The Royal Proclamation of 2003 — formally known as Proclamation Designating July 28 of Every Year as "A Day of Commemoration of the Great Upheaval", Commencing on July 28, 2005 — is a document issued by Queen Elizabeth II acknowledging and expressing regret concerning the Grand Dérangement, England's expulsion of French-speaking Acadian peasant farmers from Nova Scotia beginning in 1755.
The proclamation's origin dates back to a 1763 petition submitted to King George III of Great Britain by Acadian exiles in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Because the King never responded to the petition, Warren A. Perrin, a Cajun attorney and cultural activist from Erath, Louisiana, resurrected the petition and threatened to sue England if it refused to acknowledge the illegality of the Grand Derangement.
After thirteen years of discussions, Perrin (now head of CODOFIL, the Council for Development of French in Louisiana) and his supporters in the United States and Canada persuaded Queen Elizabeth II, in her capacity as Queen of Canada, to issue a royal proclamation acknowledging the historical fact of the Great Upheaval and consequent suffering experienced by the Acadian people. The document itself was signed by Adrienne Clarkson.
Text of the proclamation
Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada and her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.
To All To Whom these Presents shall come or whom the same may in any way concern,
Deputy Attorney General of Canada
Whereas the Acadian people, through the vitality of their community, have made a remarkable contribution to Canadian society for almost 400 years;
Whereas on July 28, 1755, the Crown, in the course of administering the affairs of the British colony of Nova Scotia, made the decision to deport the Acadian people;
Whereas the deportation of the Acadian people, commonly known as the Great Upheaval, continued until 1763 and had tragic consequences, including the deaths of many thousands of Acadians - from disease, in shipwrecks, in their places of refuge and in prison camps in Nova Scotia and England as well as in the British colonies in America;
Whereas We acknowledge these historical facts and the trials and suffering experienced by the Acadian people during the Great Upheaval;
Whereas We hope that the Acadian people can turn the page on this dark chapter of their history;
Whereas Canada is no longer a British colony but a sovereign state, by and under the Constitution of Canada;
Whereas when Canada became a sovereign state, with regard to Canada, the Crown in right of Canada and of the provinces succeeded to the powers and prerogatives of the Crown in right of the United Kingdom;
Whereas We, in Our role as Queen of Canada, exercise the executive power by and under the Constitution of Canada;
Whereas this Our present Proclamation does not, under any circumstances, constitute a recognition of legal or financial responsibility by the Crown in right of Canada and of the provinces and is not, under any circumstances, a recognition of, and does not have any effect upon, any right or obligation of any person or group of persons;
And Whereas, by Order in Council P.C. 2003-1967 of December 6, 2003, the Governor in Council has directed that a proclamation do issue designating July 28 of every year as "A Day of Commemoration of the Great Upheaval", commencing on July 28, 2005;
Now Know You that We, by and with the advice of Our Privy Council for Canada, do by this Our Proclamation, effective on September 5, 2004, designate July 28 of every year as "A Day of Commemoration of the Great Upheaval", commencing on July 28, 2005.
Of All Which Our Loving Subjects and all others whom these Presents may concern are hereby required to take notice and to govern themselves accordingly.
In Testimony Whereof, We have caused this Our Proclamation to be published and the Great Seal of Canada to be hereunto affixed. Witness: Our Right Trusty and Well-beloved Adrienne Clarkson, Chancellor and Principal Companion of Our Order of Canada, Chancellor and Commander of Our Order of Military Merit, Chancellor and Commander of Our Order of Merit of the Police Forces, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada.
At Our Government House, in Our City of Ottawa, this tenth day of December in the year of Our Lord two thousand and three and in the fifty-second year of Our Reign.
Deputy Registrar General of Canada
- Canada Gazette Part II, Vol. 137, No. 27, SI/2003-188
- Shane K. Bernard, The Cajuns: Americanization of a People (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2003).
- Warren A. Perrin, Acadian Redemption: From Beausoleil Broussard to the Queen's Royal Proclamation (Erath, La.: Acadian Heritage and Cultural Foundation, 2004).