Monday, July 6, 2009

History Bites

By the time anyone sees this, it'll be a few days after Canada Day. Now, it's no secret that Canadians don't get as enthusiastic about national pride as -- for instance -- Americans do. However, what's kind of sad is a study released in mid-June by the Dominion Institute, which says that several Canadian provinces do a very poor job of teaching our history. According to the report, only 4 of our 13 provinces and territories -- Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Nova Scotia -- have high school students take Canadian history as a mandatory course. The rest -- except for British Columbia -- just mix it in with social studies. Because of this, no province earned an A on this report card, but 4 provinces and 1 territory did flunk out completely.

It's no wonder that Canada barely seems to have any identity -- apparently whoever is in charge of education in much of this country doesn't care if anyone learns about it. The goofy thing is that in some of these provinces there's no excuse for it -- Prince Edward Island was one of the provinces that flunked, but Canada was FOUNDED here! While I was vacationing here I was easily able to get into Confederation House, where it was decided to unite the remaining British and French colonies in North America. It's like living right along the Mason-Dixon line and not knowing a thing about the Civil War. It's like everybody in Washington not knowing about The Constitution -- oh right, nevermind.

Look, no one expects an entire country of people to be walking encyclopedias, but when a huge amount of our schools don't even bother explaining a thing about our origins, our culture, our values, or our accomplishments... then what are we but a bunch of drones? We're not even copies of Americans, we're just a walking blank slate. The Canadian pavillion at Epcot is probably more educational, and even then it's more like a huge tourism poster. If these schools -- or parents, for that matter -- don't get their acts together, then our flag may as well just turn into a question mark. That's it for me.

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