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thestar.com Plains of Abraham re-enactment cancelled
Feb 17, 2009 03:06 PM
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THE CANADIAN PRESS
MONTREAL ? Citing major safety and security concerns, the National Battlefields Commission has cancelled a planned re-enactment of the 1759 French-British battle that had been scheduled for the Plains of Abraham this summer.
"Given the excessive language and threats we have heard in recent days, we can't as responsible managers risk compromising the safety of families and children who might attend the event," commission head Andre Juneau told a news conference in Quebec City.
"I am announcing that the commission has decided to cancel the re-enactment because of the impossibility of ensuring the safety of the public and the participants."
But Juneau said he is still convinced that the re-enactment would have been fully justified from a historical point of view.
Some Quebec sovereigntists had promised to protest outside the re-enactment, while there had been threats against organizers.
Sovereigntists said staging the clash would have been an insulting reminder of the defeat of their French ancestors.
In Quebec's popular lore, the Battle of the Plains of Abraham is considered the end of francophone autonomy in North America and the start of British dominance.
Canada's heritage minister said he's disappointed the re-enactment was cancelled due to threats from inside the separatist movement.
"That people threatened violence and it resulted in an event of this magnitude being cancelled I think is a real disappointment," James Moore told reporters in Montreal.
"This re-enactment has been planned for a number of years and it's just become a political issue now."
Horst Dresler, president of the group that had been organizing the re-enactment, said he still hopes to go ahead with the event, possibly in Ontario.
"There is a need to present this commemoration, somewhere, somehow," Dresler, president of the Quebec Historical Corp, told The Canadian Press.
But Dresler adds it will not be held anywhere in Quebec.
"These threats of violence that have been issued towards us would make it totally unsafe for anyone to participate in an event like this," he said.
"We arrive at a re-enactment with our families and our friends and our children and it's inconceivable to put anyone in harm's way."