According to Eric Hobsbawm's The Invention of Tradition, "traditions are invented, constructed and formally instituted... Invented tradition is taken to mean a set of practices, normally governed by overtly or tacitly accepted rules and of a ritual or symbolic nature, which seek to inculcate certain values and norms of behaviour by repetition, which automatically implies continuity with the past."
So, what does Hobsbawm's writing have to do with this particular picture? Prior to the installation of the barricade around the Moose, teenagers of Moose Jaw participated in the invented tradition of driving their vehicles under the Moose, when they received their driver's license. This misguided ritual was considered an accepted rule and symbolic to the freedom of becoming mobile for the first time in their lives. Such behaviour became a norm, automatically implied a continuity of the past.
Subsequent to the installation of the barricade, this ritual has been broken and teenagers would have to find a new invented tradition.


The last federal election was in the fall of 2008. Voter turnout was extremely disappointing. In particular, there was a lack of young Canadians coming out to vote, perhaps driven by the disillusion of the feeling that their votes would not make a difference. Fast forward to today's federal election campaigns. Political parties have catered their campaigns to all segments of Canadian society, except the young Canadians. Perhaps, this is the right time to voice their concerns, such as high tuitions and lack of job creation initiatives after graduation.

Where are the energy and anger from the Canadian youths? Just imagine, if all young Canadians voice their agendas of "high tuitions and job creation initiatives after graduation", then the politicians will start to pay attention. Furthermore, if all youths take half an hour out of their lives to vote, political campaigns will start to address their concern. After all, the goal of a national culture is to have symbols that unite the people. A horizontal comradeship will cross the geographical boundaries, class boundaries, gender, ethnicity and religious boundaries.

Hopefully, we will see more young Canadians get off their lonely soapboxes and get out there to vote! For the brave ones, hopefully they show up at a political rally and chant "Hey Ho Hey Ho, high tuition must go!"

-- Chuck


In pursuit of that elusive majority government, Stephen Harper decided to go for more of an 'Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars' vibe. He pronounced ominous warnings. He issued dire ultimatums. And always, always, Stephen Harper made reference to the perilous peril of considering any leadership other than his own. Speaking in Brampton, Ont., the Conservative leader said that were his party to be defeated on May 2, the consequences would be swift and severe: “Canada will pay a terrible price.” He made it sound like a threat. Harper’s message was direct—pick Michael Ignatieff as PM and the Liberals would raze the economy, give free candy to murderers and turn the 49th parallel into the 49th perpendicular. With Harper at the helm, we’re a secure, stable, prosperous country that’s the envy of the world. But dare to take him out of the picture—dare to replace this one essential man—and we are doomed to instantly succumb to economic collapse, rampant street crime and nationwide lactose intolerance. I mean, sure, we’re a great country and everything—but not so great that replacing Stephen Harper won’t leave us a charred husk of a nation. Apparently we’re that fragile. (source: http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/04/04/vote-for-anyone-else-at-your-peril-canada/)

Canadian politics are funny to watch. It does not matter which political party reach the helm. Political campaigne promises are as solid as... a banana peel after an hour in direct sunlight. We are living in an age of "brokerage politics". I am surprised that I have not seen that term mentioned, yet. Why is that? Is someone trying to sugar coat the truth? A cynical view is that it does not matter who is elected, promises will be broken and political agendas will be dictated by opinion polls. So, here we are, in amidst another expensive election. All political leaders are promising the moon and the sun, knowing that he will figure out how to spin the broken "banana peel" after he is sitting in the comfy prime minister's chair.

If we continue to engage is this kind of expensive exercise of democracy every two or three years, Election Canada should start hiring university students and help them pay off their student loans.

-- Chuck


Crisis In Libya!!!

As we know Canada, as a member of a UN backed coalition is currently at war with Libya, specifically the countries leader Muammar Gadafi. This Military involvement comes after more than a month of civil war in Libya, resulting in the deaths of over 1,000 civilians with that number still growing. The members of this coalition involve Canada and the US from North America, Most of the European Union, The Arab League as well as some African Nations. It is easy to see why the UN coalition would intervene in this matter to protect the Civilians of Libya. But why did Canada feel it was necessary to join this coaltion? Its no secret that our nation is among the weakest of world powers when it comes to military strength. So why send 6 outdated fighter Jets and the HMCS Charlottetown to the area with another 6 ready to go on the Italian coast a mere 400 kms away? The states in their 'supporting' role are equipped with 5 warships in the mediterranean 2 of which are able of firing surface to air or ground missiles (USS Barry,USS Stout). Not to mention their 90 fighter jets in the area, all of which are more powerful than CF-18's.Thats playing the supporting role. So where does that leave Canada, in the supporting, supporting role? No as defence minister MacKay has said Canada's role is is simply stating for now and the future whose side we are on, the way I see it is: whoever's side the Americans are on.
Why Libya
Yes, why Libya. I am aware that Moammar Gadafi has been attacking his unarmed civilians and he should be put to a stop. But why did Canada and the rest of the coalition jump in so willingly to help Libya.
For Canada, specifically Stephen Harper, he needed to show strong resolution either way he went.
He was looking to avoid the harsh criticism that Canada received for its inability to make a decision
to either act on not act in Iraq, which caused many Canadian deaths
in a "peace keeping effort" in a completely war torn country. But as for the real powers of the world what excuse do they have for not acting in Bahrian or Yemen who are literally going through the same transitions. As an ex US official put it, "we pick our fights on where resources are where it most affects us". Bahrain however is an ally of the US which hosts america's fifth fleet in its capital Manama. Civil inrest has been growing there along with the surrounding unrest. And now the Saudi King has sent troops into Bahrain to help put an end to any revolution, the opposite as to what the coalition is doing in Libya. As for Yemen they are also an ally to the American's in their war against Al-Quadea. Presdient Abdullah Saleh has been in power for 33years and now faces thousands of uprising rebels. Moammar Gadafi has been in power since heSeptember 1, 1969 after usurping power and has been in control for 42 years.
Division Between the East and West
This situation makes me increasingly worried while it carries on. I am so worried
because,depending on how mission Odyssey Dawn is carried out, we may see the beggings of a true split between the east and west. In Particular the super duper powers of Russia and China. Both countries have said that they disagree with what the coalition is doing in Libya. Russia's leader, Vladimir Puttin called the use of force "a medieval call to Crusade" . This coming from a country that has never attacked its own civilians in the past COUGH Georgia COUGH. Another concern which I think is important is the intervention of China which is mentioned in the video bellow. China, an authoritarian state, usuallyconcerns itself with itself and has from the start of the operation criticized it.They have shown their distaste for
Humanitarian aid when. China used its veto power frequently to block and dilute
SecurityCouncil measures targeting countries like Zimbabwe,Myanmar and Sudan for
human rights violations in the past. Everything depends on how things shape up in Libya.
Will their be criticism of the coalition from the east for being too aggressive on a nation
that is centuries behind in technology and really has no business going to war with anyone.
Or will the criticism come from the west for a lack of intervention on the easts part who have had
no trouble flexing their military might tothe coalition, while sitting back and waiting for things to unfold.

