Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Political history

When the Conservatives came to power in Ottawa they rewrote the history books.  Well, they rewrote the guide for prospective citizens, Discover Canada, that has a substantial historical component -- and was much criticized at the time for having too much war, militarism, monarchy and other favoured historical themes of that government.

At the time, I was more concerned about the process. Having been approached by a flunky in the Heritage Minister seeking (unpaid) advice on how to draft their booklet, I told them they had lots of historians in their employ and should leave such work to professionals, not political staffers. That was the end of my participation.

Now we have a new government in power, and already one of the new ministers is musing about how he wants to rewrite the citizenship guide.
On the weekend, Immigration Minister John McCallum hinted the Canadian citizenship guide’s retelling of the War of 1812 would be pared down.
“If you ask an average Canadian what Canada means, maybe they’ll say hockey, maybe they’ll say something else, they’re not likely to say the War of 1812,” he told CBC’s The House on Saturday.
It must be a bit disillusioning for new immigrants: to become a Canadian citizen, one has to parrot back whatever version of Canadian history the current politician in charge thinks fits with the current party-in-power's messaging.
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