Volume 93, Issue 55

Tuesday, December 7, 1999


OPINIONS

Stigma was attached to the artistic

Looking back on an old letter

Putting comments in context

Would the university sell out?

Inaccurate portrayal of French

Napster not educational

Inaccurate portrayal of French



Re: "Looking back on an altered past" Dec. 1

To the Editor:

Professor [Michael] Carroll's thesis that Canadians must temper their collective memory of the First World War with a recognition of both the contemporary and current rhetoric surrounding the conflict proves undeniable.

Indeed, the identification and explanation of bias provides a basic objective for any serious historical study. However, a flaw in Carroll's argument appears as he vastly oversimplifies French-Canadian ideology concerning the First World War in support of his questionable assertion that Quebecers "are the Canadians who are the true heroes from that period and the ones we should be honouring today."

The lack of support for the war effort offered by French-Canadians stemmed from a number of causes.

Apart from the anti-imperialist views described by Professor Carroll, Quebecers also resisted enlistment due to feelings of alienation fostered both in the Canadian military and in the nation as a whole, in retribution for the continued subordination of French language rights in Ontario and as a means of supporting French nationalist ambitions. Hence, the debate over Canadian involvement in the First World War cannot be separated from developments in the traditionally tense relationship between English and French Canada.

This realization hardly promotes the view of French-Canadians as heroes, but rather supports an oft-cited contemporary British notion of Canadians as silly colonials, hopelessly unable to sort out even "straight-forward" domestic disputes. Consequently, Professor Carroll's glorification of French-Canadian isolationism simply replaces a patriotic bias with a pacifist one.

The result is a blind condemnation of the sacrifices made by compassionate, if somewhat ignorant, Canadian soldiers.

John Duncanson
Honours History IV



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Copyright The Gazette 1999