Categories

A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

mark a rayner: The 2nd Monday of October

Meanwhile in Canada … Every year on the second Monday of October, Canadians celebrate the end of the Moose Ascendency. During this dark period of Canadian history, the moose reigned supreme, forcing our provocatively dressed women to worship them, and slaughtering any man who got in their way. Eventually, Canadians discovered the mystical powers of . . . → Read More: mark a rayner: The 2nd Monday of October

Montreal Simon: Chanie Wenjack, Gord Downie, and the Secret Path

I never heard the story of Chanie Wenjack, an Ojibway boy who lived in Northern Ontario, until today.

And although it made me feel terribly sad, I’m glad I did.

Because it couldn’t be a more Canadian story, or a more powerful story of resistance.

Even if it ended so tragically.

Read more » . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Chanie Wenjack, Gord Downie, and the Secret Path

In This Corner: Stuff Still Happens, week 29: Donald Trump’s Lying Circus

OK, let’s recap the week at the Republican National Convention. Be prepared, this makes for depressing reading. The week began with Antonio Sabato, a former underwear model, little known actor, and failed Dancing with the Stars competitor, addressing the convention. Why Antonio Sabato, no one is sure why. But after his speech, he told ABC […] . . . → Read More: In This Corner: Stuff Still Happens, week 29: Donald Trump’s Lying Circus

Montreal Simon: Why Nova Scotia Should Stop Honouring a War Criminal

For eighty-five years the statue of Lieutenant General Edward Cornwallis has loomed over a park in Halifax.To honour him for being the first governor of Nova Scotia, and the founder of Halifax.In recent years native groups have tried to have the statu… . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Why Nova Scotia Should Stop Honouring a War Criminal

In This Corner: Stuff Still Happens, week 12: Bombings, and bodies, keep piling up

Another week, another atrocity. This time, it’s Brussels, Belgium (a city described in January by Donald Trump as a “hellhole”) that came under sophisticated and yet cowardly attack by ISIS on Tuesday. Bombs went off in three locations leaving at least 30 people dead. That an attack would happen in Brussels is hardly surprising. The […] . . . → Read More: In This Corner: Stuff Still Happens, week 12: Bombings, and bodies, keep piling up

Montreal Simon: Rewriting Stephen Harper’s Con History of Canada

One of the things I hated the most about Stephen Harper's years in power, was the way he tried to rewrite the history of Canada.By making it all about the monarchy and war, and erasing all mention of the peaceful values that helped make us the coun… . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Rewriting Stephen Harper’s Con History of Canada

In This Corner: A little historical perspective on the Syrian refugee numbers

As you know, Canada (in the form of our newly elected government) is bringing in 25,000 Syrian refugees as our part in the effort to lessen the humanitarian crisis that has swamped Europe. There is some debate about this, of course. Some say 25,000 is way too many, some say it’s way too fast, and […] . . . → Read More: In This Corner: A little historical perspective on the Syrian refugee numbers

In This Corner: Stuff Happens, week 51: It was a very bad year

Well, I did it. And I’m sure you’re thrilled. When I started writing this blog, I vowed to write a weekly review of events as I saw them. I did it mostly as a personal challenge, a way to instil a little discipline in my undisciplined life, and to boost my memory of the events […] . . . → Read More: In This Corner: Stuff Happens, week 51: It was a very bad year

Alberta Politics: In Flanders Fields? It’s time to encourage another generation of school kids to read some better poems from the Great War

PHOTOS: In Flanders Fields? The reality of the Great war’s battlefields: squalor, incompetence, mechanized industrial death. Below: John McCrae, and a Great War poet still worth reading, Wilfred Owen. A civilization that forgets its poetry is barely worthy of the name. Like fiction and unlike non-fiction, poetry is how a culture’s most profound truths are . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: In Flanders Fields? It’s time to encourage another generation of school kids to read some better poems from the Great War

In This Corner: The Pain Campaign: Election 2015, week 1

Welcome, reader(s), to the Pain Campaign, your weekly recap of the longest and certainly ugliest election campaign in modern Canadian history.

