Why “Un Canadien Errant”?
“Un Canadien errant” is a song written in 1842. Well known by French-Canadians, the words and the soundtrack evoke emotions attached to the dominant idea of the nation rooted within a specific territory and tied to one history, one culture, and one language. To leave this nation is an exodus, an exile, a sad tragedy. This idea remains central today, not only for francophone Canada, but also for many nation-states worldwide . In fact, the song has been covered several times over the years since its inception, all the way to the version that accompanies our site, performed by the group Whitehorse in 2014.
It is against this powerful discourse that we have conceptualized our investigation. Despite and alongside this discourse, there exists a long history of francophone mobility – from the “coureur de bois” (French-Canadian woodsman) to the “voyageur” (traveler), the pioneer, the adventurer , the immigrant, the seasonal worker, the mobile professional and the citizen. These mobilities, originating from the beginnings of French colonization, were both feminine and masculine and not without complex and sometimes violent rapport with those that francophones encountered along the way. Let us revisit this “Canadien errant”, not as a hero or a failure, but as a glimpse into the construction of la francité Canadienne, past and present.
What is the project?
This is a research project conducted by a team of academics (see Team) from across Canada. The project has two funding sources : The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and La Cité Universitaire of the University of Regina (for the Saskatchewan component) . The project began in 2015 and will run until 2020. It is interdisciplinary, bringing together specialists in anthropology, history, political science, and sociolinguistics.
What are the objectives ?
We seek to uncover :
- The extent to which current francophone mobilities in Canada differ from or extend (prolonge) francophone mobilities of the past.
- How Franco- mobile live and tell their stories of mobility.
- The manner in which mobility can enhance or challenge our ideas of what constitutes la francophonie Canadienne.
How is the project organized?
We look at the past and the present of various urban and rural spaces in Quebec as well as in the francophone “minority” context (Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia) as points of entry into the complex francophone mobility universe. We target potential “entrance door” to la francophonie, but also “exit doors” and the paths that link them. These are comprised of:
- the regionalization of immigration in Eastern Quebec;
- the recruitment of francophone immigrants in “minority settings” and the management of their anchorages;
- the recruitment of foreign students by French-language post-secondary institutions across Canada;
- the experience of these migrants in Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan;
- the “classe d’accueil”, integration program for neo-Quebecers.
- urban and civic cohabitation between young French people and the Anglophone working-class in a Montreal neighborhood;
- neo-rurals fleeing the city for the countryside;
- young citizens of the world (cherry pickers, tree planters, skiers or snowboarders) seeking an alternative lifestyle in the West;
- Professional who commute regularly between Toronto and Montreal.
You can explore each of our points of entry by clicking on “Sites”.
What will you find this site ?
Gradually, as we progress , you will have access to various forms of information. In addition to our own analyzes and reports, we will also share with you certain participants’ stories and reflections, as well as images, text, maps and artefacts that have a particular significance to Franco-Canadian mobility.