No doubt, Stephen Harper and the Conservatives are determined to create a Canadian nationalism that is both socially conservative and loyal to the monarchy. And to the British Empire. Their key strategy is to radically revise history and suppress certain moments that do not identify with past Conservative leaders. This penchant for naked revisionism has led to a molestation of the historic moment, on April 17, 1982, when Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed the Constitution Act of 1982.
The photo above is part of an ongoing exhibition of images commemorating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, which is above the Ottawa Locks, by the Fairmont Château Laurier. The caption reads: Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, signs the Constitution Act, Parliament Hill, Ottawa, ON, April 17, 1982. Unnamed is the seated man on the Queen’s right: Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Canada’s 15th Prime Minister.
Below is a brief message to Canadians and other progressives around the world from Canada’s biggest progressive citizen’s organization. Founded in 1985, the Council of Canadians has members and chapters across Canada. It works “to protect Canadian independence by promoting progressive policies on fair trade, clean water, energy security, public health care, and other issues of social and economic concern to Canadians. The Council does not accept money from corporations or governments, and is sustained entirely by the volunteer energy and financial assistance of its members.
In Parliament yesterday, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair asked PM Stephen Harper whether or nor Canadian special forces would stay in Afghanistan beyond the 2014 withdrawal deadline. Harper’s answer: “The leader of the NDP, in 1939, did not even want to support war against Hitler.” The trouble is: There was no NDP in 1939. There was, however, the NDP’s predecessor, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF). The leader in question is J.S. Woodsworth, who died in 1942.
The CCF and the newly formed Canadian Labour Congress combined forces to launch the NDP in 1961. And the great Tommy Douglas, who had served as CCF premier of Saskatchewan since 1944, became the NDP’s new leader.
And to Harper, this is all: “Okay, it was the CCF, same difference. Parties do change their names from time to time.” Seriously, who voted for this guy? Any ways, that’s how the #HarperHistory hashtag was born.