Some time ago, my friends the Friends of Fort York asked me to reflect on the impact of the now concluded War of 1812 bicentennial events on the fort and on Toronto. I thought it wise to draw most of it from the reflections of a variety of more expert observers of the Fort and the bicentennial: former curator Carl Benn of Ryerson University, Warrior Nation co-author Jamie Swift, several others. It's available online now in Fife and Drum's July 2015 issue.
The first time around, York and Fort York were hit hard by the War of 1812. Happily they have done much better by the Bicentennial. With the Treaty of Ghent now fully two hundred years in the past, it is time to examine what the commemoration has done for the fort and the city and what lessons might be carried forward. Recently I talked with some of the people most directly engaged with what has happened to Fort York in the Bicentennial yearsThe July issue of The Literary Review of Canada has Philip Girard's review of my Three Weeks in Quebec City -- though paywalled, so it's mostly for subscribers. I admit I read it waiting for the "however" paragraph in which all my failings and shortcomings would be exposed. Gee, it never comes!
Christopher Moore has provided a sparkling, succinct and thought-provoking account of those three rainy weeks in La Vieille Capitale, and in so doing provides a handy refresher on our constitution’s basic principles.
Must say Iiked this bit:
As for the Senate, which occupied much of the delegates’ time and almost caused its break-up, Moore maintains that it was never meant to be a powerful institution. The delegates insisted on its being an appointed body precisely in order to ensure that it could not rival the elected House of Commons, which would remain the real centre of Canadian political life. It is for this reason that our constitution provides no mechanisms for dealing with deadlock between the Senate and the House of Commons—as, for example, the Australian constitution does. The Senate was expected to have the good sense to defer to the elected body on important issues of principle—as it (mostly) does. Moore must have taken some satisfaction at the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in the recent Senate Reference, which, though without citing him, essentially agreed with his position