I disagree in many respects with the interpretation of events given above. Canada is a middle power and within recent decades our military strength has suffered. Yes we are playing a supporting role and while our equipment may not be of much use stepping forward sends a message and assisted in prompting the United nations to reach and issue their own decision with more speed. It is important to demonstrate which side of the fence our country lies on. While we may be criticized for the size of our contribution this is softer criticism than what Canada would recieve in doing nothing. I am unaware of harsh criticism directed towards Canada over the Iraq war. A decision not to follow in the footsteps of our American neighbours was reached in a timely manner and generally applauded as showing that we do not always fall as claimed to the same "side the Americans are on." This decision was an important factor in proclaiming our sovergnitity and did much to damage theories that Canada rather than being a middle power is a satellite of the USA. In regards to Libya much public opinion rests on how Stephen Harper reacts and a swift reaction to the crisis in Lybia was necessary for Harper's public image. Yes, Many other countries in the area are also experiencing degrees of civil unrest but two things make Libya significant. The lack of inspired leadership of rebel forces means they are having a tough go of it. Yemen for example is displaying a much greater degree of orginization and is hoped to succeed without any western interference. This first fact leads to intense media coverage of Libya. Another factor in the media coverage of Libya is accessability. Many countries such as Algeria are virtually inacessible to foriegn media. Effecting how us, the populace, views events. We experience a lack of awareness in regards to many other countries causing us to care very much about how our government reacts to the Libyan crisis.

Are Harper's policies as sound as his talents?

Harper sang "I need to be loved." Could it be "I need to be loved on the next election!"

external image Trudeaumania+front.jpgexternal image trudeaumania.gifexternal image Trudeaumania.jpg
The phenomena of Trudeamania appealed to the younger generation of the 1960s. Given the trend of political campaign in which the media focus was on the party leader, Trudeau became as popular as a rock star, with young crowds literally chasing him on the streets. Who would have imagined that being a politician was like being a rock star! After all, who wouldn't want to be a rock star? Aside from his appealing personality, Trudeau demonstrated smarts and coolness, as well as his commitment to keep Canada united. During the FLQ Crisis, when the Canadian Army was ordered to protect national interests, a CBC reporter pestered Trudeau for eight long minutes in front of the Parliament Building. From which, the famous phrase "just watch me" marked Trudeau's firm stance against the threat of terrorism. Perhaps, Trudeaumania had more than the rock star appeal. The phenomena could represented different things to different people - intelligent, diplomatic, sexy, calmness of mind, articulate and masculine. Trudeau, as a Prime Minister, possessed all those qualities while being a "rock star." In contrast, a rock star could never be a prime minister.

-- Chuck

external image ban_lg-e.jpg
February 15 was declared National Flag of Canada Day in 1996. It marks the day in 1965 when our red and white maple leaf flag was first raised over Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and indeed, hundreds of communities across Canada. Red and white were designated as Canada's official colours in 1921 by His Majesty King George V. This is a perfect opportunity to celebrate our flag and what it stands for: a Dominion that is the envy of the world. (Source: http://www.pch.gc.ca/special/jdn-nfd/index-eng.cfm)
Visit virtual museum at http://www.pch.gc.ca/special/jdn-nfd/feature-featurette-eng.cfm

external image CanadaFlag.gif

The Birth of the National Flag of Canada:
At the time of Confederation, Canada's national flag remained the Royal Union Flag or the Union Jack. However, Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first Prime Minister, flew the Canadian Red Ensign as a distinctive flag of Canada. Following the Second World War, in 1945, an Order in Council authorized the flying of the Canadian Red Ensign from federal government buildings, in Canada and abroad. In 1964, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson made the creation of a new Canadian flag a priority... On October 29, 1964, the [Special Committee on a Canadian Flag] recommended to the House of Commons that the single-leaf, red and white design be adopted. Debate in Parliament continued, however, and it was only at the early hour of 2:15 a.m. on December 15, 1964, that the motion to adopt the National Flag of Canada was carried by a vote of 163 to 78. Approval by the Senate came on December 17, 1964, and on January 28, 1965, the National Flag of Canada was proclaimed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, to take effect on February 15, 1965. The inspiration for a [maple leaf on a red and white ground] bore a strong sense of Canadian history: the [red and white] combination had been used as early as 1899 on the General Service Medal issued by Queen Victoria.
(Source: http://www.pch.gc.ca/special/jdn-nfd/hist/nssnc-brth-eng.cfm)

