Voltaire and Canada

«Canada is nothing more than a few acres of snow that isn’t worth anything».

Such was Voltaire’s well-know and publicized opinion of Canada. One may ask: Did he really say this phrase?

Yes, indeed, the great philosopher wrote that. However, it was an opinion of Martin, a character from Voltaire’s novel Candide. Martin is a “crazy scholar”, talking about two nations who « are at war about a few acres of snow somewhere around Canada, and […] they are spending on this beautiful war more than all Canada is worth».

Martin is a friend and companion of Candide, original, controversal, sometimes stupide but always nice.

Is it wise to equate Voltaire’s opinion to the one of a literary personage? We don’t think so…

What a funny legend! Below is a quotation from Candide:

«You are acquainted with England, are they as great fools in that country as in France? It’s another kind of madness, says Martin; you know that these two nations are at war about a few acres of snow somewhere around Canada, and that they are spending on this beautiful war more than all Canada is worth. To say exactly whether there are a greater number fit to be inhabitants of a madhouse in the one country than the other, exceeds the limits of my imperfect capacity; I know in general that the people we are going to visit are of a very dark and gloomy disposition.”

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