When I began this blog last October, I little idea of what I was getting myself into. The amount of online content out there is simply staggering. No matter what you have to say somebody has probably already said it, faster and more eloquently than you could ever hope. As such, I don’t know if I could tell you exactly how I came to the decision that starting this blog would be a desirable use of anyone’s time.
And yet, and yet… Continue Reading »
Posted in music | Tagged Leonard Cohen, personal, reflection, travel, Un Canadien errant | Leave a Comment »
The Hon. James Moore, talking about… something.
As plans for the Canadian Museum of History continue to ramp up, I find myself wondering exactly whose Canada will be presented behind the glass displays of our new national museum. Our current government has taken a peculiar interest in Canadian history and national narratives – most notably, in the 1812 Bicentennial celebrations, and, now, in their unfolding plans for Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.
If you have been following this blog for a while, you will know that one of my motivations in writing it is my belief that talking about our history is important. The way we perceive the past influences the decisions we make in the present. That old adage rings true, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
There is no doubt that the Harper government’s policies have gotten Canadians talking about the past. Who beforehand had even heard of the War of 1812? The question that lingers in my mind is what histories are we still not talking about, and how do they inform our present actions? Continue Reading »
Posted in aboriginal politics, decolonization, public history | Tagged education, Idle No More, James Moore, Museum of Civilization, museums, residential schools, settler narratives, Stephen Harper, Tecumseh, War of 1812 | 4 Comments »
(For the first in this series on great French Canadian music, click here.)
There is an ongoing trope running through popular Canadian history that ours is a divided nation. According to the myth of the “two solitudes,” French and English Canada, Quebec and the ROC, are doomed to spend eternity in the miserable company of the other, unwilling to speak, unable to get along.
Well that is a load of malarkey. Show a colonist a country with over sixty indigenous languages, and he’ll spend the next four centuries fretting about two European ones. Typical.
It must be said, however, that sometimes our linguistic differences get the best of us. I’m not prepared to say that’s at all unique to Canada, but it does have its downsides, and one of them is the lack of musical exchange between the different languages. This is a loss for listeners, of course, but it is more unfortunate for those musicians – French, English, and otherwise – who lose would-be fans and audiences. Continue Reading »
Posted in French Canada, music, popular culture | Tagged Acadia, Bernard Adamus, bilingualism, Gilles Vigneault, hip hop, indie, language, Malajube, Montreal, Quebec, Radio Radio, two solitudes | 2 Comments »
A pipeline for ants?
As the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel continues to snake its away across British Columbia, it is difficult not to reflect that this is a hard time to be an environmentalist.
When plans were launched to build a pipeline to carry Albertan oil through Nebraska’s sensitive wetlands, it took an unprecedented amount of criticism and activism to convince President Obama to reject the application. While that decision may soon be reversed, it didn’t take long before some bright entrepreneur suggested an alternative option: why not build a pipeline some place where environmental integrity won’t be an obstacle… say, British Columbia!
…oh joy. Continue Reading »
Posted in federal politics, Western Canada | Tagged Alberta, BC, Conservative Party, Enbridge, environment, federalism, Laurentian Consensus, Liberal Party, Northern Gateway, oil, Quebec, resource extraction, Stephen Harper, tar sands | Leave a Comment »
Settlers in solidarity with Idle No More.
Last week I attended a town hall-style panel discussion in Victoria on the future of Idle No More, one that posed the question that’s on everyone’s mind, “Where do we go from here?”
In one of the evening’s poignant moments – there were many – a non-indigenous woman walked up to a microphone to bring attention to something that was upsetting her deeply. A previous speaker had suggested that non-indigenous people would be supportive of the movement just as long as it didn’t personally inconvenience them – a fair statement in itself, only the speaker didn’t use that politically correct appellation, non-indigenous. Continue Reading »
Posted in aboriginal politics, Canadian identity, decolonization | Tagged guilt, Idle No More, language, settler narratives, settler responsibility, solidarity, Victoria | 11 Comments »
You’ve done this and forgotten about it, and it wasn’t a great record – and twenty-five years later you get a letter…
From the liner notes to “Bunkhouse & Forecastle.”
Almost two years ago, a friend and I left drove south from Montreal to a small town snuggled next to the American border. It was the middle of February, and our destination was the township of Hemmingford, QC, a charming but inconspicuous place you’ve probably never heard of. Our aim was to visit Stanley G. Triggs, someone neither of us had met before, and a man whom, had things been only a little different, we’d have probably never heard of either.
Continue Reading »
Posted in music, popular culture, Western Canada | Tagged BC, folk music, forestry, Montreal, Quebec, Saskatoon, Stanley Triggs, Vancouver, West Coast | Leave a Comment »
“God Save the King”: Royal Proclamation of 1763
Think of the great dates in Canadian history and what comes to mind? Probably 1867, or possibly 1982. I’d even allow 1812 (begrudgingly).
What probably doesn’t come to mind is Oct. 7, 1763, the day King George III issued the proclamation that enshrined aboriginal rights in British North America. In doing so, he helped to spark a revolution and layed the foundations for a distinct political and legal tradition in what would become Canada. It’s kind of a big deal. Continue Reading »
Posted in aboriginal politics, colonialism, history, public history | Tagged 1763 Royal Proclamation, British North America, Charter of Rights and Freedoms, constitutional law, Crown, Idle No More, King George III, Magna Carta, settler responsibility, Thirteen Colonies, treaty rights | 1 Comment »