-- Chuck

The moose. This particular moose was used as a rite of passage for many a teenager but what is so special about this animal. It may not be the official Canadian animal but every Canadian recognizes it. I think every province has a moose statue somewhere along the line. They reside all through Canada and in many areas are a welcome food source. If you're brave enough to take one on that is! Everyone recognizes these signs

Moose are not a thing to be trifled if there were to be a head on collision between your car and a moose it's a well known and accepted fact that the moose will be the winner. With antlers that can span up to 5 feet and females on the small end weighing in at 800lbs they are an animal that demands respect. It's a symbol and one that we all know and do respect. We choose the Moose to name bars after (The Toothy Moose here in Halifax, N.S.), towns (Moose Jaw, S.K.) and many a hockey team, the Halifax Mooseheads, the Manitoba Moose and even the Toronto junior Canadian Moose. We've hunted them for centuries, and we fear their wrath especially during breeding season but most of all we acknowledge them as a Canadian icon. If they were to be gone from our landscape we would all feel as if something was missing. After all who doesn't love some good old;


Hmmmm.. I always wondered who was on our money. and while I agree the queens list of great accomplishments for Canada is lacking compared to her monetary neighbors. I think she remains an important icon, a reminder of our past and history. A much more recognizable one for many than Wilfred Laurier for example. -Jessica

Pierre Trudeau For the 20!!!

When studying Canadian History one is always able to draw a definitive line between the two Cultures which founded, developed, and inhabited Canada: The French and The English. As we know Canada is now and has always been part of the Commonwealth of Britain and the most powerful person in the country is the Queen's representative in Canada AKA The Governor General who is second in power, of Canada, only to the Queen herself. But also true is the story of Samuel de Champlain and his men exploring Quebec while making alliances and friendships with the natives while eventually founding and building Quebec City.This line has been clear since Canada west became Ontario and Canada east became Quebec on Confederation day. But one thing struck me the other day when I was looking at some money.The Queen. Now I'm not a Queen hater but it occurred to me that I dont really know anything about the Queen. What has the Queen done for me; moreover what has the Queen done for Canada that she is so deserving to be on, what i would call, our most circulated bill. The only real thing I can think of is the last amendment to the Canadian constitution in 1982 put forth by Prime Minister Trudeau. Queen Elizabeth will be celebrating her 59th year as Queen on February 6th, she has made a total of 24 visits (not including refuelling visits) to Canada. Thats also the most out of any other Common Wealth nation she has visited in her short reign. So i did a bit of wikipedia-ing and will do a little comparisson of Canadian paper bills and I will let you decide who is out of place.

Canadian Money(Looney?)

  • $5- Sir Wilfred Laurier- 7th prime minister of Canada, 1st francophone Prime Minister of Canada,holds the longest one-time tenure of any pm 15 years 1896-1911,led country through time of growth and industrialization.
  • $10-Sir John a Macdonald-1st prime minister of Canada, responsible for the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway linking Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific, responsible in part for Canada's confederacy, was knighted on the day of Confederacy July 1st 1867,National Policy, Bought the Northwest territories from the Hudson's bay co. for $300,000. Nuff Said
  • $20-Queen Elizabeth II- Queen of Canada since Feb 6, 1952, Has visited 24 times including once in 1982 to amend the Canadian Constitution with the Constitution act.
  • $50- William Lyon Mackenzie King- 10th Prime Minister of Canada, Longest serving Prime Minister in British Common Wealth history with 21 years,King was ranked #1, or greatest Canadian Prime Minister, by a survey of Canadian historians. His most famous quote was "A true man does not only stand up for himself, he stands up for those that do not have the ability to".
  • $100-Sir Robert Borden-8th Prime Minister of Canada and 3rd Nova Scotian to hold office,Led canada through WWI where we ripped up,Battles at the Somme, Ypres and especially Vimmy Ridge still held as Canada's greatest military achievements, Was present at the Treaty of Versaille as Canada's representatives along with the leaders of the world superpowers.
As you can plainly see the Queen is a little light on accomplishments for the good of "her" nation in comparison to her associate bill inhabiters.This is where I see Trudeau fit in to the mix. Who else would be good enough in Canadian political history?As you will see his resume is more impressive then most of the Prime Ministers currently stained on our money. The only people I can think of aren't political( eg.Tommy douglas). Again I will compare and let you decide.