First, a probably unnecessary warning. Don’t come here if you’re looking for reasoned, balanced analysis. I just can’t do that, because I loathe Stephen Harper, more than any other Canadian politician, ever. I think . . . → Read More: In This Corner: The Pain Campaign: Election 2015, week 1

The Canadian Progressive: Canadians still demand female representation on banknotes

The call for more female representation in Canada remains loud and clear as an online petition demanding that the Bank of Canada include women on Canadian banknotes opens 2015 with more than 52,800 signatures.

The post Canadians still demand female representation on banknotes appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

In This Corner: Wildrose rollover a betrayal of epic proportions.

Q: What do World War II France and the Wildrose Party have in common?

A: They both rolled over.

At least the French were facing the Nazi Germany army, and almost certain destruction. The only thing the Wildrose was facing was losing the next election. Not quite the same thing, but they rolled over just . . . → Read More: In This Corner: Wildrose rollover a betrayal of epic proportions.

Montreal Simon: The Human Rights Museum and the Aboriginal Genocide

I see that the Canadian Human Rights Museum has finally opened its doors in Winnipeg.Which as someone who has fought all his life for human rights, is something I would normally celebrate.Except for the ghastly almost unbelievable fact that it doesn't recognize Canada's aboriginal genocide.Because Stephen Harper and his disgusting Con regime won't acknowledge . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: The Human Rights Museum and the Aboriginal Genocide

The Canadian Progressive: Government teaching new Canadians to hate Louis Riel

The government is rewriting Canadian history by poisoning the minds of new Canadians with an egregious misrepresentation of Louis Riel, the nineteenth-century leader of the Métis people and the founder of Manitoba province.

The post Government teaching new Canadians to hate Louis Riel appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

In This Corner: Dear Canada: It’s time to upgrade our greatests lists.

Happy 147th birthday, my fellow Canadians. I hope you’re enjoying the day by spending time with the family, maybe going to the lake, attending various Canada Day celebrations, etc. Me? I’m going to work. One way for millions to celebrate the birth of the dominion is to go shopping, and SOMEBODY has to be behind . . . → Read More: In This Corner: Dear Canada: It’s time to upgrade our greatests lists.

In This Corner: Watching Moncton, remembering Mayerthorpe. And why we still love the RCMP.

While watching the coverage today of the funeral of the three Mounties killed in Moncton, I was transported back to those bleak days in March 2005, when little Mayorthorpe was in the same situation.

I was an MLA during those shocking days, and I was fortunate enough to have been given a seat at the . . . → Read More: In This Corner: Watching Moncton, remembering Mayerthorpe. And why we still love the RCMP.

Alberta Diary: Enough petulant propaganda, please: the hammer of D-Day crushed Hitler on the anvil of Russia

D-Day on Juno Beach: Canadians trudge ashore under a strange colorized sky. Below: The distinguished Canadian military historian, the late Reginald H. Roy.

It’s been 70 years today since our magnificent Canadian soldiers went ashore at Juno Beach in Normandy to play their part the grim and deadly task of sweeping Hitler and . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Enough petulant propaganda, please: the hammer of D-Day crushed Hitler on the anvil of Russia

In This Corner: Introducing The Idiot Historian, and happy birthday to Cecile and Annette Dionne.

Wednesday marks the 80th anniversary of the beginning of one of the most amazing, uplifting and ultimately tragic stories in Canadian history. Let’s see if the lazy Canadian media, so terrible at telling Canadians stories about Canada, takes notice.

On May 28th, 1934, in Corbeil, Ont., in a tiny farmhouse, Elzire Dionne, wife of Oliva . . . → Read More: In This Corner: Introducing The Idiot Historian, and happy birthday to Cecile and Annette Dionne.

