The Ukrainian Experience
in Quebec

Three Solitude's:
A History of Ukrainians in Quebec
By: Yarema Gregory Kelebay

    Ukrainians came to Quebec in three discernible waves,  in three separate time periods.  The effect the three waves have had on the character of the community has not been evaluated systematically, although it is generally agreed that the community has been invigorated by the arrival of the third wave.
    Ukrainians brought with them more that their language, customs, religion and folklore.  Each wave of immigration also brought a different intellectual baggage or mentality.  For example, the two clusters of pre-1947 arrivals came largely for economic reasons, whereas the post-1947 group was predominately compromised of political refugees.
    One can look at these immigrant waves in terms described by Louis Hartz in his Founding of New Societies as three distinct "fragments" thrown off from Ukrainian society in Europe.(1)
    The Hartzian approach was to study new societies founded by Europeans (the United States, English Canada, French Canada, Latin America, Dutch South Africa, Australia) in a way that could lead to an understanding of the ideological development of the new society.  While still being identifiably of the Mother country, the ideologies borne by the founders of the new society were not representative of the whole ideological spectrum of the mother country, but rather of only a fragment of it.
    Keeping in mind that an ideological spectrum ranges from feudal or Tory through liberal Whig to liberal democrat, French Canada and Latin America could be qualified as "feudal fragments."  They were founded by bearers of feudal or Tory values; they had left Europe before the liberal revolution.  The United States, English Canada and Dutch South Africa, on the other hand, could be seen as "bourgeois fragments," founded by bearers of liberal individualism who had left the Tory end of the spectrum behind them.
    The significance of the fragmentation process lies in the fact that the new society, isolated from the mother country by geography, was also removed from the stimulus, interchange, and continuity of social development that the whole, represented by the mother country, had provided.  The ideological spectrum of Europe developed out of the continuous confrontation and interaction of the four elements noted above.  They were related to one another not only by antagonists but also as parents and children.
    A "fragment" thrown off from Europe which had left a large part of the past behind it, however, could not develop its future ideologies normally.  For that to happen, the continued presence of the whole ideological spectrum would be necessary.  The ideology of the founders of the new societies was thus congealed at the point of origin.(2)  The new societies became "single-myth" societies, nearly frozen, as it were, in time.
    Although Hartz's theory of colonial history was intended to explain the character of new colonial societies, it can also be used as a guide to help in understanding ethnic minorities, for the distinct waves of immigrants can also be seen as fragments thrown off from their homeland at a specific time.  The Hartzian approach can thus also be effectively utilized for understanding immigration to canada, in particular case, the Ukrainians that came to Quebec.
    Here will be sketched a broad outline of the basic intellectual premises of the leading element of each fragment of Ukrainian immigration that came to the province.  In applying this approach, one runs the risk both of over generalization and oversimplification.  However, the characterization to be given of immigrant fragments are intended neither to be exhaustive nor to represent complete and coherent systems of thought.  They will simply map out the central ideas in the mentality of each of the three fragments that came from the turn of the century to 1960, in order to give the reader an inside view of one immigration process and an insight into the intellectual life of one ethnic group.
    As previously stated, the Ukrainian community in Quebec is the product of not only one immigration fragment but of three.  Each fragment had a unique thrust.  That mentality tended to shape the community's future intellectual agenda and challenge the existing one.
    The first group of Ukrainian settlers, which we will call Fragment I, arrived in Quebec between 1902 and 1914 and can be described as "Immigrant-Pioneers."  Fragment II, the "emigré-Patriots," arrived between 1922 and 1929.  Fragment III, the Refugee-Nationalists," arrived between 1947 and 1954.  The term "pioneers," "emigrés" and "refugees" are used as derivatives of different historical contexts to characterize the different waves of Ukrainian settlement in Quebec.

This was just a small introduction into A History of Ukrainians in Quebec, the article written by Yarema G. Kelebay is published with his consent.

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