Pierre Trudeau

  • 15th Prime minister of Canada,Trudeaumania- Huge increase in popularity due to his image and charisma, Later resonsible for canada joining the G7, Wikis got the rest:

October Crisis
During the October Crisis of 1970, the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) kidnapped British Trade Consul James Cross at his residence on the fifth of October. Five days later, Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte was also kidnapped (and was later murdered, on October 17). Trudeau responded by invoking the War Measures Act, which gave the government sweeping powers of arrest and detention without trial. Although this response is still controversial and was opposed as excessive by figures like Tommy Douglas, it was met with only limited objections from the public.[28] Trudeau presented a determined public stance during the crisis, answering the question of how far he would go to stop the terrorists with "Just watch me". Five of the FLQ terrorists were flown to Cuba in 1970 as part of a deal in exchange for James Cross's life, but all members were eventually arrested. The five flown to Cuba were jailed after they returned to Canada years later.[29]
Quebec referendum
Two very significant events for Canada occurred during Pierre Trudeau's final term in office. The first was the defeat of the referendum on Quebec sovereignty, called by the Parti Québécois government of René Lévesque. In the debates between Trudeau and Lévesque, Canadians were treated to a contest between two highly intelligent, articulate and bilingual politicians who, despite being bitterly opposed, were each committed to the democratic process.[35] Trudeau promised a new constitutional agreement with Quebec should it decide to stay in Canada, and the "No" side (that is, No to sovereignty) ended up receiving around 60% of the vote.

Patriation of the Constitution

external image 220px-Const-proc.pngexternal image magnify-clip.pngThe proclamation of the Constitution Act, 1982
Trudeau had attempted partriation of the Constitution earlier in his career, but always ran into a combined force of provincial Premiers on the issue of an amending formula. After he threatened to go to London alone, a Supreme Court decision led Trudeau to meet with the Premiers one more time. Further, officials in the United Kingdom indicated that the British parliament was under no obligation to fulfill any request for legal changes made by Trudeau, particularly if Canadian convention was not being followed.[36] Trudeau reached an agreement with nine of the Premiers, with the notable exception of Lévesque. Quebec's refusal to agree to the new constitution became a source of continued acrimony between the federal and Quebec governments. Even so, the patriation was achieved; the Constitution Act, 1982 was proclaimed by Queen Elizabeth on April 17, 1982. Following this, Trudeau commented in his memoirs "I always said it was thanks to three women that we were eventually able to reform our Constitution. The Queen, who was favourable, Margaret Thatcher, who undertook to do everything that our Parliament asked of her, and Jean Wadds, who represented the interests of Canada so well in London... The Queen favoured my attempt to reform the Constitution. I was always impressed not only by the grace she displayed in public at all times, but by the wisdom she showed in private conversation."[33]

It is very easy to see that Pierre Trudeau helped shape the identity of modern Canadians. Although there is still a line between our histories of French and English, Trudeau helped to blurr that line. Due to his views on Bi-lingualism and his acts in the Quebec referendum we may still call our Canadain identity two cultures weaved into one. I think Pierre was trying to get across that although we are based on two distinct cultures we have all grown together as a country and shaped eachother through that growth into our own individual identity. Removing the Queen from the 20 and replacing her with Pierre Trudeau would only help us further along our "individual" identity. If you go to a school in Ontario you learn French as a second language and vice versa if you live in Quebec. We've got French and English on all of our labels, who else has that? And as for the Queen; she's already on all of our coins and on every paper bill of the Pound Sterling, make room for some other guys!


A political cartoon indicating the desire of Quebec's sovereigntists and the dismay of the other provinces at the thought of them separating. Taken from Google Images, February 2, 2011
A political cartoon indicating the desire of Quebec's sovereigntists and the dismay of the other provinces at the thought of them separating. Taken from Google Images, February 2, 2011

Here I am. Sitting at my computer ready to share all of my thoughts about a beautiful province in my country, which I love, and the only things I can come up with is the Quebec sovereignty movement, which began in the 1960's with the Quiet Revolution, and poutine. Really? All I can think of when I think about Quebec is the fact that half of Quebec wanted to separate from Canada and french fries? Sadly this is true and I believe this is because for a very long time, the Quebec sovereignty movement was (and possibly still is) the only thing people talked about in regards to Quebec (and as for the poutine, well, poutine is just delicious!) So in effort to balance out the conversations regarding Quebec I will contribute some interesting facts that talk about Quebec's inclusiveness in Canada.

Quebec's Coat of Arms

external image quebec.gifThis is Quebec's original coat of arms. It was granted by Queen Victoria in 1863. The top row represents Quebec's French heritage with the feur-de-lis.The middle represents the British Crown and the bottom row represents Canada. Interestingly, in 1939, the gouvernement du Québec released a new coat of arms that they felt better represented Quebec's heraldry and history. (Quebec Portal. National Flag and emblems. http://www.gouv.qc.ca/portail/quebec/pgs/commun/portrait/drapeau/?lang=en (accessed 02 February 2011))

external image 200px-Coat_of_arms_of_Qu%C3%A9bec.svg.pngThis is Quebec's present coat of arms that was created by the gouvernement du Québec 1939. As you can see the main body of the coat of arms has remained the same but two symbols were added. The crown on the top of the shield represents the Royal Crown and the banner on the bottom of the coat of arms reads Je Me Souviens which means "I remember". The addition of the banner is thought to have been placed there so Quebers could always be reminded of their unique (non-British) culture and of a time when they were under French rule. What is interesting about this is that the gouvernement du Québec also actively sought to include the Royal Crown on their coat of arms to better represent their history. The uniting of both of these new powerful symbols on their coat of arms seems to suggest that they accepted British rule and embraced it with their French heritage. They were proclaiming that they were French Canadians.(Quebec Portal. National Flag and emblems. http://www.gouv.qc.ca/portail/quebec/pgs/commun/portrait/drapeau/?lang=en (accessed 02 February 2011)) By: Ashley E.

