Monday, September 28, 2009

stephen harper: one child left behind?

we here at pamphleteers are pretty serious about edumacation. this is one of the major reasons that we were pretty upset by stephen harper's statement that "canada has no history of colonialism."

it's not just because it's crazy racist or that it's a lie. it's upsetting because colonialism is part of our education system in canada. it may not be the most in depth or progressive of educations, but in school we learned that canada was a colony and that canada is a colonial state. that's just the truth.

so we've decided to take this serious educational matter into our own hands. we think that stephen harper should go back to high school and learn or re-learn the history of canada.

we've drafted a letter to the principal of the high school that stephen harper graduated from, as well as the superintendent and trustee of its school board on stephen harper's behalf:

"Principal Zimny, Superintendent Winter, Trustee Campbell:

We were concerned to learn that at the most recent G20 Summit Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared that "Canada has no history of colonialism."

As we are sure you can tell, embedded in this statement are a few historical inaccuracies:

  • Canada was a "colony" of England and France. The history of Canada is actually undeniably "colonial." John Cabot explored what is now called Canada in the late 15th century and Jacques Cartier arrived for France in the early 16th century. The first permanent settlements were established in in the name of both France and England in the 1600's.
  • Generally speaking, there was a great deal of conflict between the different "colonists" of Canada: King William's War, Queen Anne's War, The Seven Years War, The War of 1812. These are described as "Intercolonial Wars" because they involved fighting between the Colonial powers, all trying to take control of territory in order to spread their colonies. This is otherwise known as "colonialism".
  • The original inhabitants of the country we now call Canada were the "colonized" population, since their land and resources were annexed by the incoming "colonists"
  • Due to the many injustices perpetuated by the "colonists" against the "colonized", systemic economic, political, and social inequity now exists in Canada which the Government of Canada has recognized.

We noticed that your website lists many of the courses that are available to your students including: "World History to the Sixteenth Century", "World History: The West and the World", as well as "Canadian History Since World War I." We wonder, what, given the mandate set by the history classes offered at this school, is the reaction to Stephen Harper's suggestion that Canada has no history of colonialism?

Harper's statement cannot be described as one of many possible historical interpretations, nor can it even be written off as a misinterpretation of Canadian history. Instead, it belies an ignorance of incontrovertible historical facts that should be the foundation of even the most introductory knowledge of Canadian history.

This leads us to believe either that Mr. Harper has simply forgotten the historical facts your courses presumably teach, or that a grave error has occurred and he did not, in fact, complete the History courses required to receive his High School diploma. In either case, Mr. Harper should be invited to take these courses, either for the first time or as a refresher of knowledge he has obviously forgotten.

As Member of Parliament Olivia Chow has written: "The Canadian Government worked very hard to make reparations with the First Nations Community with the Truth & Reconciliation Commission, and to hear Mr. Harper’s remarks on the world stage destroys this work."

As an elected official who is responsible for representing and speaking for Canada on the world stage, we are sure that Stephen Harper would welcome the opportunity to learn more about the history of his country.

We eagerly await your invitation and look forward to witnessing the process of self discovery that education offers.


eff and tee
the pamphleteers "

we're serious. stephen harper is not reaping the benefits of this country's educational system and the effects of this are detrimental not only to the country and its image but to stephen harper himself!

send stephen back to high school!!!


Elle said...

I remember learning about colonialism in grade 7 maybe Stephen Harper isn't actually ready for high school.

XM301 said...

I find it most suiting that Harper attended a high school called Richview Collegiate Institute.

Not only are Harper's comments, indeed, "rich," but the name Richview certainly speaks to his culturally and financially advantaged perspectives on virtually every social and taxation policy he has spewed out.

Regardless if his comments were the result of a failure of his schooling or a failure of himself, for Harper the problem appears to be that he took the name of his school as the literal lense through which he completed his studies.

tee said...

Interesting fact, XM301:

Most Canadians(especially Albertans) think that Stephen Harper was born and raised in Calgary.

He wasn't. Stephen Harper was raised in Etobicoke(read, TORONTO) and didn't move to Calgary until he dropped out of the University of Toronto.

So all of this Stephen Harper is Alberta shit, it's a lie. Dude's a rich kid from the GTA.

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