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MWCN celebrates National Tartan Day

National Tartan Day in Canada takes place annually on April 6 as an occasion to celebrate the many contributions made to this country by those with Scottish ancestry. The Montérégie West Community Network honoured Tartan Day by welcoming guest speaker Linda Janes to the Huntingdon Wellness Centre to speak about tartans and her quest to have the Quebec government recognize the Plaid du Québec as the province’s official tartan.

Tartan Day began in Canada in 1986, and within ten years the day was approved across the country, with Quebec being the last province to proclaim April 6 as Tartan Day in 2003. The National Assembly recognized the Scots as one of the founding peoples of Quebec, as well as the significant contribution of the Scottish community to the economic, social, and cultural development of the province. The date was selected because the Declaration of Arbroath, establishing the independence of Scotland, was signed on April 6, 1320.

 

Woman, sitting at a table that has a tartan teddy bear, holds an image of a local politician flanked by herself and another woman both wearing their tartan.
Ormstown resident Linda Janes spoke at an event held by the Montérégie West Community Network in Huntingdon in celebration of Tartan Day on April 6 PHOTO Sarah Rennie

 

Janes began working with former Huntingdon MNA Claire IsaBelle in 2019 to have the Plaid du Québec recognized within the province. The pandemic delayed the initiative, but on February 17, 2022, a petition initiated by Janes was deposited at the National Assembly bearing 1,009 signatures. On June 8, IsaBelle introduced Bill 997, the Quebec Tartan Act; however, the government broke for the summer period and the fall election before a decision was made.

Janes says that in order to adopt the tartan, the most likely course of action will be for the National Assembly to amend the Act to Proclaim Tartan Day to include the adoption of the Plaid du Québec as the official tartan for the province. Janes says the file is now being managed by Eric Girard, the minister of finance and minister responsible for relations with English-speaking Quebecers.

“When the motion was introduced, there was a standing ovation,” says Janes, noting even Premier François Legault seems to have a soft spot for the tartan. Janes met with Legault during a rally before the last provincial election. She says he pointed to the vest she was wearing made from the tartan and exclaimed, “I know that material. I have some of it!” He was referring to a face mask Janes had sewn for Legault from the tartan. “We had a very nice chat,” she recalls.

Janes says she has already ordered several neck ties made from the tartan in preparation for a vote in the National Assembly, which she hopes will take place before June. She says one will be sent to Legault and another to Girard.

On April 6, Huntingdon MNA Carole Mallette rose in the National Assembly to acknowledge Tartan Day, and to pay homage to Janes for her work with the Quebec Women’s Institute, her contributions to the community, and her dedication to seeing the province formally adopt the Plaid du Québec as its tartan.

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