Naming Canada

(You Tube. Jacques Cartier Historica Minute. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAOCH189oc (accessed 02 February 2011))

While keeping in mind that this version of the first time Jacques Cartier met the Irooquians in 1534 is highly romantized (please refer to the section on heritage vs.history for further explanation of the inaccuraties heritiage often relays), it does elude to the origin of our country's name. Cartier asked what the name of their land was called and the Iroquoian chief, Donnaconn, famously responded "Kanata". Ever since, the lands around the Saint Lawrence River and the northern shores of the Great Lakes have been referred to as Canada and the french settlers who resided there as Canadiens.

During the beginning of British rule in Quebec, the area around the Saint Lawrence River and the northern shores of the Great Lakes was divided into Upper and Lower Canada. The union of Upper and Lower Canada in 1841 formed the British Province of Canada which, in 1867, turned into Quebec and Ontario when it joined confederation with the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick which collectively was named Canada.

So there you have it. Not only did the very name of our country originate in Quebec but also, the early french settlers were the first Europeans to be coined Canadeins.
(Name of Canada. Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ (accessed 02 February 2011) By: Ashley E.

Topic: Canadian literature

In approaching Canadian literature I realized I had a problem, I could only name three Canadian authors and thanks to class two more; Atwood, Findley, Montgomery, Frye and Watt. All great authors after all who can argue with "Anne of Green Gables", but that wasn't enough so what does any good student do but head to Wikipedia!?
I made a fantastic discovery! That along with the authors I knew, (personally big Atwood fan read Oryx and Crake it's her best) there were so many Canadian authors that I'd read and loved but hadn't realized were Canadian. And a few that I should have recognized as Canadian but had slipped my mind, so I'd like to make a few reading recommendations.
Let's start with those things that are Canadian and I should have recognized. I'm not a big poetry fan but these two are distinctly Canadian and one world reknowned;
John McCrae wrote "In Flanders' Fields" and Robert Service wrote "The Cremation of Sam McGee" how can I have forgotten? These works are some of my earliest remembered introduction to poetry both of them touching and memorable. Another worthwhile mention in Canadian poetry is Margret Avison, I first read her book "Concrete and Wild Carrot" which won the Griffin Poetry award; she has also won the Governer General's Award on more than one occasion for her other poetry collections. I'm sure there are more Canadian poets worth mention but I can't recommend things I haven't read!
For the most part i'm going to recommend novels but there are two Canadians I can't possibly leave out, Leonard Cohen and Stuart McLean. If you've never heard either of these Canadians you are missing out on life. For my generation it might be odd but Cohen is absolutely my favourite musician, his poetry and lyrics are as beautiful as they are haunting and he has earneds international fame. McLean on the other hand weaves tales of hilarity that are distinctively Canadian. Listen to the Vinyl Cafe on the Radio or pick up his book "Stories from the Vinyl Cafe" you can't possibly be disapointed.
I should also mention two other surprises for me, I'd watched "Da Kink in my hair", kinda funny, but I didn't realized it was originally a play debuted at the Toronto film festival. Written by Canadian Trey Anthony and then adapted for TV. Bob Dolman was also a surprise for me. Who hasn't heard of SCTV? but somehow I'd managed to miss that Dolman was a Canadian writing screenplays. Dolman also wrote "How to Eat Fried Worms" a movie I watched as a kid and my nieces still watch now.
Another favourite of mine as a kid was "The Nine Days Queen". Written by Karleen Bradford who won the Canadian Library Association Young Adult book award for her book "There will be Wolves". A Canadian writer of children's literature that you absolutely should not miss. Farley Mowatt is another must read for young adults; I'll never forget reading "The Dog Who Wouldn't Be" or "Never cry wolf" as a child.
Alright I have five more recommendations of Canadian writers that you really should read. Most importantly read "Life of Pi" by Yann Martel. It's a trip, I don't really have the words to sum it up other than fantastic. It won the Man Booker prize and is well worth your time. His recommended reading list for Stephen Harper is great too. Martel sent Harper a book every two weeks with an accompanying note and in 2009 a book length account of his efforts and the responses he recieved was published.
I'm a personal fan of fantasy/sci-fi novels myself and we have a couple great claims to fame written in Canada. "Neuromancer" a sci-fi novel written by William Gibson has earned a place among the best sci-fi novels ever written. He's one of those guys that if you've never read a sci-fi novel and a friend is lending you one he may very likely be their choice. For those who are well versed in Sci-fi and fantasy novels it's a shame if you haven't yet picked up one of the books written by either Steven Erikson or Ian C. Esselmont two best buddies (both archeologists) playing D&D in their basement who realized they really ought to make their world available to the rest of us and I thank them for that. An epic fantasy series that has been much more successful than either author ever expected. I recommend their books first because they are truly favourties of mine but another series that's been around a little longer and has seen higher circulation overseas is the "Forgotten Realms" series written by Ed Greenwood. It's another one that started with D&D and is dear to many a nerd heart.
Last but certainly not least is "The Hardy Boys". We all know who they are, written by Franklin. W. Dixon which is a pseudonym. There are too many Hardy Boys novels for them to have possibly been written by one person. The first Hardy Boys writer was Leslie McFarlan a Canadian whose early books helped fuel what is one of the most read series ever. It's been translated into 25 different languages and has seen no less than five television spin-offs.
There is alot of Canadian literary talent out there, much more than I originally gave our country credit for. I hope that I've shown this to you too and that you'll take some of my advice and pick up at least one of these great Canadian books that you haven't yet read.

