Wednesday, May 25, 2005

What to read to know Canadians

James Munroe of Counterpoint answered Pete Bevin's entry Write Only Media: What is First Nations, Meti and Inuit?, and I thought it was so comprehensive that I decided to quote it here in its entirety:

"If you really want to understand (recent) Canadian political history, the four Prime Ministers you should Wikipedia (IMHO) are: Pierre Elliott Trudeau, John Diefenbaker ("Dief"), Lester B. Pearson, and Brian Mulroney ("Muldoon"). It's important to know why their terms of office were particularly important.

Other important political figures are Tommy Douglas ("the father of Medicare"), Réne Lévesque, David and Stephen Lewis, and Ed Broadbent.

Culturally speaking (to scratch the surface): you don't get much more Canadian than Farley Mowat and Stephen Leacock, unless you're talking about the Group of Seven.

Historically speaking, you'll already know the importance of learning about the Confederation of Canada, but you should also read up on the Battle of the Plains of Abraham between the English and French forces, led by Gen. James Wolfe andGeneral Louis-Joseph de Montcalm-Gozon, Marquis of Montcalm,respectively; the First Nations and linked articles; Jacques Cartier; Samuel Champlain; and the War of 1812.
The roles of Canada in the First and Second World Wars are alsoimportant (sorry, the links are too numerous - but it's worthresearching nonetheless). Read up also on the failed Meech Lake andCharlottetown accords (linked to from the Mulroney article) and the Canadian referenda, in particular the provincial ones.

For a bit of the underbelly of Canadian history, read up on the internment of Japanese Canadian citizens during World War II, and the execution of Louis Riel (the "father of Manitoba").

Watch CBC TV and listen to CBC radio! You'll discover that there aretwo types of Canadians - those who watch and listen to the CBC andthose who don't - and their views on the world are radically different."

There is much, much more (how do you get to know everything about a country?) but this is a damn good start. Thanks, James.

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