We found out last week that the Harper Conservatives will be leading a review of the way Canadian history is taught in schools. We don’t yet have word on whether this review will include teaching students that education is a provincial responsibility under the constitution, but I have been able to procure a leaked curriculum draft, which I have posted below.
Canadian History: Recommended Course Outline
Unit 1: The Conservative Party Founds Canada (19th Century)
Key Date: 1871 – In an act of state coercion, the first ever Census is administered.
Key Date: 1885 – The Canadian Pacific Railway is completed, an engineering marvel which would not have been possible with a carbon tax.
Class Discussion: It’s important to show students both sides of the Riel uprising. To do this, encourage a classroom debate, where half the students argue that Riel is a traitor, and the other half argue that Wilfrid Laurier is the larger traitor for defending him.
Mandatory Viewing: Students can learn about turn-of-the-Century Canada by watching this educational episode of Murdoch Mysteries.
Unit 2: Robert Borden Wins World War I (1900s and 1910s)
Strike from Curriculum: Borden’s 1917 government, composed of Liberals and Conservatives, should under no circumstances be referred to as a “coalition” government. Instead, refer to it as “an enhanced Conservative Government”.
Creative Writing Assignment: Have students draft an “alternate history” where Wilfrid Laurier is Prime Minister during the War, leading to a German victory.
Mandatory Reading: Stephen Harper’s Hockey Book
Unit 3: Mackenzie King Causes the Great Depression (1920s to 1940s)
Class Discussion: To see both sides of the issue, have students debate if King’s policies in the 1920s led to the depression, or if his policies in the 1930s worsened it.
Strike from Curriculum: 1932 – RB Bennett creates the CBC.
Unit 4: The Rise of Diefenbaker (1950s and 1960s)
Key Date: 1967 – The Beatles release “with a little help from my friends”, a song which would be popularized 42 years later by Stephen Harper and Yo Yo Ma (have students watch video and compliment the Prime Minister on his performance).
Strike from Curriculum: 1957 – Lester B. Pearson wins Nobel Peace Prize (if you must mention this, be sure to talk about other Canadian accomplishments of the 1950s, such as PC leader John Bracken being voted one of Manitoba’s 10 Sexiest politicians in 1951).
Interactive Exercise: Imagine it’s 1953, and write a fundraising letter to Conservative Party members viciously attacking Louis St. Laurent. For bonus marks, film an attack ad.
Unit 5: The Joe Clark Era (1970s and 1980s)
Key Date: 1979 – A nerdy Albertan defeated his far handsomer opponent, Pierre Trudeau. (See if students can find modern day parallels to this)
Class Discussion: Discuss how Ken Dryden nearly cost Canada the 1972 Summit Series. Set up a debate between students on the topic “Which was worse – Dryden’s 83.8% save percentage during the Summit Series, or his push to destroy the family unit through National Childcare?“
Unit 6: Modern Day (1990s to Present)
Key Date: 2006 – Canada’s New Government cuts the GST from 7% to 6%.
Key Date: 2008 – Canada’s New Government cuts the GST from 6% to 5%.
Interactive Exercise: Have students dress as their favourite character from the Sponsorship Scandal and hand each other brown paper envelopes full of Monopoly money.
Suggested Term Paper Topics