Pample the Moose: Silencing or Strategic Manoeuvring? Professor Strong-Boag, International Women’s Day and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

For the past three days, my Facebook and Twitter feeds have been filled with a series of re-posts and re-tweets related to Professor Veronica Strong-Boag’s blogpost about International Women’s Day (IWD) for the (still-to-be-opened) Canadian Museum for Human Rights.  According to the detailed report on ActiveHistory.ca, containing Strong-Boag’s post and commentary about the story, she had been commissioned by the Museum to write a post about IWD for their collective blog.  When she submitted the blogpost, it was initially approved, and then withdrawn when the communications department expressed concern over her comment on the current Conservative government.  As a result, historians from coast to coast have been decrying the “censorship” and “silencing” of Strong-Boag by the museum (and speculating that the current federal government might have had a hand in this).  

Shortly after the ActiveHistory piece was published, Franca Iacovetta, professor of Canadian history at the University of Toronto, and the current president of the International Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, published a condemnation of “the effort to silence Canada’s leading women’s historian” on the Berks website.  Since that time, PressProgress has added their voice into the mix, commenting on the irony of a human rights museum censoring a commissioned blog.  Both of these pieces have also received extensive coverage on Facebook and Twitter.

I have a somewhat different take on these events from many of my historian colleagues, and would posit a working theory.  I suspect that Prof. Strong-Boag might have known full well (or at least strongly suspected) that her blogpost for International Women’s Day, which only includes one reference to Canadian governments past or present and does so to highlight the “anti-woman record” of “Canada’s Conservative government”, was never going to be approved by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The museum has been mired in controversies and funding crises for years – even before it has opened to the public.  The people who commissioned the post probably were hoping for a broad overview of the history of International Women’s Day, or perhaps a post that included some discussion of how Canada’s governments (past and present) have dealt with women’s issues.  This is not what they received, and someone probably balked at the fact that the sole reference in the post to Canada’s governments was a partisan attack on the current Conservative administration.  An offer to add more detail to support the assessment of the current government as “anti-woman” was probably even less welcomed. 

Here’s where I think the story gets interesting. By being “censored”, Strong-Boag has ensured that her message gets diffused to a much wider readership than the original blogpost itself likely would have been.  It is a fairly standard social movement tactic to try to create a situation (a “grievance” to use the social movement scholarly jargon) that will lend itself to media exposure, with the movement able to cast itself as the aggrieved party.  This helps to generate broader-based support for the movement, which is crucial to resource mobilization.  I very strongly suspect that the vast majority of people who have commented and re-posted this story have never before read the blog of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and would not have seen the post had it simply been posted there.  I had to scroll back to August 2013 to find a post on the CMHR blog that had a comment on it.  It also isn’t a blog with a rich history of guest postings – only six names of guest bloggers appear on their contributors roll.  The ActiveHistory.ca website, on the other hand, has a widespread readership among Canadian historians and engenders a lot of commentary.  The Berks is the main conference on women’s history in North America.  Far from being silenced, the decision by the CMHR to remove the post as written from their site has meant that Strong-Boag got a series of major platforms to attack the Harper government’s record on women’s rights, and along the way to damage the CMHR’s reputation and cast suspicion (possibly warranted, although this is unproven) of a sinister federal hand behind the removal of the blogpost.  Meanwhile, there is no post for International Women’s Day on the CMHR blog.

To be perfectly clear, I don’t disagree with Strong-Boag’s stance on the Harper government’s policy record.  But nor am I surprised that the museum would have shied away from her post.  Strong-Boag  engaged in a direct partisan attack. A paragraph discussing past-and-present Canadian governments’ decidedly mixed record on women’s issues (perhaps including Trudeau-era restrictions on the National Action Committee on the Status of Women’s lobbying efforts that were linked to their government funding, or the successive failures of a series of federal governments to make any meaningful progress on the childcare agenda) might possibly have made it past the communications officers at the CMHR.  At the very least, it would have been harder for a communications officer to defend the removal of a blogpost that presented a more balanced critique of the less-than-stellar record of Canada’s federal governments (Liberal and Conservative) on women’s issues that placed the current claw-backs in their historical context.  But to me, the section on the current government in the post as currently written reads as an isolated (if deserved) swipe at the government of the day and explicitly partisan.

