Mark Collins – Canadian Academic History Today: Wretched (esp. on the military)

Excerpts from a post at the inimitable The Gods of the Copybook Headings blog:

Monarchy and Militarism

I think he intended this as an insult:

Yves Frenette, a history professor at the Universite de Saint-Boniface in Winnipeg, where he holds a Canada Research Chair [“consacrée aux migrations des communautés francophones dans les Amériques”], sounds the alarm about the Harper government in an essay published Tuesday [May 20] in the Canadian Journal of History [see here].

“The policies embodying the Harper government’s politics of memory have done considerable damage,” Frenette wrote. “The Canada idealized by Stephen Harper is not only monarchist but also militaristic.”

Which would be a terrible thing of course. The Canada of 1914 was, by modern standards, intensely monarchist and very pro-military...

For most of Canadian history the military was out of sight and out mind. It existed, it was probably necessary and when war came a flood of money and enthusiasm would be thrown at it. When the war was over the medals were handed out, everyone went home and most people tried to forget. That’s why the phrase “lest we forget” has such poignancy. Because it is human nature to forget things, especially that which is hard and unpleasant. It’s why we call it Remembrance Day. A hope, at times seemingly vain, to drive into the minds of comfortable, peaceful and prosperous Canadians their astonishing good luck.

At the end of the article Jack Granatstein, one of the country’s leading military historians [and CDFAI Fellow,more here], is quoted:

“Historians are all NDPers. They hate the Tories with a passion, and they’re all social historians, so they think any government that’s going to commemorate the War of 1812 a war-mongering government.”

I think that’s a tad generous. The sane ones are NDPers, the rest are unreconstructed Marxists and militant feminists... 

Do read on.  Much earlier from Mr Granatstein: Who Killed Canadian History (an adverse review here)? 

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds


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