Topic: Nationalism and Culture

Nation is defined as an imagined political community. Community is defined as a group of people with common interests living in a particular area, common characteristics living together within a larger society, and common history or common social, economic, and political interests.

Culture is a system of shared meanings, as well as a system for signaling and reproducing those shared meanings.

canada-beaver.gifexternal image rcmpfoot.gifexternal image canada_fall_colour_gatineau_park.jpgexternal image canada_flag_copy2.jpg&t=1
Imagined communities denote that the nation is culturally produced because the goal of a national culture is to have imagined symbols that unite the people, such as the Canadian Beaver, the RCMP, the maple leaf and the Canadian flag. Imagined communities is also limited because there are boundaries; boundaries are what caused nations to go to war. Imagined communities are also sovereign and they are communities.

martin-luther[1].jpgThe origins of national consciousness can be traced back to Martin Luther who wrote the Ninety-Five Theses, in 1517, during the Prostestant Reformation. The idea of the church governing the people was questioned. Luther started the idea of separating church from state in the Theses. The printing revolution facilitated the spread ideas, including Luther's writings. Luther's text was written in vernacular that everyone could understand the idea. Thus, people began to challenge the church. As such, Luther used propaganda to promote national consciousness. The outcome was a 30 year revolution between the Protestant and Catholic over territorial issues and rivalry.

Peace_of_Westphalia[1].jpgThe Peace of Westphalia was signed in 1648, which ended the 30 year war. The medieval system collapsed and a new world order of nation state emerged. The interest of the state took place over the interest of the church. Nationalism took the place of religion. There was a global expansion of sovereignty.

external image Early-Bloggers-232x300.pngThe cultural roots of nationalism related to the technological change, Enlightenment and the rise of the middle class. The printing revolution facilitated widespread literacy and dissemination of ideas, which led to the imagined communities. In the Age of Enlightenment, the idea of democracy began, in which people did not need someone else to govern them, as people were encouraged to think for themselves and then participate in politics in the public sphere. The rise of middle class and mercantile class precipitated the erosion of religion because people made money aside form the aristocracy.

As Canadian citizens, we ritualize the celebration of our cultural roots of nationalism. Every year, during the Canada Day week, patriotic Canadian citizens proudly display symbols of nationalism by erecting Canadian flags on our vehicles and properties. From local and regional events to national events, Canadians across four time zones, from the east coast to the west coast and the far north, celebrate the same national event at the same time.

-- Chuck

Sky Gilbert, "Why Cathy Lee Gifford is just like the United States of America," from Digressions of a Naked Party Girl (ECW Press, 1998)

She's mean
She's greedy
She's very very pretty
And of course she's a lying hypocrite
And of course she's on TV every morning
Well someone who just can't stop drawing attention to how pretty they are I
mean Cathy Lee everytime she moves her legs or bats an eye or touches her
hair she reminds you, in that subtle way she has of how beautiful she is and
yes okay so she IS beautiful but more than that each gesture says I'm
beautiful, so beautiful, and that I'm barely, just barely conscious of it,
and on top of that I'm intelligent (questionable) and vicious. I can be
vicious. If I have to, I can defend myself against anything and I'll still
be beautiful, oooh I'm just stamping my little high heels right now and
removing a stray lock of hair with my long long dangerous fingernails yes I
can stand up for what I believe and be glamorous too
And I believe in America (which means myself) Cathy Lee Gifford
And I believe in fidelity and marriage and love (and all the other lies)
And even when you find my husband’s fat hairy wrinkly old dick up some
forty-five year old Exercise Queen in a hotel I can pull my life back
together and lie
Like drag queens and the United States of America I can lie
I can exploit Latina women in sweat shops and then I can appear with
President Clinton and I can lie
And you will love me, Cathy Lee Gifford
You will
But most of all, you will watch me on TV
Because that's the way mornings are;
Inescapable, the beginning of all that treachery and drudgery and then
there's me, being more beautiful than you'll ever be
Look at me
I'm Cathy Lee
I'm some kind of an achievement

newframe.gifSky Gilbert is a novalist, poet, filmmaker, director, actor, and drag queen extraordinaire. He is one of Canada's most controversial artistic forces. Mr. Gilbert wrote and directed his own hit plays. As a director of other's work, Mr. Gilbert's list of credits is also extensive. Sky Gilbert started making films in 1990 and has written/directed/produced three films which have played at film festivals around the world. Sky has published 5 novels. His collection of poems in Digressions of a Naked Party Girl was published in October 1998. In 2005, Sky received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. In 2006 Dr. Gilbert was honoured to be named University Research Chair in Creative Writing and Theatre Studies at Guelph. (Source: http://home.istar.ca/~anita/index2.htm)
More on Dr. Gilbert's biography: http://www.uoguelph.ca/sets/sets-sky-gilbert

Review: "Why Cathy Lee Gifford is just like the United States of America," from Digressions of a Naked Party Girl.
This book offers poems that are personal, political, angry, and wickedly funny. From Spanish drag queens, movie stars, and one-night stands..., the images of these scarlet confessions turn the reader into an instant therapist, confidante, and voyeur. Eclectic, topical, and always more than a cultural barometer, [this poem] range stylistically from intense, break-neck story-telling to pure surrealist rant. (Source: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/search/?keywords=Digressions%20of%20a%20Naked%20Party%20Girl&pageSize=12)

Upon watching the video, reading the poem and reading the review of the poem, a reflection can be gleam from the reality and hypocrisy of America. Just like the beautiful Kathie Lee Gifford, America's superpower status has projected a "cream of the crop" image and status. While Gifford's beauty gives her the license to lie and be vicious, America's superpower status has enabled it to fabricate Iraq's WMD (weapons of mass destruction) and subsequently led a coalition of friendly states to invade Iraq, without a UN resolution. On one hand, American politicians have preached human rights and equality. On the other hand, American corporations have been exploiting cheap labour in the developing world. Similar to a diary product, "cream" of the crop can become sour.

