The Upper Canada Rebellion, Francis and Me

The second Upper Canada Rebellion lead by Scottish-born journalist & political rabblerouser William Lyon Mackenzie. A parody of Michael Moore, the rebellion becomes Roger & Me meets The Awful Truth meets a few hundred well-armed red-coats. Other early Canadian TV fare includes commercials, game shows, and a spoof of the Crocodile Hunter who’s after the 19th Century’s most elusive prey: ghosts.

Original Air Date: April 9, 2002

YouTube Transcript

Welcome to History Bites I’m Rick Green. Television today is full of angry Crusaders, people who use documentaries magazine shows or investigative journalism to fight corporate cover-ups or expose government corruption.

We don’t
even need to complain ourselves anymore we can just watch someone else do it for us on TV.
Well back in 1837 English Canada was known as Upper Canada and William Lyon Mackenzie was known as a crusader.

immigrant from Scotland he’d come to Upper Canada in search of a better life, what he found instead was a colony ruled by a bunch of British appointed aristocrats.

If citizens had any
complaints they could go to nobody or at
least nobody who would do anything.
Mackenzie decided that he could do something using the media which at that point consisted of his own muckraking
Imagine if only he had his own muckraking television you see TVs
William Lyon Mackenzie marathon kicks
off with the award-winning documentary
Frances and me good evening we begin
this evening with disheartening news
from the province of Upper Canada
Lieutenant Governor Sir Francis bond
Edie has announced massive layoffs in
fact the government workers who had been
laid off are the Executive Council who
had all been appointed by Sir Francis
bond head the Lieutenant Governor
dismissed the Executive Council just
weeks after hiring reform minded members
to the council it appears Sir Francis
Bond head was willing to tolerate
Canadians who were reform minded but not
reformed mouths Sir Francis Bond had
urged calm asking members of the local
political unions to quote put any idea
of a national rebellion totally out of
your minds NBC scammers were there this
afternoon to catch the last resolution
rolling down the assembly line
hi I’m William Lyon Mackenzie I came to
Upper Canada started a paper called the
colonial advocate I tried to write about
agriculture and such like that for men
equality but I got distracted by what
was happening in the government guys I
like to call a dysfunctional family
compact of course some bigwigs didn’t
like my caustic and clever editorials
and authorities felt they could stop my
expose by giving my printing press and
equipment about the Lake Ontario
difficult to sell my next edition what
was wrong with the government here in
Upper Canada why were citizen complaints
being ignored I wanted answers and I
decided to get them from a man at the
top I went to the Assembly to see if the
leftenant governor was there
he’s Britain’s man on the spot hey what
are you doing sir it’s okay I’m just
going to the legislature no I’m sorry
here’s the lieutenant governor root I
haven’t seen him come in yet you have an
appointment sir well you don’t need an
appointment to get into the assembly I
was elected I’m sorry you have to call
his office well I have called his office
but I don’t think you can hear me with
the window shut well then you can write
him a letter if you can’t write if I can
write what is that all right I write
letters and articles in the newspaper
written the whole newspaper I’ve sent
him a subscription for free and I’m
Scottish I’m sorry sir members only
however can I see your card
never got a an Andrew Jackson
presidential trading card no sir I’m
sorry I’m gonna have to ask you to leave
Tony could you come out here please
is that a buffet they’re having in
America at least have a look at the
buffet no I’m afraid not Tony could you
escort this gentleman away from the
building please let’s go for that camera
way as well if you can’t get your head
around the family compact it’s not some
kind of small but affordable stagecoach
it’s something much more cozy just think
of it as government of the lieutenant
governor’s friends by the lieutenant
governor’s friends and for the
lieutenant governor’s friends I heard
the lieutenant governor was going to be
at a party of family compact fat cats at
their annual harvest home celebration it
employed some disgruntled farmers as
living scarecrows which is generous this
way the farmers could have a first-hand
look at people enjoying the food they
had been growing what do you think of
the situation another time
Oh we’ll miss it so much when we go back
to London
folks you have to stay here don’t call
me is being run well no job well people
don’t like what they have here they
should go back to where they came from
well most of them came here is loyalist
after the American Revolution were
immigrants from Britain they don’t want
to go back well then they should get up
in the morning get on words like I do I
get up in the morning often by noon
does the Sun always shine on the rich
are the crown lands for them alone we
think they are the family compact an old
way of life in a new kind of country
Robert which hot new British author is
famed for dark stories of urban life
Socrates Charles Dickens Jerome what was
the occupation of a lunatic who fired
two pistols at the American president
and missed postal worker post Kunta
Moira how many bullets does President
Jackson have in his body from previous
gunfights and duels 87 – Morris
good ice I’m in a shop in in old quarter
of Toronto this place was built in the
light 1700s and it’s literally teeming
with hostile ghosts they’re a bit
difficult to see but I’m gonna start
bringing them out using various dark
arts to see if I can catch one with my
bare hands
Louie this these place is supposed to be
