10.20.2012 12:49 PM

Says the courageous minister who won’t also call for the Canadian flag to be flown in Quebec

This Conservative government occasionally makes me want to throw up.

This is one of those times.


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    bigcitylib says:

    I remember a 1st year University prof that once told me that the sum of Cdn history was a battle between the feds and the provinces over who could sell liquor where. Teach Cdn history in highschool and kids will either drop out,cut their wrists, or go smoke crack out in the parking lot. Seriously bad idea.

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    que sera sera says:

    Only occasionally?

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    Attack! says:

    Not that I oppose teaching Canadian history, but this is one more piece of Harper’s ongoing quest to recreate Canada’s whole ethos into a jingoistic, militaristic mini-me of the USA’s.

    Which he’s doing mainly for partisan reasons — to permanently UNdo what he takes as the too-associated-with-the-Liberal Party “peace, order and good government” / melting pot/ etc one we used to have.

    Ironically, this comes at precisely the wrong time in history, to be good for us, if Allan Gregg is right in the thesis he advanced in the Travis Debate this week…

    that the USA’s beliefs in its own myths make it uniquely unsuited to adapt to the rest of the world catching up with it,

    while ours — until the Harper gang came along, at least — could make us far better able to get along productively with others (“the very absence of an unassailable national ideology means that compromise is not only possible, it is also still highly valued in Canada”).

    He’s put a transcript of it up at http://allangregg.com/?p=88

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      Patrick says:

      Thanks for the Gregg link.

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    Michael Reintjes says:

    I must be missing something…

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    !o! says:

    “he who controls the past controls the future, and he who controls the present controls the past” and all that, but seriously? This seems pretty transparent/juvenile/simplistic and almost amateur. If they’re trying to influence values or peoples construal of history, do they think they will do it in one or two election cycles? It’s not like they are writing the curriculum. It all just seems so literal, and like they seriously underestimate how complex the cultural fabric of this society is.

    I kinda feel embarrassed for them really.

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    Ty says:

    Maybe he should learn Canadian history and read S. 92 of the BNA Act.

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      Tim Sullivan says:

      Time for the firewall to go up.

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    WJM says:

    Greetings from the reading room of Library and Archives Canada, subjected to brutal 2012 budget cuts, on top of earlier cuts.

    This is the place where they store the history.

    The reading room clock has been out of order for a month now, frozen at 2:50.

    The reference room closes at 2:00 p.m. Well, what’s left of it closes then.

    From my vantage point, I can look across the Ottawa River to what is, for now, the Museum of Civilization, and which will soon be rebranded the Royal Canadian Museum of the War of 1812 or some such thing, thanks to $25-million cannibalized from elsewhere in the Heritage portfolio.

    Elsewhere, like… Library and Archives Canada.

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    Raymond says:

    Wrapping one’s self in the flag would play right into Marois’ childish antics. The less attention she receives, the better.

    Sorry man, I agree with the minister on both counts.

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      Elisabeth Lindsay says:

      I agree with Raymond. The more we ignore Mme Marois the better.

      Also, I don`t get why we shouldn`t be teaching Canadian History. Just to show how old I am, I WAS taught it all through school in B.C. and Manitoba.

      Just what part of our history is so offensive that it should not be taught I`m wondering?

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    Patrick says:

    Canadian history is “boring” because it isn’t founded on the delusional myth of being “a chosen people” or a nation with a “manifest destiny”. There’s nothing to tell us how our glorious history makes us special and greater than any other nation in the world.
    Really, what’s so great about a nation founded on agreement, tolerance and acceptence of multiple peoples without a shot being fired or some “other” being conquered. Boring.
    Fortunately the Conservatives are fixing this by pumping the blood of 1812, talking tough behind the skirts of a superpower and building monuments to war that is nothing but a horrible failure of our humanity.
    Yes, these are the people I want advocating our history.
    Spoon feeding and flag waving anyone.
    Thanks Warren now I’m going to be in rage all day.

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    red says:

    Part of the problem is Granatstein et al, despite their arguments otherwise, are killing history by making it about jingo in contrast to the rich, deeply interesting cultural and social history work being done in universities.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    If your point is geared toward the lack of same at the National Assembly, in the Salon rouge, that is one thing. However, if you are bemoaning the lack of the Canadian flag’s presence across Quebec, all I can tell you is that it has become more evident in Quebec City in the last two years. It was always flying in front of post offices but it is now displayed at Customs at the airport — not to mention outside the new spiffy rented offices of Human Resources and Skills Development.

    In short, making progress one flag at a time — and no one has torn the one down at the airport.

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    DJ says:

    It’s so typical of a Conservative to visit a private school when there are so many public schools he could have visited. Newsflash for James Moore–BC students have to take grade 10 and 11 Social Studies to graduate. The two courses cover pre- and post-Confederation Canadian history between them.

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      dave says:

      Y’beat me to it DJ.

      In addition, I guess one way to look at the War of 1812, is that it was a militay adventure that ended with rule by the elite (Family Compact, for example)in the Canadas for another several decades, a trashing of any democratic intitiatives, and the beginning of the marginalization of Aboriginal people (allies in 1812)in the Canadas.

      Just before 1900, Louis Bourassa was arguing against sending Canadian troops to South Africa saying that contributing to the wars of the empire does not enhance liberty for a British subject, it diminishes liberty. It’s an argument that our young people might be made aware of.

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        Raymond says:

        …yet many consider Canada’s involvement in WWI as the defining moment of our nation.

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    Merrill Smith says:

    To WJM — cutting the budget of Library and Archives reduces the chances of people learning things about our history the Cons don’t like.

    To Red — whenever I read anything by Granatstein, I’m reminded of Henry Ford’s dictum that history is more or less bunk.

    To Dave — I think you mean Henri Bourassa. When I was first learning about Canadian history, I think we were taught that Bourassa was wrong. Now I think he was right. Thanks for reminding me.

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      dave says:

      Right, Henri, …see, we need more history lessons for old fogeys, too.

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      KP says:

      Bourassa was right. The Boer War was a stupid and pointless waste of time and lives. There was literally no point to that conflict.

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      Conservative Socialist says:

      In what context did Henry Ford infer that “History is bunk?” I’m just curious.

      I recall having an argument with my neighbor who was arguing in favor of the Iraq war ten years ago. I argued that the war was a stupid idea for evident reasons, but he kept repeating that I failed to “learn from history” because the world ignored Hitler and tried to appease him diplomatically with disastrous results.

      A lot of history is misappropriated or interpreted in a manner to suit one’s own ends. Glenn Beck gets into all sorts of weird contortions and verbal gymnastics of historical precedent of hundreds of years ago to prove his wild conspiracy theories about Obama and George Soros.

      So to those guys, I would love to offer “History is bunk” as a counter to their arguments.

      What is “history” anyway? Depending on the biases of the researcher in question, Trudeau is either an angelic figure or the Devil Incarnate. Figures like Mother Teresa and Gandhi are beloved in most quarters, but you can count on the late Christopher Hitchens to eviscerate them as charlatans and opportunists in his writings.

      And I say this as someone who loves reading history–I love reading about obscure and forgotten stuff like what lead to the War of Austrian Succession. But I take a lot of hagiography and demonization with a grain of salt.

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