WHO KILLED CANADIAN HISTORY?
As one of Canada’s most prominent historians, Jack Granatstein regularly comments on historical questions and public affairs in the media, including issues such as foreign and defense policies, Canadian-American relations, the military and public service. In his book Who Killed Canadian History?, Granatstein continues his tradition of scholarly discussion on the progressively increasing deterioration of Canadian history. It is because of this dire state, as Granatstein argues, that Canadians have such a fragmented view of themselves, and subsequently national unity remains obscure. What History? Which History?
According to Granatstein, the main culprit behind the deterioration of Canadian history is provincial ministries of education and local school boards. As a result of the inclusive education movement, it has quite often resulted in questioning whose history we should teach – and the choices being made are political, not historical, decided upon by “public-day crusaders against public policy or discrimination” (p. xiii). The lack of historical knowledge is not limited to the elementary and secondary levels – there is, as the author reports “consensus amoung university educators that there is a decline in literacy, hardwork and historical knowledge amoung undergraduate and graduate students” (p. xv.).
In addition, because the Constitution allocated the department education as a provincial jurisdiction, history curriculum has subsequently become “narrow – concentrating on locality and region” (p.13). Consequently, history lessons are provincially focused without reference to the country they are a part of. This alone, according to Granatstein, is an argument for national curriculum standards.
Another key component to the lack of national historical knowledge is the media. Although this may seem like the 21st century scapegoat, Granatstein argues that the media uses history to “search for villainy, if...
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