Saturday, 22 December 2007

Facts, Fiction and Canadian Public Discourse

Last week I read a letter in my local newspaper that typified the public debate in Canada. The author had very strong opinions about the nature of Canada, but those opinions were based on an erroneous understanding of Canadian history.
It's not surprising the author of the letter believed what he did (although a look at the map of Alberta would have shown him that there were indeed Francophones here in the 19th Century).
Canadian history has been been edited by pundits, politicians, business groups, lobby organizations, and yes journalists --on both the right and left sides of the political spectrum -- for decades now. And the 20 second clips, op-eds, and documentaries the 'reinterpet' historical events for entertainment purposes continue to flood the media. Even history books are written from a 'point of view' that 'critiques' events for 21st century readers. (ie: tells us what we should think.)
But until we reject this spoon feeding and dig deeply into the facts, we cannot begin to understand the vision that founded this nation and envisioned a place for Canadians as leaders in the world. And we cannot claim our full inheritance until we know what that inheritance is.
And that is a pity that's goes well beyond Canada.

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