Patriotic course

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The history of Canada, with all its facets and complexities, should become a mandatory part of every high school student’s curriculum.

In a recent visit to a west coast high school, Heritage Minister James Moore took a positive step towards encouraging all Canadians to better understand and respect the country’s history. In a talk given to students and faculty, Moore argued that Canadian history classes should be a requirement for every Canadian high school student.

Currently, only four provinces require a Canadian history course to receive a high school diploma — Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba. The numbers are surprising. History’s an important part of any country’s identity and should be known by all of its citizens. After all, if the students attending Canadian high schools are supposed to be the future of the country, how can they expect to steer it in the right direction without understanding its past?

The country’s history is inevitably complex, leaving administrators with the challenge of deciding what should be taught in this curriculum.

Canada has much to be proud of; victories during the War of 1812 and the Great Wars have shaped our country today and should be remembered and respected by all Canadian citizens.

But, there are also many things to be ashamed of. The country’s history with residential schools for Aboriginal peoples and internment camps for Japanese migrants shouldn’t be forgotten.

The Canadian identity and history is also not fixed — after all, Canada’s often noted for the cultural mosaic its people form. While our history is closely tied with Britain and France, the identities of the countless immigrants from other countries shouldn’t be overlooked. These aspects should be taught to ensure the most balanced perspective is offered to students.

The provinces where this course isn’t mandatory took an important part in the formation of this history. There’s no reason, then, that students living there shouldn’t be learning about their country’s history.

These classes should also aim to engage students in a dynamic fashion — they shouldn’t just learn history from a textbook. Interactive lesson plans and real-life stories should be incorporated into the curriculum to help students absorb the material.

Every Canadian should understand and respect their country’s history. In instituting a mandatory Canadian history class, the government will be one step closer to achieving this goal.

— Journal Editorial Board

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