Clive Doucet: Canadian History is Not Just About Wars and Battlestags: World War II, Canada, Canadian history, Vimy Ridge, Toronto Star
Clive Doucet is a writer and former Ottawa city councillor. His book Notes From Exile was chosen by McClelland and Stewart to be among their top 100 to celebrate their 100th anniversary of Canadian publishing.
Parliament’s http://www.parl.gc.ca/committeebusiness/CommitteeHome.aspx?Cmte=CHPC&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=41&Ses=1 has voted to undertake a “comprehensive review of significant aspects of Canadian history. That history would include, but not be limited to, pre-Confederation, Confederation, suffrage, WWI, with an emphasis on battles such as Vimy Ridge, WWII, including the liberation of Holland, the Battle of Ortona. The Battle of the Atlantic, the Korean conflict, peacekeeping missions, constitutional development, the Afghanistan conflict, early 20th century Canada, post-war Canada and the late 20th century.”
I am Canadian. My father fought in the RCAF in the Second World War; my father-in-law, an infantryman, was awarded the Military Cross. In the earlier war, my wife’s grandfather was one of the original Canadian members of the Royal Flying Corps. Both my father-in-law and his father-in-law were shot and lived with the physical and emotional scars of that experience for the rest of their lives. Their history — Canada’s history — lives on through their, and my, extended families.
But had you suggested to them that wars were the defining events of Canadian history, they would have been nonplussed. They fought so that they and others would be free from tyranny — and so that no one else, ever again, would have to fight a war. And when they came home they repatriated their courage, their principles and their ideals and applied these to their civilian lives.
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