a prime spot for siding the Builder who
hanged himself in the stairwell he often
hits people on the head as they walk
through here now I don’t want to get
here but I really need the writings I
just hope my candle doesn’t blow out Oh
the ghost must have blown out my life
now I’m going to have to be extremely
you’re right ghosty
you’re all right I’m not gonna hurt ya
steam is walking around in semi-darkness
now and I’m feeling a little bit worried
about what’s going to happen to him he
might run into the ghost or might just
hit a door jamb and knock himself out Oh
crikey who wrote we are ashamed of the
divine idea which each of us represents
trust thyself Onan Ralph Waldo Emerson
robot what system running parallel to
railway tracks can be used to send
messages horse paths photograph wires to
roam what is the name for the new
language of dots and dashes Spanish code
I’m pretty sure was a ghost
that threw me down this stairwell but
remember he’s just protecting his Tia
tree and I’m sorry to say but as
rational thought and science become more
popular and reading skills among common
people increases the real world in the
spiritual world collide
like that and ghosts like this dead man
are becoming endangered and harder to
every die hi how’s it going hey what
you’re trying to do well I was gonna
take my maple syrup to the United States
but there’s no way for me to get out to
the main road been waiting here since
last week for them to build me a road
leastways a canal or something
are you a landowner no I’m a tenant
farmer all’s I own I’m wearing so you
can’t vote for someone who would
represent you because you’re not a
landowner and only landowners can vote
right no I can’t vote cuz I’m a woman
right what was I thinking
so are you eating that maple syrup well
if I don’t sell it then I don’t got no
money for any other food hey so hey you
don’t got no flapjacks or pancakes or
nothin on you do you uh I think I have a
macaroon somewhere when we come back
Toronto begins its love affair with
short outspoken mayor
in 1837 the British run government of
Upper Canada was unreasonable and
inaccessible William Lyon Mackenzie and
as reformers used every means possible
to change the system from the outside
from written protest to armed conflict
but you can’t fight city hall so
Mackenzie decided to become City Hall I
decided to become the first mayor of
Toronto maybe with my new position I
could get a word in with the
high-and-mighty leftenant governor I’m
sorry sir what are you doing I just want
to go through here it’s the mayor’s
office sir
I know that I’m the mayor I was elected
it doesn’t impress me touch it impress
you know sir that does not impress me
I’m gonna have to ask you to leave I
just want to know that is the
left-handed governor in Sir Francis mr.
bond head Sir Francis bond head isn’t
expected in until 1836 you have an
are you considering dentures then
consider this wooden teeth can leak SAP
and carve teeth can con slivers I’m dr.
John Greenwood and I know about teeth
and about dentures that’s why I make
dentures using real human teeth set in
hand shaped hippopotamus ivory using
real gold rivets they’re comfortable
stain resistant and easy to remove
affordable price and real human teeth
it’s a combination that will make you
now listen Joe and home owners have a
blockage in the chimney yep you should
the blockage is in the chimney yeah
let’s just leave it at that all right so
the chimney okay
should they get a do it themselves or
should they hire a professional chimney
sweep well you know I don’t want to
discourage do-it-yourselfers there with
that but do see it as it sweeps week but
you know unless it’s a raccoon stuck in
your chimney or something like that I
say hire a pro folks go get a chimney
sweep those eight-year-old boys know
what they’re doing exactly they’re there
they’re top they they do know what
they’re doing but unfortunately my
problem is that the blockage in my
chimney is it chimney sweep oh yeah kid
how did that happen hey my fault it was
my fault it was it was my fault I give
you that but yes and you know what
happened I figured I would hire a
twelve-year-old why did you use a big
kid like that and a twelve-year-old
listen this is what I figured a 12 year
he’s got the experience he knows what
he’s doing listen listen adding you
people out there same thing if that kid
knew what he was doing if he was a good
chimney sweep he wouldn’t live till he
was 12 point taken as our own chip
Wilson discovered when he dropped in to
see if Henry is indeed a Longfellow or
just a normal sized American poet and
college professor and as you’ll see chip
got his wodsworth William Lyon Mackenzie
found problems at every level of
government and society huge land grants
being given to the Anglican Church
problems with the education system and a
bad economy which meant many people were
just sitting at home instead of working
but only if they still had a home to sit
in first
it’s just economy pretty bad all over I
know but they don’t make their payments
we’ve got to a victim I trying to get
too long Harry let it go
yes that’s going on it they’re taking a
man’s go
well I was just some fine fine fine
precision spittoon filling their voice
thank you now ladies and gentlemen it’s
often said that Upper Canada is no place
for the arts the scarcity of competent
full-scale orchestras means that it is
as you’re all aware rare to hear the
sound of symphonic music but as our next
guest will show this colony is no land
of cultural phyllis Tinian these
delightful young lads are both child
prodigies on the piano they can both
read music
hit the right notes almost every time
and they now will play for you one of
the symphonies of mr. Henn wig then
beethoven adapted for piano by frank
list the piano was tuned tonight by our
own mr. ronald triplets mubarak alleys
