A government in Canada gets serious about teaching national history. Unfortunately it's the wrong government and the wrong "nation."
At the CEGEP level, the PQ government was more clear: it is aiming to introduce a new, mandatory course in “Quebec’s national history” within the next 12 months. An existing committee of CEGEP teachers and administrators will be asked to determine how best to structure and integrate the new course, Duchesne said. Like the changes to the primary and secondary curricula, it is expected to be rolled out in September 2014.
The difference between Quebec nationalism and Canadian nationalism is confidence. They believe Quebec is a nation, we believe Canada is a sprawling socialist multicultural hotel. The former is the more emotionally compelling vision, the latter is a financially unsustainable nullity. The Quebecois nationalist believes in his language and a certain version of his cultural history. The Pequistes being militant secularists you can be reassured that this new "national" history will take the usual potshots at the Catholic Church. Still the Pequiste believes in something.
What do we in English Canada believe? A failed experiment in socialized health care half a century out of date? A society willing to tolerate violent groups committed to its own destruction? An elite dominated by self-hating WASPs keen to erase whatever residue of British government and liberty that still remains? Between nothing and something, however unappealing the something, count on people to go for the something.
While Quebec independence is a pipe dream for financial and demographic reasons, the failure of English Canada to offer a compelling civic nationalism bodes ill for the future. Pandering to Quebec is no longer an essential element in forming national governments, dealing with the country's rapidly expanding ethnic population will be. Multicultural hotels are not nations, they are decadent constructs that exists only briefly in the fervid imaginations of intellectuals. Ethnographically diverse societies have two options, integration or balkanization.
A Canada without a keen sense of its own history, traditions, heroes and villains is a Canada that offers little to its immigrants beyond material comforts. Nations, like men, do not live by bread alone.