Less Is More for 150th Bash

Article excerpt

The Harper government's plan to commemorate a series of important historic anniversaries leading to the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017 is intended to spur interest in the country's history and develop a stronger sense of national pride.

The goal is noble and will undoubtedly be appreciated by high school history teachers, but it is also flawed and more likely to encourage rancour and division than unity.

The details are to be announced in Wednesday's throne speech, but The Canadian Press has reported the series of milestones, which begins this year, is top heavy with wars and battles, some sports events, a few birthday anniversaries of important politicians and the 100th anniversary of a Canadian expedition to the Arctic.

The fields of science, literature, technology, political controversies, aboriginal history and other stories that make up the country's past are not included.

Even the 35th anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 2017 will be ignored, as was the 30th anniversary.

The iconic events that are to be commemorated in various ways are all worthy. The problem is not what's included, but what's left out.

The 75th anniversary of the Battle of Hong Kong in 2016, for example, is a compelling Canadian story, but is it more important than the Northwest Rebellion and the trial and execution of Louis Riel, which marks its 130th anniversary in 2015? …