The course of history is an objective process. Even though it can be affected by powerful politicians and unions of states, it does not change the very fact that the process itself should be viewed objectively. Nevertheless, understanding history is a highly subjective performance that is influenced by individual’s personal aspirations and life goals. The same can be said about political parties and organizations with the slight difference – unlike ordinary people, they have enough power to rewrite the history pointing to different primary events and imposing a new interpretation of the nation’s development.
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It is the very case of Canada and political debates surrounding the roots of the Canadian nation. There is a constant political battle between Liberals and Conservatives who believe that the emphasis should be made on different historical events thus erasing the historical identity of ordinary people. For example, Conservatives believe that such historical episodes as the 1812 War should not be forgotten because they are the part of the path to becoming Canadians (Delacourt par. 5). At the same time, Liberals claim that history of Canada begins with the declaration of independence 150 years ago (“National Post View: The Liberals Don’t Own Our History” par. 9).
It would be unjust to say that only on of the parties is right. However, the very fact of political battles surrounding the issue is connected to the attempts of erasing the Canadian identity and shaping a new one. Nevertheless, they pursue different aims. For example, analyzing the stance of Liberals, it is imperative to note that they promote the establishment of critical nationalism, i.e. the desire to view Canada and its history separately from Great Britain and the United States (McKercher 140).
On the other hand, Conservatives support the so-called old-style nationalism promoting the projection of all historical events related to the Canadian nation onto the future of the independent state, i.e. fighting for the better understanding of the country’s history (Bociurkiw 23). Even though it is still nationalism, it takes into account all historical events that affected Canadians so that they should not be forgotten.
The problem with this battle is the fact that it leads to the politicization of history, as each party desires to rewrite history and adapt it to their political aspirations and justify their lines of policy. So, as the time passes, the number of people, who recognize the significance of particular historical events and estimate the process of the nation’s development objectively, decreases and the only thing that remains is this political debate (Bliss 250).
To sum up, I believe that it is true that political debates over history reflect broader battle over the role of history in understanding Canada. That is why I think that politicians should withdraw themselves from interpreting and reshaping the past thus granting an opportunity to choose the best suiting reality to ordinary Canadians and stimulating the emergence of new patriotism developed on the basis of national unity and common purpose for the future development (Gentile and Nicholas 107). History is in the past, and it is where it should remain instead of affecting self-identification and stimulating conflicts. Of course, it should be taught and people should now the origins of their state and nation, but rewriting historical events is unjust because it is more beneficial to make more efforts to change the future.
Bliss, Michael. Writing History: A Professor’s Life, Ontario, Canada: Dundurn, 2011. Print.
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Bociurkiw, Marusya. Feeling Canadian: Television, Nationalism, Affect, Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2011. Print.
Delacourt, Susan. “Canadian History About to Get Another Rewrite: Delacourt.” The Star. 2016. Web.
Gentile, Patrizia, and Jane Nicholas. Contesting Bodies and nation in Canadian History, Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press, 2013. Print.
McKercher, Brian J. C. Routledge Handbook of Diplomacy and Spacecraft, New York, New York: Routledge, 2012. Print.
“National Post View: The Liberals Don’t Own Our History.” The National Post. 2016. Web.