|National motto: Je me souviens|
|Important Cities||Ville-Marie, Trois-Rivières|
|Head-of-state (de jure)||The King of France (position vacant)|
|Head-of-state (de facto)||The Intendant|
|First-Minister||The First Minister|
|Area||± 1 million km²|
|Population||± 9 millions|
The current political system traces its origin to the colonial era and the body of laws known as the Custom of Paris as adapted for use within the Royal Province of New Francy. Following the french revolution and the ambiguous situation of the local government, a Council of Notables composed of civil servants, legal expert and noblemen met to establish the structure of New Francy in the absence of a reigning monarch.
The option of simply inviting the pretender to the throne was discussed but rejected in favour of a wait-and-see approach as it was felt, though never said, that a king who couldn't regain his throne on his own was not someone worth following. After much debates, it was decided to appoint the current Intendant, Charles Antoine Talon as a caretaker hand of state until such time as a legitimate king could either confirm him or appoint someone else. To prevent the Intendant from abusing his power, a set of Organic Laws were adopted, principles considered so fundamental to the very nature of New Francy that no one, not even a restored king, could disregard them. These have remained until the present although changing needs have meant that a number of reinterpretation and selective reading of them have been needed over time.
Head of State
Except for the brief republican period, the Head of State of New Francy is officially the King of France. Since there is currently no such thing as a reigning french monarch, the King is interpreted in term of a symbolic representation of the source giving the Intendant his executive power as its representative. This means that from a legal point of view, all laws are passed "in the name of the king" rather than deriving their legitimacy from the Intendant alone.
The Sovereign council
Originally, the Intendant presided over the Sovereign Council which was composed of himself, the catholic legate, the governor and 13 councillors who served as advisers and legal experts. The number of advisers was not changed after the Intendant absorbed the powers of the Governor.
Following the patoisants revolt and the establishment of a permanent estates-generals, the intendant began to appoint a first minister as one of the councillors to represent the 3 estates on the Sovereign Council and act as his second in command in certain matters. By agreement, the post was given to someone who had received the support of a majority within the 3 estates. Councillors meanwhile took on more specialised roles and came to be chosen solely from amongst members of the Estates-General with certain portfolios always given to members of a particular estates (education to the clergy, war to the nobility, etc....).
In addition to being the equivalent of a cabinet, the council also served as a court of last resort with its members (or more often, their deputies) hearing cases on appeal from lower courts.
The Sovereign council remained largely unchanged under the republic and the Clarifying Declaration only major addition to its membership was the Head of the Militia in her capacity as Acting Governor.
Originally The Intendant was only an appointed position despite the fact that it had remained in the same family for generation. It remained a de facto hereditary one as the Council of Notables wished to prevent infighting amongst the noble families without giving in to democracy.
The Intendant had originally only taken care of the civilian aspect of the colony and shared his power with the Catholic legate (an archbishop) for spiritual matters while the Governor was in charge of the military. The Intendant's power sometime overlapped those of the other 2 (in term of finance with the governor and laws with the legate) and often resulted in frictions between them. The Governor was in fact the highest position but after the death of the last appointed one in mysterious circumstances, his position was merged with that of the Intendant as historically, both could assume the other post during a period of vacancy.
The role and powers of the Intendant remained largely the same in the following years although the creation of the permanent Estates-Generals following the Patoisants Uprising meant that he was from then on expected to at least considered the requests of the population.
With the so-called green revolution and the abdication of Onésime Talon (the last member of the Talon Family), many people called for the abolishment of the post of Intendant. Instead, a referendum was quickly organised and a new Intendant, Léonce Boucher, elected to act in a caretaker capacity until such time as a new constitution was written. Following the release of the "Clarifying Declaration" by the Study Committee of the Chamber of Patricians on Legal Reforms, the role of Intendant was permanently reinstated although the method of naming a new one was changed. Based on what they saw as a method more in keeping with the spirit of the Organic Laws, a new Intendant had to be approved by both the local Catholic Legate as well as the head of the Militia acting as the de facto Governor.
Throughout the history of the post, the official residence of the Intendant has always been Castle St. Louis in Quebec. Within the castle is the Council Room in which the Sovereign council meets.
Historically, the governor was a man appointed by the king as military commander of a province. He was in charge of both the militia and the regular troops and was responsible for planing the defence of the territory.
The last governor (who publicly opposed siding with the post-revolution monarchists) was accidentally shot during a fishing expedition. His 2 fishing companions, the Intendant's nephew and the Captain of the Guard, brought back the terrible news. Sadden by the death of such a capable man, the Intendant was nonetheless forced to assume the burden of his post.
It should be noted that the post was never officially abolished but was considered "in abeyance". For this reason, official documents relating to defence matters would be signed by the Intendant as "Acting Governor". Over time, the day-to-day role of Governor came to be largely filled by the Minister for Safety, at various time either a civilian chosen by the Intendant or the Head of the Militia.
The role was not officially resurrected under the republic although The Clarifying Declaration as identified the Head of the Militia as a de facto Acting Governor based on their interpretation of the Organic Laws.