-- Chuck


hector.jpgexternal image 28.tartan.jpgThe Ship Hector Tartan was designed by Janice Gammon of Lyons Brook and registered in Scotland on June 15, 1999 with the Scottish Tartans Society. The purpose of creating this tartan was to commemorate the first Scottish settlers to arrive in Nova Scotia. They landed on the Pictou shore in 1773 after many hard weeks at sea, thereby giving Pictou it's title of "The Birthplace of New Scotland". Each of the colors in the Ship Hector Tartan has a significance: white- for the whitecaps and rough seas the Ship Hector endured; royal blue- for the settlers' loyalty to their homeland of Scotland; green- for the evergreen trees that grew to the waters edge when the Hector arrived; black- for the lives lost on the journey, and gold- for the rising golden sun of a new day in a new land. (Source: http://www.townofpictou.ca/more_ship_hector.html)
Student Comment: The registration date of the Ship Hector Tartan is notable because this tartan was created over two hundred years after Ship Hector landed on the Pictou shore. Tartanism is where ethnic forms were used to entertain and market tourism. The Scottish traditions of kilts and clans were used to generate revenue from tourism. The focus on Scottish traditions had been a relatively recent trend because in the 1930s, for example, there was almost no Scottish identity and symbols, such as the tartan; around that time, other Canadians did not have a positive perception of the Scottish. As a result of the Depression, Angus Macdonald saw the identification with Scottish tradition could save Nova Scotia. Macdonald developed and branded the Scottish tradition, by associating Scottish with many positive and industrious images. Thus, the bio-tourism began and continued to exist today, as demonstrated by Ship Hector and the Hector Heritage Quay. Just like the Nova Scotian Tartan, which was created in 1953, Ship Hector Tartan created the complex network of Scottish culture based on corporate "ethnic" identity and political motivations.


external image union-jack.gif external image 2438988181_3d6949f4f0_o.jpgThe 2008 reenactment of the Loyalist Landing was designed to celebrate 225th anniversay of British subjects migrating to Ontario and Quebec Eastern Townships, after the end of the American Revolution.
Student Comment: These people were labelled as "Loyalists" because they were depicted as British subject expressing loyalty to the King. This term was created for the refugees after the British defeat. In another word, they were refugees branded as Loyalists of the King. Some of them were recent immigrants, thus had not yet established roots in the America colonies. There were incentives to migrate to Canada because free land was offered. Since the Loyalists lacked a clear and defined identity, flags and eduction were used to peddle tradition. While the American formative event was Revolution, Canada's formative event was counter-Revolution; thus, the Loyalist migration demonstrated anti-American and anti-Republican, with a conservative social vision. The usable pasts were capitalised to send messages; for example, Loyalists wanted money from the British government for relocating to Canada. Loyalists were seen as cultured and heroic. As such, tradition was not static and was a product of selection. Thus, tradition is a complex phenominon. In the case of the Loyalists, the tradition was imposed from both above and from the bottom because the British leadership wanted to create a separate cultural and social identity, one that was separate from the Americans. The tradition was imposed from the bottom as well because the "Loyalists" demanded compensation for their loyalty. "Show me the MONEY!!!!!" shouted the Loyalists. (ps. The last sentence is a joke.)

-- Chuck


First Nations People

It is amazing how easily popular media can distort the view of a whole culture. As the producers of the documentary The Reel Injun: On the Trail of the Hollywood Indian point out, by filmmakers creating what they think their audience would enjoy and erasing what they think they would not enjoy, filmmakers are projecting false ideas about a culture to an unknowledgeable audience, in turn, creating stereotypes about that particular culture. For example, Hollywood’s portrayal of First Nations People has given the general public a misconstrued version of their culture. Movies such as Across the Wide Missouri depict First Nations People as “whooping” ruthless warriors who lived in tepees and had princesses. In fact, many of these stereotypes have survived today. A quick internet search will reveal posts from people asking if “Indians still live in tepees”. Of course as, hopefully, most of us know today First Nations People live in typical modern houses but what many people do not know is that not all First Nations People in North America used to live in tepees. For example the Inuit lived in igloos, the Iroquois lived in longhouses and the Algonquian lived in wigwams.

In addition, North American First Nations People did not have the concept of royalty therefore they never had princesses. (Sorry Pocahontas!)
external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTuMT3IURBHAkJZzUfr3x-WFPTS5F9YGu3fAezLPSgIe-Pi3xZl

Europeans projected this idea on to First Nations People. They viewed chiefs as the kings and therefore their offspring as princesses or princes.

