to worship, the freedom to trade, and freedom to participate in civil affairs once more. Protestant noblemen could once more hold public office and engage in trade. 

He gave them fur trading monopolies in the areas of North America that France controlled, so that they could trade in the lucrative trade that was already taking place between other European traders and the Natives along the St. Lawrence River. His efforts were responsible for colonizing Acadia and New France.

Henry’s ancestors and successors all contributed actions, both laudable and shameful, which triggered national and international events such as The French Wars of Religion and eventually, The Seven Years War. The latter, negatively affected the Acadians in Canada.

Our blog post here, tells about the development of resources which explains the influence of the French monarchs who were part of our history. That period of our history is represented by a marble frieze that is mounted over the left doorway to the House of Commons Chamber. 

Henry’s portrait can be seen in the display of the portraits of the French kings adorning the walls of the Senate Foyer. To see where Henry fits in that display click here. 

Samuel Champlain

Many of the early colonizers of Tadoussac in New France (at the mouth of the St. Lawrence and Saguenay Rivers), and in Acadia (at the mouth of the St. Croix River) were Protestants. 

Explorations to what is now known as Canada and supported by Henry IV, were done with the express purpose of expanding Christ’s kingdom as the explorers and settlers understood it to be.

The first permanent settlement in Acadia on St Croix island (now in Maine) comprised explorers, settlers, navigators and a cartographer named Samuel Champlain. 

There were both Protestants and Catholics who made invaluable contributions to establish the Canada we know and love. The man who is known as ‘The Father of New France’, Samuel de Champlain, for example, was raised in a Protestant home in the province of Saintonge. His job description from Henry IV was to explore, map, and find the Northwest Passage. 

Cardinal Richelieu

One name which stands as an important hinge in most of the history of the Catholic Church, the history of Quebec, and that of Canada, is Cardinal Richelieu.

His name is memorialized in Quebec. One wonders how many Quebecois, especially 2nd and 3rd generation French descendants in Quebec, could explain who he was, the part he played in laying the foundations of the Catholic Church in Canada, and the important part he played in the Catholic Church in France and the rest of Europe.  

Wars and Treaties in Early Canada

The Seven Years War in Europe which was known in North America as The French Indian War ended as all wars do – with a peace treaty. The way peace treaties were made back then was that lands changed hands between the winner and loser. 

Britain inherited Acadia (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI) from the French at the end of The Seven Years War. However without the power of rail and air travel and without the advent of the internet, news travelled slowly.

The French administrators in Canada (mainly Jesuit priests) did not know about the treaty for a long time. They objected to the British landing in Nova Scotia to claim their rights. They manipulated the Natives and the Acadians to get to war with the British. Eventually the British won, the French, Acadians and the Natives lost. 

THAT, my Friends, set in motion a number of events which are still being played out today – over 400 years later.

Herein lies MOST of the Native stories, and stories of the Catholic Church which need to be told with compassion. This is one of the clearest outworking of the premise that God uses PEOPLE, who perform ACTIONS, which create EVENTS, which are then recorded as HISTORY. 

The Influence of Judeo Christianity

With the British conquest came waves of British, Scottish and Irish immigrants. They brought Anglicanism, Presbyterianism, and Methodism with them to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI and Ontario.  The laying down of a robust Protestant foundation in the Atlantic British colonies influenced the spiritual, moral, legal, educational and judicial standards long before there was Confederation.

After The American War of Independence, those who were loyal to Britain (Loyalists) found a home in Britain’s newest colony – Quebec (all of Quebec and Ontario). They settled in Montreal and in the western part of ‘Quebec’ which was eventually called ‘Upper Canada’ (based on the direction of the flow of the rivers into the St Lawrence) and ‘Lower Canada’. These Loyalists were mainly Anglicans and Presbyterians.

Confederation 

Canada was a nation founded by those who held a Judeo-Christian worldview so that a Christian ethos pervaded the nation.  In the early 1600s, Canada initially was founded largely by Protestants, Catholics and others who were greatly influenced by that worldview through their upbringing in some sort of religious environment.

