Transcript: Ignorant of History? | Jan 08, 2014

Steve Paikin in a dark suit, light gray shirt and dark gray tie, stands in front of a The Agenda logo.

Steve says IT IS INDISPUTABLE
THAT THE WORLD THAT WE LIVE IN
TODAY WAS SHAPED BY THE EVENTS
OF YESTERDAY AND YET HISTORICAL
ILLITERATE SEEMS TO BE
DISTURBINGLY HIGH.
DO WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE
PAST TO LIVE IN THE PRESENT?
OR IS HISTORY YOUR GRAND
PARENTS' GAME.
JOINING US NOW TO HELP ANSWER
THAT, IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL,
DIANE PACOM, SHE IS A PROFESSOR IN THE
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY AND
ANTHROPOLOGY AT UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA.

Diane is in her forties, with brown hair.
She is wearing a dark gray jacket over a green-blue
blouse and dark-rimmed spectacles.

Steve continues AND BACK HERE IN OUR STUDIO SEAN KHERAJ.
PROFESSOR OF CANADIAN AND
ENVIRONMENTAL HISTORY.
Sean is a young man in his early thirties
with short dark receding hair, wearing a
green cardigan over a gray shirt and tartan tie
Steve continues IN THE
DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY OF YORK UNIVERSITY.
CHRISTOPHER DUMMITT,
Christopher is a thin young man with sparse
blond hair in his early thirties wearing a yekllow
jacket over sports clothes
Steve continues AND PROFESSOR OF
HISTORY AT TRENT UNIVERSITY IN PETERBOROUGH.
RICHARD GWYN, COLUMNIST, AUTHOR OF
THE MUCH CELEBRATED TWO VOLUME BIOGRAPHY ON
SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD
AND MATT GURNEY, COLUMNIST AND EDITORIAL
BOARD MEMBER AT THE NATIONAL POST.
Richard is a white-haired gentleman with a
lined face and a stoop in his late sixties.
He is wearing a brown jacket over an open-necked
white check sports shirt. Matt is a middle aged,
balding man with a short beard and mustache dressed in
an open-necked pink checkered shirt and a dark jacket.

Steve addresses Diane, who nods -
ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO SEE YOU IN OUR NATIONS'S CAPITAL.

He continues THIS DISCUSSION - LET ME SET
IT UP A LITTLE BEFORE - THIS DISCUSSION
STEMS FROM A SENSE WE HAVE HERE DOING THIS
PROGRAM THAT TOO MANY PEOPLE,
IT FEELS LIKE, DON'T HAVE A
BASIC KNOWLEDGE OF BIG EVENTS
IN HISTORY OR BASIC HISTORY TO
UNDERSTAND CURRENT EVENTS AS
WELL AS THEY PROBABLY SHOULD.
AND I GUESS I JUST WANT TO
START BY GOING AROUND OUR
LITERAL AND METAPHORICAL TABLE
HERE TO SEE IF YOU HAVE
EXAMPLES IN YOUR OWN
EXPERIENCES THAT CONFIRM THAT
SUSPICION THAT WE HERE HAVE.
WANT TO GET US STARTED HERE?

Matt says IT WAS GOING BACK A FEW
YEARS BACK WHEN I WAS IN SCHOOL.
I WAS A HISTORY MAJOR IN HISTORY.
I WAS AT AN AFTER HOURS PARTY
AT A COLLEAGUE, PEER'S HOUSE.
ONE OF MY FRIENDS WAS IN FROM
OUT OF TOWN - FROM ISRAEL.
HE HAD JUST BEEN DISCHARGED THERE.
HE'D BEEN INJURED IN COMBAT AND
WAS NOT FIT TO SERVE ANYMORE.
HE'D BEEN MEDICALLY DISCHARGED.
THERE WAS A YOUNG LADY WHO WAS
INTERESTED IN HIM.
HE WAS STILL A STRAPPING YOUNG MAN.
SHE SAID WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE,
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
HE SAID I JUST GOT OUT OF THE
ISRAELI MILITARY.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO JOIN?
OH, I WAS CONSCRIPTED.
SHE SAID WHY WERE YOU CONSCRIPTED
IN THAT COUNTRY?
WE HAVE FOUGHT A SERIES OF
WARS AGAINST OUR ARAB NEIGHBOURS.
AND IN FRONT OF THIS GROUP OF PROBABLY
THIRTY OR FORTY STUDENTS SHE SAID, IT MIGHT BE A SILLY
QUESTION, BUT WHAT'S AN ARAB.
AND I SAID, TIME TO GO FLY TO A
DIFFERENT PARTY, WE ARE DONE
HERE, WE ARE MOVING ON.
SHE WASN'T DRUNK.
SHE WASN'T KIDDING.
SHE HAD SIMPLY QUITE NEVER HEARD OF AN ARAB.
I MENTION AT THIS POINT THAT
THIS WOMAN WAS IN A FOURTH YEAR
OF A POLYSCI COURSE.

The caption "ignorant of history -
TIME FOR ANOTHER LITERACY" appears

Steve says I'M AFRAID TO ASK
AT WHAT UNIVERSITY.

Matt says SHE WAS FROM WESTERN.
SHE WAS IN FROM OUT OF TOWN.
ALSO VISITING FRIENDS.
SHE WASN'T ASKING WITH A DEGREE
OF RUDENESS.
SHE WAS SIMPLY PERPLEXED AND WANTED TO
KNOW MORE.
SO SHE ASKED THE FORMER ISRAELI
OFFICER WHAT AN ARAB WAS.

