The interpretation of texts according to Éric Bédard

In The duty of February 5 (on page B 6), the historian Éric Bédard severely criticizes my text in two parts (published on January 8 and 15) in which I dealt with the founding myths and the myths of origin of Quebec. First, he criticizes me for ignoring large swaths of New France in Quebec memory, as if it had no interest. More generally, too, he likens me to the baby-boomer generation, which out of contempt intended to sacrifice the whole of Quebec’s past (in his words: “denying history”). On these two points, he completely falsifies my thinking.

Firstly, concerning New France, I have very clearly indicated four paths (or “bridges”) which link us very closely to this period and which constitute very current material for the myth of origin (two examples: the people and the relationship to the Native). On the other hand, the ideals ordered from Paris or inherited from metropolitan aspirations do not seem to me to have a great future for today’s Quebec (expansion of the Empire, messianist vocation, evangelization of the Aboriginal peoples, etc.), which does not not to say that they should not be studied. It is therefore not a question of forgetting New France, but of asking other questions.

In the second part of my text, I presented the patriot movement as a particularly rich field from the point of view of the founding myths (freedom, equality, secularism and others). Here we hold a promising key (among others) for the study of our history.

We are therefore not “orphans”. Éric Bédard, however, sees in all of this “just a technocrat’s fantasy”. In fact, what he could have said is that he does not share my vision of the past and the interpretations that I offer of it. Then, I would have noticed and easily admitted our disagreement, and we could have discussed it.

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