Just before and after Confederation, and just after World War I, Canada was still a Judeo-Christian nation where justice, righteousness and equality before the law (Leviticus 24:22), influenced the social fabric of the nation.

The time came when the Atlantic Colonies (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI), PLUS the ‘Canadian’ Colonies (Upper and Lower Canada), felt pressured to work together because of changing world events.

PEOPLE from Russia, from Ireland and from the USA performed certain ACTIONS, creating EVENTS which made the British colonies feel that their security and very existence were threatened.

So the colonies got together to create the conditions which made them stronger together than their individual parts. This led to the EVENT called CONFEDERATION, which involved many People, Actions and Events creating the aspect of Canadian History which many unlearned Canadians appropriate to the ‘BEGINNING’ of Canada.

The laws of the land at Confederation were derived largely from the moral laws in the Bible – the 10 Commandments. Our laws were rooted and grounded in British Common Law.

British Common Law defined the laws enshrined in the BNA Act, which laid the foundations of our legal system. Their influence was responsible for a Christian cultural outlook which pervaded the collective thought and actions of our early forebears, well into the early 1980’s until… Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau ushered in the Charter of Rights. 

On July 1, 1867, Canada became a self-governing DOMINION.  It meant that laws for the governing of Canada were now in the hands of our own Parliamentarians and not Britain’s Parliament.

Canada Day and the Deconstruction of Judeo-Christianity

Dominion Day had been a federal holiday that celebrated the enactment of The British North American Act which united four of Britain’s colonies – Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Upper and Lower Canada (which became Ontario and Quebec), into a single country within the British Empire, and named that country The Dominion of Canada.

The anniversary of this date was celebrated from 1868 to 1982 (114 years) as Dominion Day until 1982 after Pierre Trudeau’s government introduced us to The Canadian Charter of Rights. The very next year, 1983, July 1 officially became Canada Day. 

How and why was the day changed from Dominion Day to Canada Day? 

If you were to search the internet you will find the answer… A Private Member’s Bill in the House of Commons went through an uneventful procedure based on a small number of MPs (13 out of a potential 282) in the chamber. 

The Ottawa Citizen Reported: 

At 4 o’clock on Friday, July 9, 1982, the House of Commons was almost empty. The 13 parliamentarians taking up space in the 282-seat chamber were, by most accounts, half asleep as they began Private Members’ Hour. 

But then one of the more wakeful Liberals noticed the Tory MPs were slow to arrive in the chamber. Someone — exactly who has never been firmly identified — remembered Bill C-201, a Private Member’s Bill from Hal Herbert, the Liberal MP from Vaudreuil, that had been gathering dust ever since it had received first reading in May of 1980. “An Act to Amend the Holidays Act” proposed to change the name of the July 1 national holiday from “Dominion Day” to “Canada Day.”[…]

The whole process took five minutes. The MPs celebrated by declaring an early end to session at 4:05 pm. “It is only appropriate that, in celebrating our new holiday called Canada Day, we should at least take a holiday of 55 minutes this afternoon,” said New Democrat Mark Rose.

The Hansard (document of all words spoken in the HOC) reads this way: 

Holidays Act – Suggested Replacement of Dominion Day by Canada Day

Mr. Hal Herbert (Vaudrieul): moved that Bill C-201 to amend the Holidays Act, be read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Labour, Manpower and Immigration.  

Mr Deputy Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt this motion? 

Some Honorable Members: Agreed

Mr Rose: No

Mr Deputy Speaker: Those in favour please say ‘Yea’

Some Honorable Members: Yea!

Mr Deputy Speaker: Those opposed will please say ‘Nay’

Mr Rose: Just this Bill, or what?

Mr Deputy Speaker: In my opinion, the ‘Yeas’ have it..

Mr Baker: (Nepean-Carleton): What is going on?

Mr Deputy Speaker: I declare the…

Mr Smith: I rise on a point of order. Perhaps we could seek the unanimous consent of the House to see if this matter could be dealt with in a Committee of the Whole so that we could deal with all stages of this Bill today as it seems we are meeting with the approval of the House.

Mr Deputy Speaker: I started to declare that this motion was carried. The Honorable Member’s point of order is a little premature. The Chair will now entertain the Parliamentary Secretary to the Privy Council (Mr Smith) on his point of order.

