Whitewashing history fails to serve the common good

Beware the arrogance of the new age. Attempting to cleanse history is a fool’s or, worse, a tyrant’s errand

Whitewashing history fails to serve the common goodIn the interest of righting a genuine and grave historic wrong – the suffering of our Indigenous peoples – the historical hubris of our present Canadian age is distorting history yet again. Enter the City of Victoria and Sir John A. Macdonald. In removing his statue from in front of Victoria City Hall, the denizens…

The debt all Canadians owe to settlers

It was the settlers, with their hard work and the values they carried, who made Canada the wonderful country it is today

The debt all Canadians owe to settlersThe border between Gaza and Israel is a battle zone. Hamas, the party that governs Gaza, is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. It has tried everything from firing rockets over the border and encouraging Gazans to attempt suicidal border breaches, to sailing burning kites over the border. Hamas refuses to recognize the legitimacy of…

Rewriting our history won’t make it go away

Historical revisionists want to rename buildings, pull down statues and rename paintings. Leave our history alone, warts and all

Rewriting our history won’t make it go awayThe modern fashion of attempting to rewrite history appears to be gaining ground. Hector-Louis Langevin’s name no longer adorns his building in Ottawa, the statue of Edward Cornwallis in Halifax has been toppled. And now, the history rewriters are busily taking dead aim at the most famous Canadian of all – John A. Macdonald. The three…

Let’s get past the need for apologies about the past

If apologies must flow if reconciliation is to be achieved in Canada, native groups should also issue regrets for their bygone evils

Let’s get past the need for apologies about the pastBy Gerry Bowler and Rod Clifton Frontier Centre for Public Policy The string of calls for public apologies continues unabated. How many apologies are enough? Yet again, demands have been made that Pope Francis apologize for the role that the Catholic Church played in the Indian Residential School system. His refusal to do so has…

Where is the wisdom and conciliation from Indigenous leaders?

Creating a greater divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians is not likely to benefit people in the long run

Where is the wisdom and conciliation from Indigenous leaders?In a line at the supermarket checkout, I glanced back at the woman who was placing her purchases on the belt behind my grocery items, and I couldn’t help but wonder what life had done to her to put such an expression of tired crabbiness on her face. That unpleasant expression, mixed with an obvious…

The coronation of Pierre Trudeau

Fifty years ago tomorrow, Trudeau was declared winner of the federal Liberal Party’s leadership race. Two weeks later he was prime minister

The coronation of Pierre TrudeauAfter 50 years, I still remember the moment. Shortly before 8 p.m. on April 6, 1968, Pierre Trudeau was declared winner of the federal Liberal Party’s leadership race, thereby positioning him to become the 15th prime minister of Canada two weeks later. It had been a tense, riveting day for those of us glued to…

Second line of O Canada should read “Our home on native land”

One small change to the words of O Canada will remind us of our historic debt and help facilitate broader knowledge of Indigenous issues

Second line of O Canada should read “Our home on native land”The catalogue of injustices experienced by Canada’s Indigenous people is long and tragic: residential schools, missing and murdered women, and high incarceration rates, to name just a few. Reading the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report on residential schools is a gut-wrenching reminder of just one of the catastrophes they have survived. Against this backdrop, the…

Don’t judge historic figures without knowledge of our history

Canadian curriculums fail students when it comes to teaching the content necessary to have informed, intelligent debate

Don’t judge historic figures without knowledge of our historyLast fall, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario demanded that Sir John A. Macdonald’s name be stricken from all public schools in the province. More recently, Halifax city council voted to remove the Edward Cornwallis statue that had stood downtown since 1931. Both decisions were vigorously debated and public opinion remains sharply divided. These are…

Let’s stop gratuitously thrashing historical reputations

Emily Murphy should be celebrated for her accomplishments and how they changed Canadian society for the better, not reviled for her shortcomings

Let’s stop gratuitously thrashing historical reputationsDecades ago, I remember my father complaining about “the new fashion for debunking.” But imbued with the certainty of a university freshman, I wasn’t particularly sympathetic. In retrospect, though, he had a point. I was reminded of this the other day when I came across my research notes for a decade-old historical journal essay on…

Enduring words of wisdom on reconciliation

If we had listened to Pierre Trudeau, we would no longer be talking about reconciliation – we would be at least part way there

Enduring words of wisdom on reconciliationReconciliation between Canada’s Indigenous people and mainstream society is a goal all thoughtful Canadians seek. It’s obvious that too many Indigenous people lag far behind other Canadians by most economic and health indicators, and we must find ways to close that gap. It’s worthwhile considering what Prime Minister Trudeau has said: “The weight of history…

Stephen Harper in the rearview mirror

Calling the Harper years a particularly dark time for Canada is partisan fiction, not reality

Stephen Harper in the rearview mirrorWilliam Watson’s Financial Post columns are invariably worth reading. As centre-right economists go, his general perspective isn’t unusual, but his penchant for digging into data can be illuminating. One of the things that a dispassionate person might take away from Watson is a more nuanced view of former Canadian Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper. Harper,…

Celebrating Christmas in 18th and 19th century Alberta

Christmas was more primitive in the 18th  and mid-19th century, but it was still Christmas – joy and fellowship were, and are, its primary expression

Celebrating Christmas in 18th and 19th century AlbertaTurn the clock back to the late 18th century and mid-19th century Alberta, and chances are you’d be eating fish, beavertail, and stewed moose rather than roasted turkey and honey-glazed ham for Christmas dinner. Instead of rockin’ to tunes emanating from audio systems and iPods, you’re more likely to be dancing the jig to the sounds of…

The hardships of Orkney link to Canada’s early days

Displaced from their homes, many citizens of the Orkney islands ended up in Canada working for the Hudson Bay Company

The hardships of Orkney link to Canada’s early daysThe Standing Stones of Stenness on Mainland, the main Scottish island of Orkney, date back to approximately 3,100 BC. Stonehenge, to put the Orkneys in time perspective as a Neolithic parent to western Europe, was constructed from 3,000 to 2,000 BC. What was it about these outpost islands that attracted the earliest agriculturalists to their…

Historical harvest event met with sunshine and success

Antique tractors belonging to the museum’s collection were used to run the roughly 100-year-old threshing machines. Several teams of horses were used to pull a 1920s-era binder, grain carts, wagons and other items in the field.

Historical harvest event met with sunshine and successKenneth Brown of The Clarion Farming in the 1920s had few similarities to farming in the 2010s, and members of the Kindersley Antique Threshing Club continue to show people how it was once done. The threshing club held a third annual vintage threshing, horse and binder demonstration on Sept. 24 in a field on the…

Canadians need a civics education refresher

Americans are woefully ignorant of basic government functions; Canadians aren't far behind

Canadians need a civics education refresherCivics education hasn’t been a top priority in most Canadian schools for years. While that’s hardly front page news, the bigger concern is that we understand very little about what our nation is and the foundations upon which it was built. The evidence? In December 2008, Dominion Institute/Ipsos Reid conducted a survey of 1,070 Canadians. The…