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Learn History, Don't Erase It

History is one of the few things that unites us all. Whether you are new to Canada, came here as the country was being stitched together, or have an indigenous history which predates modern times, we need to learn, discuss, debate, and understand the events and people that made us who we are today. Attempts to erase, rewrite, or dismiss the foundational parts of our history are a travesty and history shows is not something which serve us, or future generations, well.

Many of us grew up seeing Heritage Minutes on television. Those 60-second videos showcased different parts of our history. I remember them being used as introductions to lessons in social studies, leading to discussions about our nation's past and how it affects our future.

Recently, Historica Canada, the organization responsible for producing and distributing those Heritage Minutes, has quietly deleted one of their segments about Canada's founding. Specifically, it was one featuring Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first Prime Minister, talking with other political leaders (notably, prominent Liberal politician George Brown) about the prospect of Confederation. The clip concludes with the famous image from the Charlottetown Conference of the Fathers of Confederation.

When the news organization True North reached out to Historica Canada, a taxpayer-funded organization mandated to promote Canadian history and culture, they admitted to quietly deleting the Heritage Minute featuring the story about our founding. They said that when it was released, we hadn’t had the “intense discussions” we have had since about the treatment of indigenous peoples.

Canadian history is complex, and although there are many debates about aspects of it, it is an embarrassment for a government-funded organization to decide part of our history should no longer be discussed and promoted.  They have decided the very founding of our country itself should be somehow diminished. We should be able to have honest conversations about our history and about the decision-makers and figures from our past, not hide from it.

But it is censorship when symbols of Canadian history are deleted, ironically, without debate. This has been a clear agenda of Justin Trudeau, and his cohorts in the Liberal/NDP, to followed up on his pre-2015 election promise that Canada should become a “post-national” state.

We have witnessed this in many ways in recent years, including the diminishment of the Canadian Armed Forces’ role as a beacon of national pride, the removal of statues of the Fathers of Canadian Confederation and with being told that when churches are burned down, it is an “understandable” response to past wrongs.

Deleting history, capitulating to activists with a clear political agenda, and discussions about who we are as a nation today being cancelled is wrong. We should learn history; we should not be afraid to challenge our understanding of it and to use it as a foundation to keep building our country. It is a famous quote of Sir Winston Churchill, in a sentiment also expressed by historical figures like Santayana, Burke, and Voltaire, among others: “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

As Canadians, we can and should be proud of our history.  As Canadians, we should also be able to acknowledge and learn from past wrongs. If we allow those with an agenda to delete it, we risk repeating past mistakes and losing that which so many toiled to build. Historica Canada should restore the deleted Heritage Minute, and Canadians should reject any attempts to delete, diminish, or ignore our history. We owe it to past generations, ourselves, and the future to get this right.

I'd like to hear what you have to think about this. Please feel free to write, email, or message about this. As your Member of Parliament, I value greatly your feedback, I'd like to know what you think about the attempts to diminish parts of our history.

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