The Primate of the Catholic Church in New Francy upon being named in his post by the Pope automatically becomes a member of the Sovereign Council as Legate of New Francy with all its right and privileges. That being said, legates since the creation of the Intendancy have largely chosen to forgo using their powers unilaterally and prefer instead to act as moral adviser to the Intendant.
The role of the legate under the republic was never clearly addressed one way or the other. Though not confirmed in his position, no laws were passed by the new government striking him from the Sovereign Council and indeed, meetings continued to begin with him leading the others in a prayer. The Clarifying Declaration has confirmed his membership within the council but has been silent as to any special power enjoyed by him alone.
In colonial times, the king and the provincial government had called from time to time an Estates-General made up of representatives from the population at large to discuss issues relating to the colony (and more often then not, getting their approval to spend huge sums of money by taxing them). It was however a strictly ad hoc affair with not actual power to force a decision on the authorities.
One of the demand of the rebels during the Patoisants Revolt was the establishment of a permanent Estates-Generals to which the Intendant would be accountable. The uprising failed and the Intendant had no intention to curb his power but following pressure from other members of the Sovereign Council, it was made apparent that creating some sort of representative body, even with limited powers, would prevent further unrest.
Members of the estates would put forth propositions and requests (usually regarding the area that elected them) that would be written in the "cahiers de doleances" ["books of grievances"] which would then be transmitted to the Sovereign Council of the Intendancy for approval or rejection.
The Estates-General originally sat as 3 separate chambers and discussed matters independently according to their status. Coalitions however occurred at various time to force the hand of the Intendant. The 3 estates were merged following the Green Revolution. The Clarifying Declaration stated that having the 3 estates sit jointly did not contravene the Organic Laws as long as separate members were still named to it following the 3 tier method.
The General Council
The General Council was at first composed of representatives of the dominant parties from all 3 estates and was charged with the day to day running of the Estates General. It recommended from amongst themselves someone to serve as First Minister on the Sovereign Council and ensured daily correspondence between the 3 estates and the Intendant.
Following the Green Revolution, new parties arose made of members from all 3 estates resulting in the General Council being composed for the first time by members of a single party. The increased cohesion lead to an attempt at enshrining its legislative prerogatives in law. The Clarifying Declaration however only acknowledges the Estates' "Right to be Heard" as well as its corollary, the Intendant "Duty to React". While it lacks any specific means of enforcing the Estates' will, the language use in the section dealing with the Estates General have been interpreted by most as a warning to the Intendant not to make the same mistake as the last of the Talon.
The First Estate
Members of the first estate are named from amongst the clergy. A seat was automatically reserved for the head of each abbey or religious institution built on allodial lands. For practical reason, seats are now usually occupied by deputies named either by vote or nomination depending on the religious order.
Taking religious vows was legally considered equivalent to being "civically dead" that is, to have willingly renounced to ones legal rights save those due to all humans. This meant that a nobleman or a commoner joining a religious order would lose his right to sit as a member of either the 2nd or 3rd estate and could not hold an official office.
The Second Estate
Composed of representatives of the nobility. Due to the small number of title of nobility linked to fiefs within New Francy, a system was developed to allow, under certain conditions, members of noble houses living locally but owning fiefs which were lost during the French Revolution to send delegates of their own. This was considered necessary as a large enough representation was felt to be vital but that, technically speaking, any nobleman earning his living by any other means then the revenue of his fiefs would have lost his status.
The Third Estate
The third Estate represents the majority of the population in New Francy ranging from the poorest of farmers to wealthy entrepreneurs. Representatives of the 3rd estate are elected based on a geographical basis with the exact method of election having changed a number of times over the years. With the merger of the 3 estates, the 3rd estate has become the dominant one both in terms of number and influence.
Chamber of Patricians
The status of Patricians is unique to New Francy and resulted from a need to create a quasi nobility whose loyalty the Intendant could count on. As the King is the sole person allowed to issue the letter patent required to ennoble someone, being granted the status of patrician was a way to achieve a similar end by carefully avoiding direct comparison and presenting instead as a way to recognise the contributions of certain individuals to the prosperity of New Francy.
The Chamber of Patricians was intended to serve as a sort of safety valve to the Estates-General. As such, it did not produce "books of grievances" but only gave opinions, as requested by either the Intendant or the Estates General on whether a particular policy might violate the Organic Laws. While the chamber had a tendency to side with the Intendant on many issues, the fact that patricians could come from any of the 3 estates allowed the chamber to maintain a certain air of impartiality. This meant that the Intendant was able to shift the blame toward them on a number of issues.
Not only did the Chamber survived the republican era but the Clarifying Declaration firmly entrenched its role as the definitive interpreter of the Organic Laws.
Law & Order
The justice system is organised along judicial parishes for both civil and criminal matters. While the 2 originally originally occupied the same territory, judicial parishes have no connection whatsoever with the clergy of their local religious parish despite some having kept the same names.
