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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 8:25 pm
 


On July 1, we celebrated Canada Day. For most people, Canada Day is a day to take pride in, to celebrate who we are as a country.

However, more recently there have been harsh criticisms levied against past figures in Canadian history, particularly prime ministers like John A. Macdonald and Wilfrid Laurier. Critics have pointed out the way past historians often ignored or downplayed the negative aspects of their legacies, such as the “head tax” on Chinese immigrants, the discrimination against indigenous peoples, or the racist immigration hierarchy that favoured people from Western and Northern Europe over people from other parts of Europe or the world.

These critics have a point – men like Macdonald and Laurier, and the populations they governed, shared much of the same racism as other people in the 19th century. However, some critics take things further than that, as noted by the backlash against the attempt to erect statues of all the prime ministers at Wilfrid Laurier earlier this year. The implication to take away from this is that apparently we shouldn’t be – or perhaps we’re not allowed to – take pride in anything they accomplished, even if it was otherwise positive.

The view of Canadian history becomes just as black and white as before, except in the other direction.

In the case of Macdonald, he promoted the view that indigenous people should be assimilated. However, he also actively strove to build bridges between anglophone and francophone Canadians, actively protesting the way that francophone rights were being suppressed outside of Quebec. He also attempted to extend the vote to women, although Parliament voted against it, and legalized trade unions.

For his part, Laurier formally established a hierarchical immigration system. However, he continued Macdonald’s efforts of building bridges between anglophones and francophones, and in supporting francophone rights while also respecting the autonomy of the provinces. The immigration boom that occurred on his watch contributed immeasurably to the cultural diversity of Canada, especially on the Prairies, even despite the immigration restrictions. Notably, he also subtly distanced Canada more and more from the British Empire, continuing Canada’s growth as an independent country.

There is much more to Canada and its history than just two of its leaders, of course. But Macdonald and Laurier illustrate how complex our history and character actually are. That’s one of the advantages of knowing our history, too – seeing where our ancestors made mistakes, so we can build on their successes while fixing their failures.

Whitewashing the ugly parts of Canada’s past won’t solve anything. However, neither will only focusing on those ugly parts by themselves, without also recognizing the good that was demonstrated at the same time.

We have a lot to criticize and regret in our history, but we also have a lot to celebrate and take pride in.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:24 am
 


I never understood, in an evolving society, why we would judge people from history based on our new morals. They have no chance to change or defend themselves, and it serves no purpose other than to stroke our own egos at our newly evolved sensibilities.

They in turn would judge us on giving up on many of the morals that made this country what it is, like strength and resilience. It took some hard people to tame this country. How many people today would undertake a journey from Quebec, to Vancouver to The Arctic ocean and back, bringing bales of furs with them - on foot with few provisions?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 8:49 am
 


DrCaleb wrote:
I never understood, in an evolving society, why we would judge people from history based on our new morals. They have no chance to change or defend themselves, and it serves no purpose other than to stroke our own egos at our newly evolved sensibilities.


We're also making the assumption that they were wrong when perhaps in their same situation at the same time we'd have made that same decision. :idea:

DrCaleb wrote:
They in turn would judge us on giving up on many of the morals that made this country what it is, like strength and resilience. It took some hard people to tame this country. How many people today would undertake a journey from Quebec, to Vancouver to The Arctic ocean and back, bringing bales of furs with them - on foot with few provisions?


Exactly none. :cry:


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 8:54 am
 


Well no, that would be stupid. And they weren't on foot but in canoes. Also, I'd like to hear about just who took that one long journey carrying furs? Little over stated.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 9:10 am
 


andyt wrote:
Well no, that would be stupid. And they weren't on foot but in canoes. Also, I'd like to hear about just who took that one long journey carrying furs? Little over stated.


Quote:
David Thompson (30 April 1770 – 10 February 1857) was a British-Canadian fur trader, surveyor, and map-maker, known to some native peoples as "Koo-Koo-Sint" or "the Stargazer." Over Thompson's career, he travelled some 90,000 kilometers across North America, mapping 4.9 million square kilometres (1.9 million square miles) of North America along the way.[1] For this historic feat, Thompson has been described as the "greatest land geographer who ever lived."[2]


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Tho ... xplorer%29

Quote:
Sir Alexander Mackenzie (or MacKenzie, Scottish Gaelic: Alasdair MacCoinnich, 1764 – 12 March 1820) was a Scottish explorer. He is known for his overland crossing of what is now Canada to reach the Pacific Ocean in 1793. This was the first east to west crossing of North America north of Mexico and preceded the Lewis and Clark expedition by 10 years.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander ... xplorer%29

Quote:
Peter Pond (January 18, 1739 or 1740 – 1807) was a soldier with a Connecticut regiment, a fur trader, a founding member of the North West Company and the Beaver Club, an explorer and a cartographer. Though he was born and died in Milford, Connecticut, most of his life was spent in northwestern North America.

In 1783, Pond's explorations led him to the Athabasca, a region stretching from Lac Île-à-la-Crosse to the Peace River. There he explored waterways around Lake Athabasca and determined the approximate locations of Great Slave Lake and Great Bear Lake from First Nations peoples of the area. From his notes and diaries Peter Pond drew a map showing rivers and lakes of the Athabasca region, including what was known of the whole area from Hudson Bay to the Rocky Mountains and interpolating his information to the Arctic Ocean or Northwest Passage.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Pond

. . . and, canoes are pretty worthless on frozen rivers.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 9:17 am
 


Exactly - a few explorers. We have people still doing feats of derring do today. The population doesn't, and didn't do the feats you describe they either. People on foot weren't carrying furs in significant amounts, give me a break. Our lives don't require the physical hardships that were required then, doesn't mean we don't have people who have the strength and resilience to do so. And how this makes up for moral failings is beyond me.

People then did what they did. You want to glorify their achievements, then it makes just as much sense to denigrate their failings. So maybe just don't make such a fuss either way, but I doubt you're willing to give up the glorification. And if the moral failings are still resonating today, such as with FN's then yes, it does make sense to examine them.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 9:33 am
 


andyt wrote:
Exactly - a few explorers.


From a population of . . . hundreds?

andyt wrote:
We have people still doing feats of derring do today. The population doesn't, and didn't do the feats you describe they either.


Some apparently did, or we wouldn't have recorded it.

andyt wrote:
People on foot weren't carrying furs in significant amounts, give me a break. Our lives don't require the physical hardships that were required then, doesn't mean we don't have people who have the strength and resilience to do so. And how this makes up for moral failings is beyond me.


Umm, yes. Did the skidoo just suddenly appear in the 1700's? How good is a horse in the deep snow? How good is a canoe on frozen rapids? But snowshoes are easily constructed from things found in the forest. :idea:

There are still trappers that walk trap lines as a means of income today. Of course we don't have the physical limits they did back then, but the majority of Canadians also choose comfort over adversity.

andyt wrote:
People then did what they did.


And we do what we do. But judging them for doing what they did is pointless. Neither we nor they are better for it.

andyt wrote:
You want to glorify their achievements, then it makes just as much sense to denigrate their failings.


Only if you assume the equations must balance.

andyt wrote:
So maybe just don't make such a fuss either way, but I doubt you're willing to give up the glorification. And if the moral failings are still resonating today, such as with FN's then yes, it does make sense to examine them.


Not sure what this even means. [huh]


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