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Would Australia have been a better place had the French stayed?
I read a uchronia once where Tasmania was French and the rest of Australia British. It got very lazy very quickly, and turned Australia + Tasmania into Canada + Quebec, complete with Quiet Revolution and Vichy France rule.
I can’t imagine Australia ending up that much different from Canada, in fact. The Brits would have stuck around, and would have likely wrested overlordship from them. Canada’s a cool place, there’s worse outcomes than that.
The vague notion that French rule might have held back a spirit of enterprise and sophistication in the colonies is not that absurd: France was more centralist about its colonies than Britain ever was. And multiculturalism wouldn’t have happened, for better or worse: Trudeau Snr invented multiculturalism as a reaction to Quebecois nationalism, not as an outgrowth of it.
Agree about far better food, though. I mean, poutine!