How well do we know our own history in this place called Canada? The rather obvious answer is not very well, and it turns out that the dear old CBC is not always helping much, despite gobbling down many millions of our tax dollars.
As we approach the country’s 150th birthday bash, the Mother Earth Corpse has just begun broadcasting a major new docu-drama called Canada: The Story of Us. Wouldn’t you know, they’ve already managed to offend quite a few people.
Bad enough that Episode One begins with a mini-lecture by ‘Trudeau the Younger’. Then, the show boldly declares that the first permanent European settlement in what is now Canada, happened near Quebec City. Indeed, when history was still a mandatory subject in the classroom, we were taught that Champlain did establish a settlement there in 1608, but three years earlier he had put down what turned out to be lasting roots at Port Royal, Nova Scotia. That community is now known as Annapolis Royal, and they have long been proud of the fact that they consider themselves Canada’s first permanent European settlement. In that first installment, Port Royal is not even mentioned. The scriptwriters at CBC argue that in fact Port Royal was abandoned for a while in 1607. Who knows, maybe the folks headed south to Florida for the winter?
This is not the first ‘quibble’ about history on the CBC, and it won’t be the last. My favourite example involves poor old Tommy Douglas, the father of medicare in this country who was once declared The Greatest Canadian in a national poll. In 2006, the CBC did a 2-parter about Tommy’s life. It wasn’t bad, except for the fact that one of his two daughters, Joan Tulchinsky, disappeared from his and his wife Irma’s life. Funny, I met Joan while covering an NDP convention years ago.
They also said that Douglas’ arch political rival Jimmy Gardner was a drunk, when in fact he was a teetotaller.
Next thing you know we’ll be calling these things Alternative Facts!
I’m Roger Currie