On pensait que la fille était bonne à rien': Fiola, 1917

AuthorConstance Backhouse
       
 
bloodbath sucking up millions of men, munitions, a nd supplies in the rot
   
the countryside for young recruits. In April a nd May, French crowds pelted
  
ice, and stones. While patriotic fervour held steady in English Canada, it
took centre stage.
          
    
Conscription Act        Globe newspaper ap
       
   
the woods, preferring to camp out than to risk compulsor y wartime serv
ice.  
 
     
exacerbating lingui stic and ethnic hostilities and making t he minority fran
cophone population even more anxious.
Not three weeks aer the passage of the Conscription Act, a group of
FrenchCanadian youthstooko fromVerdunon asightseeing spreePer
haps it was another way to rebel against the forces that were mounting to
press them into militar y service. There were eight of them: Léo Fiola, Al
ThivièrgeHenri PerroeandLéodore VenneTheyoungest waseighteen
the eldesttwentythre eAmongst them there weretwo automobilec hauf
feursonesteameroneplumberoneapprentice shoetackoperatorone
journeyman car penter, one munitions factory worker, and a butcher. They
came from the same small f rancophone neighbourhood in Verdun, where
they lived side by side and down the street from each other. These were the
sonsof skilledworkingclass families Only one of them, Léo Fiola, seems
to have been solidly middle class. His father owned a furn iture store in Ver
dun.It wasLéo Fiolascar aHudsonSuper Sixthatthe eightyoungmen
The event that drew them was the muchheralded completion of the
QuébecBridgeThetoweringed iceofconcreteand steeldesignedtospan
the banks of the St. Lawrence River had collapsed twice dur ing construc
tion, causing death and injury to nearly a hundred bridge workers. Twenty
yearsand one royalcommission aer itsrst conceptiont hebridge drew
merveille dumondeeighth wonderof the world Mondaymorning 
Septemberthece ntralspanwasoated outonpontoonsand gigantic
hydraulic jacks tried to haul it up into place between the cantilevered arms.
The operation would take a full thre e days to complete, and by evening the
eightyoungmenfromVerdunwerebored watchingandtooko toseethe
town. Their adventures overthe next seventeen hours oera fascinat ing
insight into the codes of masculi nity that governed a group of men looking
forsex adolescentmaleaitudestowardsfemale sexualitythe risktaking
behavi ourofyou ngworking classwom enandc orrupt ionwith inth ecrim i
nal justice system.
Sexual Assault in a Hudson Super Six
W  be en uppermost in mind, as the group circled t he
streetsof thecapitalcity between andpmonSeptemberlooking

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