Each parish has at least one civil judge and one criminal judge who each hear cases and whose sentences can be appealed to the Sovereign Council.
In addition to the judges, each judicial parish has one or more Fiscal Procurator, assisted by a substitute, who instructs the judge regarding persons having broken ordinances. Answering to the procurator are also clerks and a number of peace officers charged with arresting and detaining the accused. Although not part of the Militia, these peace officers can call on them for back up.
The criminal system of New Francy has often been described as "guilty until proven otherwise". To a large extent, this is more a result of the procedures followed during a court case than anything. For example, the judge is expected to ask question directly to the accused so as to clarify the case in front of him which might appear to some as if he lacked neutrality. It should be noted however that this is simply the last part of a lengthy investigative process and that many cases will not even reach this point unless the potential of guilt can be demonstrate beyond a certain point.
During colonial times, New Francy had the death penalty which achieved via various methods of executions depending on the crime:
- hanging: murderers (commoners)
- decapitation by the sword: murderers (nobility)
- burning: Heretics, sodomites & arsonist
- castration: rapists
- limbs broken while tied to a wheel: highwaymen and armed robbers
- boiled in oil: counterfeiters
- quartering: regicide
It should be noted that despite being on the book, no one was ever convicted of heresy or sodomy.
In 1791, the guillotine was adopted for every crime deserving of death in France and its colonies including New Francy. After the execution of the King of France, there was talk of reintroducing the former methods of execution but since the decree had been done while the King was still alive, it was felt that it was now part of the organic laws of New Francy.
There has been movement in New Francy for an abolition of the death penalty, often linked with some other demands (such as following the Patoisants Revolt of the 1830s). In answer to growing discontent with the application of the death penalty, the Intendant (who had the power of pardon) started to routinely commute the death penalty into life imprisonment starting in 1963. While de jure still on the book, no one has been executed in New Francy since that date.
Public Safety in New Francy is the responsibility of the Militia which traces its origins to colonial time when all men between 16-65 in each parishes would train a set number of days each years in case the authorities required men to serve in a military capacity by itself as or alongside the army.
The army itself was recruited in France and soldiers would serve a number of years in in the colonies before being offered either a trip home or a plot of land in one of the local seignory. The number of soldiers would increase during and immediately after the french revolution but the army quickly experienced difficulties as men and officers retired. Under the ancien regime, the presence of commoners in the officer corps had been limited or outright forbidden so that the nobility had attempted to continue it's monopoly in new francy to the detriment of able but non-noble candidates.
While not the main cause of the Patoisant uprising, the incapacity of commoners to have a career as an officer had been one of their grievance. As the number of empty post became dire, the Intendant hit upon a way to kill 2 birds with one stone. The structural limits of the militia had never been clearly defined but one aspect that had always been clear was that its officer corps was opened to all. Resources were thus redirected toward the militia with the army allowed to withered until only a small ceremonial guard remained.
Originally the changes were mostly cosmetic but as years went by and New Francy kept out of conflicts, the budget allocated to the militia was reduced and its role reassess. By the early 20th century, the Militia had ceased to be a military force but was rather a public safety one being composed of policemen, firemen, border guards and coast guards.
The haytian Crisis however showed the limits of its ability to engage in large scale security missions and plans were drawn to modernised the Militia. This was accelerated in the aftermath of the Green Revolution as the authorities feared the potential of a pro-monarchist coup. A new section of the militia, The Republican Guard, was put in place as a more heavily armed force which could deal with terrorist threat and potential uprisings. Equipment such as armoured vehicles, lacking in the Militia' armoury until then, were acquired from France for their use.
The Republican Guard came to be known for the heavy handed tactics leading to the creation of the Oversight Committee, a group of high ranking officers from all branches of the Militia save the Republican Guard. The Oversight Committee, headed by Captain-General Aline Desmarais, aimed to tamper the actions of the Republican Guard as well as act against what they saw as an increasing level of corruption in the the republic under Intendant Léonce Boucher.
The Oversight Committee would prove to be one of the major actor in the return of New Francy to the Intendancy system of government. By forcing the dissolution of the Republican Guard and later banking on its positive image amongst the neofrancian population, it managed to ensure a peaceful transition out of the republican era following the adoption of the Clarifying Declaration by the Estates-General.
Most of the traditional economy of New Francy was focused on timber, mining, fishing and agriculture. The industrial transformation of materials occurs mainly in and around Ville-Marie. Weapons and other metal work are done in and around St-Maurice.
New Francy is one of the few net exporter of energy outside of the oil producing countries. This comes mainly from hydro-electricity but the Intendancy has recently began efforts into building Tesla Generators as well, being so near to magnetic north.
The best known cultural export of the Intendancy is probably the circus troop of Le Cirque du Roi Soleil.
The largest local press agency is Omnipresse.
Following the dramatic events of 2008 when the Intendant resigned his position, New Francy's national symbols were changed with the flag displaying the green colour and maple leaf traditionally used by neofrancian republicans. The republican symbols were abandoned in favour of the previous ones in 2014 following the adoption of the Clarifying Declaration.