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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Liberals don’t own our history

The Conservative government of Stephen Harper attracted considerable criticism when it elected to spend $28 million celebrating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

It was noted that the war happened a long time ago, before Canada was even a country, and few Canadians know much about it. Liberals charged that Conservatives were keen on commemorating wars, but had skipped the 30th anniversary of the Charter of Rights. While Ottawa was spending money on parades and ceremonies, it was cutting funding on other fronts, and laying off public servants. It was hinted that the celebration reflected some weird fetish Harper had about boring old Canadian history.

Something of the same attitude appears to reside within the new Liberal government. Immigration Minister John McCallum indicated an overhaul of Canada’s guide for new citizens — updated just six years ago by the Conservatives — is planned because the current version is “a little heavy on the War of 1812 and barbaric cultural practices.” As the National Post’s Chris Selley has pointed out, the 68-page guide carries a single mention of “barbaric practices,” in a section indicating Canada does not tolerate spousal abuse, honour killings or female genital mutilation. McCallum did not explain why Liberal sensibilities would be offended by a warning to new citizens that Canadians abhor such abuses...

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