Category Archives: Does History Matter?

Introducing Borealia

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By Keith Grant and Denis McKim It was a packed house in Ottawa this summer for a Canadian Historical Association session entitled, “Who Killed Pre-Confederation Canadian History?” The large turnout and energetic Q & A period seemed to belie the title’s sense of demise: the history of early “Canada” appears to be alive and kicking. Tom Peace and Robert Englebert,… Read more »

Reclaiming the People’s Memory

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This essay originally appeared in the Fall 2015 edition of Canada Watch: The Politics of Evidence.  By Karen Murray Knowing our democratic selves, our democratic possibilities, and most crucially our democratic failings steers us toward greater freedom and justice in Canada and beyond. With these thoughts in mind, I offer a personal reflection on the erosion of the people’s memory… Read more »

Back to Work: Revitalizing Labour and Working-Class History in Canada

A revitalized study of the history of workers, class relations, and capitalism can provide valuable insights for contemporary efforts to address Canada’s increasing economic inequality.

Little Bear’s Cree and Canada’s Uncomfortable History of Refugee Creation

By Benjamin Hoy Refugees create complicated political and social climates. Federal decisions to admit or reject individuals, families, and communities fleeing from hardships intertwine humanitarian concerns, political profiteering, immigration policy, domestic security, and racial perceptions into an often-ugly mess. Refugees force countries to consider their moral obligations to those less fortunate and to examine the possibility of their own complicity… Read more »

On Guard for Canadian Parochialism, Part One

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By Gilberto Fernandes Since coming into power in 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has taken various steps to redefine Canadian citizenship and reassert its “value” under a territorial, militaristic, loyalist, conformist and Anglocentric interpretation. As numerous commentators have noted, these reforms have unfolded within Harper’s broader campaign to (re)define the meaning of being Canadian along conservative ideals and British traditions…. Read more »

Canada’s Complicated History of Refugee Reception

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“Ever since the war, efforts have been made by groups and individuals to get refugees into Canada but we have fought all along to protect ourselves against the admission of such stateless persons without passports, for the reason that coming out of the maelstrom of war, some of them are liable to go on the rocks and when they become… Read more »

Is Pre-Confederation History actually Declining? A Response to Thomas Peace and Robert Englebert

By David Zylberberg In June, Activehistory.ca ran a series of posts focused on the topics discussed at the then upcoming Canadian Historical Association Annual Conference. As usual, Thomas Peace posted an informative analysis of the topics, regions, time periods and languages covered while Robert Englebert discussed possible reasons for the limited number of papers on pre-Confederation topics. Drs. Peace and… Read more »

Remote Silvertown Transforms Again

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By Jim Clifford Industrial Silvertown is not a standard tourist attraction in London, though in recent years thousands of people have peered down on the remaining factories from the Emirates Air Line cable cars as they descend toward Victoria Dock and the ExCel convention centre. It was nonetheless a really important region of heavy industrial development during the late nineteenth century and… Read more »

A Monument to the Past? The Never Forgotten National War Memorial Project

By Jill Campbell-Miller Over this past winter and spring, the controversy around the proposed Never Forgotten National War Memorial Project has become increasingly intense, even reaching the pages of the Guardian. The project, sponsored by the Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation, and specifically, Toronto businessman Tony Trigiani, intends to honour fallen soldiers who served abroad. Positioned overlooking the Atlantic Ocean… Read more »

Why Change Happens?

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Friends of the Earth in the UK and History & Policy organized a conference last Wednesday at King’s College in London to bring together historians and campaigners to discuss what we can learn from the past. The format of the conference was fantastic. In each of the four panels, three historians presented short 15-minute papers and a campaigner or journalist then commented… Read more »