and gentlemen put down your rail and
please give a very very warm welcome to
the Appleton brother emerging Robert
which Lord sponsored 800 displace Scots
to British North America Lord Jesus the
Earl of Selkirk Jerome what 1816
massacre precipitated the merging of the
northwestern Hudson Bay companies the
Seven Oaks incident direct and now a few
minutes with Andy Rooney if you’re like
me your biggest concern right now is
getting through this winter alive I’m
not talking about the usual suspects
famine and disease I’m talking home
heating but with this ongoing energy
crisis I’m getting a tad nervous rich
people think us regular guys can just go
out to the back party and chop down
another Aspen trouble is we’ve been
doing that for it for years and we’re up
to our Aspen’s in bear land it seems
ironic that in a country that’s
providing lumber to build the entire
British Navy people are dying because
they can’t gather enough wood to keep
the home fires burning
even if I do know of a stand of trees a
mile away how do I get the wood back to
the house I can’t use my dogsled
they shot all my dogs in the last rabies
scare basically if we want to get some
wood home I have to carry it through the
snow to get warm I have to get frostbite
record for polar expeditions Santa Claus
William Edward Perry Morris what will
give a farmer cows with droopy ears and
a staggered gait working on the Lord’s
Day milk diva Robert who appoints the
members of the Executive Council of
Upper Canada adult male citizens of
English Canada by popular vote
lieutenant governor you ran out of time
but you were wrong anyway it’s time to
those off we hello sheriff’s apps here
I’m gonna big Gipp come on out nobody
home I guess Oh that had to evict some
good people just my job you know yeah I
feel bad though because these people are
loyalist loyal to the British crown
did you only reason they left America
was because they were being treated like
dirt yeah they they just be that I’m
terrible down there
hey hey Christmas tree goes to a trouble
is our just turning the Packers open
Janine I’ll provide work for them here
there’s no opportunity you see TVs
Mackenzie marathon continues with
rebellion on the
Topol truth when we return what if you
organized a rebellion and nobody came
the Upper Canada rebellion of 1837
wasn’t all it could have been many
people wanted reform and changes to the
way that Mother Britain mothered Canada
but they didn’t like the rabble-rousing
methods of William Lyon Mackenzie and
the ones who did weren’t ready for the
first round of soldiers the
confrontation at Montgomery’s tavern
lasted less than 20 minutes suddenly
faced with properly trained British
troops the local farmers and businessmen
took off like trailer homes in a tornado
it was every man for himself and no one
for Mackenzie
I’m gonna whip up our real live
rebellion right here in Upper Canada
that’s right people that tenant governor
has women’s Brent and John strong as a
devil worshiper and he has women’s
breasts do you know that the Executive
Council appoints friends and murderers
to high-ranking positions and they all
have women’s breasts really does that
make you feel like rebelling
I don’t know okay how about if I told
you that the Lieutenant Governor eats
Methodist babies for breakfast okay just
to give you an update we’ve moved past
lobbying and we’re now into full-scale
revolution mode we’re gonna take over
the government and form something else
and I’m not quite sure yet but we’re
handing out pitchforks and access to
everybody and we’re gonna march down
Yonge Street a few minutes oh sure if
you got guns go ahead and use okay okay
somebody heard bagpipes it looks like
they’ve called out the troops oh you
just can’t buy publicity like that
soldiers huh they got guns
yeah they’re soldiers ah knows everybody
though Sam you got the publicity out in
time vignette absolutely I just thought
polymers here I really wanted a bigger
crowd of rebels come on it’s okay 500 is
good I really think there’s a good
chance they’ll fire on us let’s go
well now that that was a complete
write-off only lasted 20 minutes here
down the headcanons they took my sister
Sam loves the Brautigan hang ham so I’m
gonna go into hiding we’re just yeah
Dumbo’s militia really are our mistake
ma’am we’re looking for a man he’s a
fugitive maybe you’ve seen him he’s a
Scottish man bad toupee no haven’t seen
anyone since your shirt got smallpox
smell pop thank you very much ma’am you
have a good night gets him every time
next on you see TV’s McKenzie marathon
cross border conflict and comic farce
with Upper Canadian bacon we rounded up
some volunteers and we’re ready to help
you all invade Canada
now where’s the supply ship over there
and here that big fire no what is that
big fighter while William was down in
the US rallying rebel forces to invade
Canada he realized that things could use
some improvement stateside too so he
started another newspaper to attack the
American government u.s. President
Martin Van Buren cheesed off at these
violations of neutrality laws hold
Mackenzie to prison that was it for
Williams rebellion he was eventually
allowed back into Canada provided he
checked his Republican sentiments at the
border Canada did head towards
responsible government but some
historians actually believe Mackenzie’s
rebellion slowed the process the fact is
if you’re going to war against a world
you better be organized as well as angry
because history like a musket ball at
close range bites mister Doubleday an
army officer says the idea of his new
game baseball is to hit a ball with a
bat and then run around a series of
bases whether these are army bases or
naval bases is unclear the game is
similar to a British game known as
rounders but has some uniquely American
twists including spitting tobacco
adjusting athletic supporters and
bench-clearing brawl z– after a bean