Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Militaristic tone of citizenship guide decried in Geist magazine essay

It refreshing to read the essay by author Stephen Henighan in Geist magazine, detailing the propogandistic nature of the government citizenship study guide that is now given to new immigrants (and, if the current government has its way, may soon be put in the hands of every high school student.) Henighan points out that the guide evokes a Canada unrecognizable to older Canadians and takes on a deliberately militaristic tone:
If I did not rec­og­nize the land described in Discover Canada, that was the volume’s inten­tion: to drive a wedge between old Canadians and new Canadians; between me, who did much of my school­ing in Canada, and my part­ner, who arrived here as an adult; between the lib­eral, sta­tist, inter­na­tion­al­ist cul­ture of the past and what the authors hope will be the con­ser­v­a­tive, decen­tral­ized, mil­i­taris­tic cul­ture of the future. 
He says that the Canadian tradition of opposition to militarism is censored in a document which mentions war 35 times but makes one, grudging reference to peacekeeping and where a spread about the rights and responsibilities of citizens is "emblazoned with photos of happy soldiers".
"Discover Canada is not so much Canada for Dummies as Canada for Spartans." [he says]

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