Perhaps what is even more interesting is the common belief that First Nations people traditionally made whooping noises using their hand to pat their mouth. Some North American First Nations would yell to intimidate their enemies during war and some First Nations women would make an ululation using their tongue when their husbands went off to war, when they came back from a successful hunt, and when someone had died. In any incidence, there is no evidence suggesting that North American First Nations people made “whooping” noises using their hand to pat their mouth. Furthermore the ululation the women sometimes made sounds more like the stereotypical “whooping” many First Nations men are shown to be making in films. To many First Nations men, this is funny because to them the men sound like women.(Source: The Basic Indian Stereotypes. Blue Corn Comics. http://www.bluecorncomics.com/stbasics.htm. Accessed February 23, 2011.) By: Ashley E.

Heritage VS. History

As David Lowenthal points out heritage is not history, rather it is a celebration of specific moments in the past that is tailor-made for the present. Because of this, heritage often gives misconstrued versions of the past. What might be inaccurate about the heritage below?

The above heritage minute portrays the moment, in 1497, when John Cabot discovers the cod supply of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. Although the clip is only a minute long it reveals a lot of detail that has been fabricated specifically for the production of the video. For example, was John Cabot really sleeping and awakened when his ship came across the cod supply? Did the dialogue between Cabot and his crew go as depicted in the video? Neither of these things probably happened as portrayed because there are no records of such details. Perhaps what is even more deceiving about this heritage minute is the portrayal of the cod fish. The video shows the cod swimming at the top of the water and being pulled up to the boat in a bucket. We know that this did not really happen because cod are bottom dwellers and grow to be an average of 2 meters and 210lbs which means they would not be swimming at the top of the water and they would not be able to fit into a bucket. Many historians agree that the fish that Cabot saw on top of the water were most likely capelin, although the cod fish were certainly present beneath the depths of the sea.

So why would the producers of this video portray inaccurate details?

The answer probably lies with the fact that they only had 1 minute to tell Cabot’s story. Taking time to explain that the fish on top of the water were capelin but beneath them was the cod would not only take up time but it would also take away from the dramatics of the video.

So the next time you are enjoying some of Canada’s rich heritage moments through monuments, videos, or plaques, take a minute to think about what may be inaccurate about the story they are telling you, why the information may be inaccurate, and how the inaccuracy’s work to skew the general public’s thoughts about a specific moment in history. By: Ashley E. (William, Miles. The Age of Sail as Tourism and Heritage. Age of Sail. March 31, 2011), (David Lowenthal, The Heritage Crusade and the Spils of History (1998), introduction and ch. 1, pp.s xiii-30.)

Regionalism and Canadian Nationalism


external image mercator.gif
This commonly used map of the world was created in 1569 by a European man named Gerardus Mercator. Mercator created this map as a navigational tool for sailors and explorers during the time when European empires were searching for new lands in the quest to claim them and expand their empires. Mercator made it so that when a line was drawn between any two points on the map it would give the correct compass bearing for sailing there. However, while the Mercator map represents the correct navigational directions, it misrepresents the sizes and shapes of the continents as well as the distances between them.

This distortion has made many industrialized continents such as North America and Europe look larger than they actually are. Furthermore it has made many underdeveloped continents look much smaller than they are in actuality.

So what’s the problem?

Well, in 1973 as Arno Peters argued, the fact that the predominantly white continents are depicted to be much larger in size while other continents are shown to be much smaller in size seems to reflect a racist attitude. While this theory is highly debatable, what does seem evident is that in a world where “bigger is better” the Mercator depiction of the world has the psychological effect of giving even more power to highly industrialized continents such as North America while taking power away from the already underdeveloped nations such as South America. In order to curtail the psychological effects of giving more power to already powerful nations and diminishing power from already underdeveloped nations, Peters created the Peters map which represents the true size of each continent. This is shown below.

Peters Pr
Peters Map
Peters Map

Earth Mercator Comparison
Earth Mercator Comparison

An intriguing comparison can be seen to the right. Here actual satellite images of North America and South America as well as Europe and Africa have been compared to the Mercator map.

As you can see the widely used Mercator map depicts North America as being much larger than continents that are actually larger than North America such as South America and Africa. It is interesting to ponder what kind of lasting effects the Mercator map may have had in creating Canada’s power. Perhaps if the Peters map had replaced the Mercator map in history the delineation of power amongst the nations would have been much different with Canada having less power and Africa, for example, having more power. By: Ashley E. (Oriana Communications Inc. The Downside Up Earth. http://www.pinnaclefarms.ca/ORIANAsite/DownsideUp/DownsideUp.html. Accessed March 28, 2011)

Canada is a country whose main exports are hockey players and cold fronts. Our main imports are baseball players and acid rain.
-Pierre Trudeau

Heritage Minute: Canadian Residential Schools

As a young girl I attended a Canadian residential school.
These schools faced alot of criticism and sure I missed my family but I did make friends.
and we learned important skills like reading, writing
and sewing. Skills that allowed us to integrate and become valued members of Canadian Society.
While it wasn't perfect and there were mistakes made
10853_226995227651_154777717651_4177678_296023_n.jpg>Now I display my proud heritage as both an Aboriginal and a Canadian.
A satyrical take on the Heritage minute, hoping to show that even things recognized as truly negative and blights on our history can with time be presented in a manner which may be accepted, digested and believed.

This class has caused us to wonder if group accounts of histroy like that in this wiki or wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historiography) create a better view then the traditional narrative or linear approach? Do they allow for more critical and open approaches or do they simply permit additional room for error which can be taken as fact? Currently internet and group mediums for histroy like Wikipedia are quickly becoming the go to source for all of our historical questions. We don't have an answer to the question but believe that it should be considered serious food for thought.