If this was a deliberate strategic move on Strong-Boag’s part, it has worked beautifully, so kudos to her for getting her message disseminated.  Far more people have read her account of IWD than likely would have ever seen it on the CMHR blog.  I just find it a little bit disingenuous to speak of silencing and censorship in what appears to me to be a case of a museum trying not to appear to be overtly partisan in its public communications.  Even if it could have been claimed that this was a “guest post”, the museum would have been held accountable in the media, and with their various funders, for the content that appeared.

UPDATE (March 9, 3:10 PM): The story is now on the CBC website, with additional commentary from Strong-Boag, and a reply from the museum’s blog editor.  . . . → Read More: Pample the Moose: Silencing or Strategic Manoeuvring? Professor Strong-Boag, International Women’s Day and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Pample the Moose: Silencing or Strategic Manoeuvring? Professor Strong-Boag, International Women’s Day and the Canadian Museum of Human Rights

For the past three days, my Facebook and Twitter feeds have been filled with a series of re-posts and re-tweets related to Professor Veronica Strong-Boag’s blogpost about International Women’s Day (IWD) for the (still-to-be-opened) Canadian Museum of Human Rights.  According to the detailed report on ActiveHistory.ca, containing Strong-Boag’s post and commentary about the story, she . . . → Read More: Pample the Moose: Silencing or Strategic Manoeuvring? Professor Strong-Boag, International Women’s Day and the Canadian Museum of Human Rights

BigCityLib Strikes Back: What To Do About John, Eh?

Bernie Farber had a piece in the Ottawa Citizen yesterday re our nation’s first Prime Minister:

…Sir John A. Macdonald was also a racist who disdained Chinese rail workers, the very same men who helped build his national dream, by imposing a discriminatory head tax on each of them. And it was Macdonald whose policies . . . → Read More: BigCityLib Strikes Back: What To Do About John, Eh?

In This Corner: Wanted: One Great Canadian history writer.

Is Canadian history boring? Or, has it been poorly served by boring writers?

That’s a question that has been nagging me since I finished reading One Summer, written by Bill Bryson. As I mentioned in my best books blog, One Summer is a crackling-good read by one of the American masters of popular history. Bryson . . . → Read More: In This Corner: Wanted: One Great Canadian history writer.

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Rumour: Johnny Of Johnny Burgers Has Retired!

Johnny has talked about retiring for several years now, as I reported here.  Now I am informed that he has sold-out to some Chinese fellow, perhaps the little guy that worked for him forever who is visible center-left in the shot below. If so, that’s good news; that guy has hot burger grease flowing through his . . . → Read More: BigCityLib Strikes Back: Rumour: Johnny Of Johnny Burgers Has Retired!

The Ranting Canadian: ●          “People have got to know whether or not their…

● “People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook.” – disgraced American president Richard Nixon

● “I don’t recall. I don’t recall that.” – disgraced American president Ronald Reagan

● “A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? . . . → Read More: The Ranting Canadian: ●          “People have got to know whether or not their…

Pample the Moose: Celebrating Canada: National Holidays, Commemoration and Identity Politics

With all of the hubbub surrounding the federal government’s history agenda, I thought it was worth noting that one of the things that has been occupying me lately is the early phases of an edited collection about the practice and politics of crafting national identity in Canada’s past.  If you’re an academic who reads this . . . → Read More: Pample the Moose: Celebrating Canada: National Holidays, Commemoration and Identity Politics