Mr Smith: Mr Chair, perhaps we could see whether the House would be disposed to give unanimous consent to this bill being dealt with in Committee of the Whole today.

Mr Deputy Speaker: Is there unanimous consent that the bill be considered in Committee of the Whole? Is the Honorable Member for Mission-Port Moody (Mr. Rose) rising?

Mr. Rose: I am not rising Mr.. Speaker. 

Mr Deputy Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?

Some Honorable Members: Agreed

Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and House went into Committee thereon – Mr Francis in the Chair.

The Chairman: Order. House in Committee of the Whole on Bill C-201, An Act to Amend the Holidays Act.

Clause 1 Agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Title agreed to.

Bill reported, read the third time and passed.  

Mr Deputy Speaker: Is it now agreed that we now proceed to another order of business?

Mr. Smith: Mr Speaker, perhaps there might be unanimous consent that the clock now read five O’Clock.

Some Honorable Members: Agreed

Do you know WHO these MPs were? Some have left lasting legacies. Google their names to find out: Hal Herbert (Liberal); Walter Baker (Conservative); Mark Rose (NDP); Cyril Lloyd Francis (Liberal) Deputy Speaker

2017 marked the 150th Anniversary of the founding of The Dominion of Canada.

The Canadian Charter of Rights

With the Charter of Rights, the goal post kept moving away from the Judeo Christian values on which this country was built. Biblical ‘equality’ has been hijacked and no longer bears any semblance to its original intent (Leviticus 24:22).

Before the 1980’s, the Biblical virtues of justice, truth, fidelity, diligence, perseverance, a strong work ethic, knowledge and respect for the guiding hand of God, all contributed to a ‘Christian’ ethos in the culture. That culture gave rise to a legal system where, among other ideals practiced were, equality before the law and justice without coercion. Liberty masquerading as license was heartily condemned by the populace.

Rights without Responsibilities

With Trudeau’s focus on ‘rights’ and not ‘responsibilities’, preservation of our Biblical freedoms have been eroded. Such freedoms were fought for, first in France by Protestants who gave their lives, refusing to bow their knees and their hearts to the altar of ‘good works’. Many of them left the persecution to settle in Canada.

And later, in World War 1 and subsequent wars, our freedoms were won by our soldiers who gave their lives through sacrificial service to restrain the evil forces of tyranny and anarchy, so that you may have peace.

Our Peace Tower, built in memory of those who gave their lives to protect our freedom, and before the start of the deconstruction of our Judeo-Christian values, shouts the messages of our Christian foundations.

On the outside of the Peace Tower, you can find our motto: He shall have DOMINION also from sea to sea (Psalm 72:8) over the arch of the East Window. The stained glass window on the inside is full of Scriptural truths and images. You can examine these images in the stained glass windows for yourself here, and come to your own conclusions. 

We have just produced a set of 13 Greeting Cards and other items to represent these truths found in the window. You can also read an explanation of the images and Scripture verses here. 

We have also published two books which expose ALL of the 25 Scripture verses found in the Peace Tower, in full colour. You can get copies here.  

We need to understand where we came from as a nation, to chart how our national culture got where it is today, and to figure out what we can do, to once more lift up God’s standard of justice, righteousness and truth.

 The story is not yet over. In all the changes from France, to New France and Acadia, to Confederation, to the changes in the constitution, God has not changed. He has been constant.

He sets up and takes down nations (Daniel 2). Without a Judeo Christian worldview, we have experienced in 2020 and 2021, the lust for raw power, excuses to set aside the Charter of Rights, and oppressive measures which reflect the pernicious attitudes of the oppressors in France and the oppressors in Nazi Germany.

The REASON might be different but human nature, the lust for power and the dirth of justice has not changed.

The prophecy in Daniel came true even though world events were predicted over 400 years before they happened. We must remember that evil only triumphs when good men do nothing. 

Author’s Note; Lynette is the owner of ChristianRoots Canada. Blogger. Publisher. Course Creator. Passionate about Canadian History from the perspective of God’s Providence.  

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