Steve says WHAT DID YOU THINK
WHEN YOU HEARD THAT?

Matt says I LAUGHED.
I LAUGHED REALLY HARD.
AND I COULDN'T REPEAT ON AIR
WHAT MY SISTER SAID TO HER AT
THAT MOMENT.
BUT IT WAS SHOCKING.
WE HAD A GOOD LAUGH AT IT.
WHICH WAS PROBABLY IMPOLITE OF
US IN HINDSIGHT BUT THE INITIAL IMPULSE
WAS TO THINK SHE WAS HONESTLY KIDDING.
BUT IT BECAME CLEAR VERY QUICKLY
SHE WAS GENUINELY SERIOUS
ABOUT MY FRIEND FROM OVERSEAS
AND WANTED TO KNOW WHY ISRAEL
NEEDED A MILITARY AND WHO THESE
ARABS WERE.

Steve says RICHARD.

Richard says I DON'T HAVE AN EXAMPLE LIKE
MATT BUT I DO SHARE YOUR VIEW
OF WHAT YOU EXPRESSED THAT
HISTORY IS BECOMING HISTORY.
I HAVE A COUPLE OF SMALL
EXAMPLES.
A HISTORY PROFESSOR FINDS IT
HARD TO GET STUDENTS TO READ
ANY BOOKS, BOOKS, AT ALL.
WHEN ASKED, THEY SAY I CAN GET
ANYTHING I WANT OUT OF GOOGLE.
IT'S NOT EASE Y O COME UP WITH
A SMART ANSWER TO THAT
STATEMENT.(pause)

He continues I HAD ONE MYSELF, THE OTHER
DAY IN A COLUMN WHEN I MADE
MENTION OF R.B.BENNETT.
I THOUGHT "VERY FEW PEOPLE WILL
UNDERSTAND THAT".
I TOOK A LITTLE TIME.
I HAVE TO CONNECT HIM TO THE
GREAT DEPRESSION OF THE 30s.
WITHOUT THAT HE WOULD BE
UNKNOWN.
IT IS -- HISTORY IS BECOMING
HISTORY.

Steve says DIANE PACOM LET'S GET
AN EXAMPLE FROM OTTAWA.

they are shown in twin frames. Hers is captioned "OTTAWA."
Diane says EVERY DAY I'M FLABBERGASTED
TO SEE HOW MY STUDENTS ARE NOT
CONNECTED WITH THE PAST.
I TEACH A COURSE CALLED
CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN THEORY,
AND I SITUATE SOME OF THE
AUTHORS IN THE DYNAMICS OF THE
SECOND WORLD WAR.
ONE OF MY GRADUATE STUDENTS ONE
DAY, I WAS TRAUMATIZED
COMPLETELY, HE TOLD ME, COULD
YOU PLEASE TELL US MORE ABOUT
THIS WAR?
SO I SAID, WHY?
HE SAID I DON'T HAVE ALL THE
INFORMATION.
YES, I HEARD ABOUT HITLER, SO
ON, SO FORTH.
SO I TRIED.
AFTER THE COURSE I TOOK HIM
ASIDE.
I SAID WHAT IS GOING ON, HOW IS
THIS POSSIBLE?
I SAID, YOU KNOW I'M JUST
INTERESTED IN THE HISTORICAL
EVENTS THAT HAPPENED AFTER I
WAS BORN.
I ASKED WHEN WERE YOU BORN?
HE TOLD ME 1990.
I COULDN'T BELIEVE MY EYES.
THIS WAS NOT ONLY SOMETHING
THAT WAS NOT ACQUIRED THROUGH
THE CHILDHOOD.
IT WAS A CONSCIOUS DECISION
THAT I'M NOT INTERESTED IN
ANYTHING THAT HAPPENED BEFORE I
WAS BORN.
YOU KNOW, SO THAT WAS, LIKE,
THE ULTIMATE TRAUMATIC
EXPERIENCE FOR ME AS AN
EDUCATOR. (She smiles)

Steve says SO THE BERLIN WALL WHICH
CAME DOWN IN 1989, JUST MISSED IT.
JUST MISSED IT!
OKAY.

Diane says EXACTLY, EXACTLY.

Steve says I'M PURPOSELY LEAVING
THE HISTORY PROFESSORS TO THE
END HERE BECAUSE I SUSPECT YOU DEAL
WITH THIS ON A DAILY BASIS.
SEAN, WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Sean says YEAH, WE ENCOUNTER STUDENTS
LEARNING HISTORY, IN
THE PROCESS OF IT.
SO I WOULDN'T FAULT MY STUDENTS
WHEN THEY COME TO A CANADIAN
HISTORY COURSE NOT KNOWING THE
WHOLE STORY.
THOUGH I EXPECT THEY KNOW SOME.
BUT I THINK PROBABLY A RECENT EXAMPLE OF AN
EGREGIOUS AND BLATANT FORGETTING OF THE PAST.
WHEN THE MAYOR OF TORONTO SAID
HE WAS ELECTED WITH THE LARGEST
MAJORITY IN CANADIAN HISTORY WHEN HE DOESN'T EVEN
HAVE THE LARGEST NUMBER OF VOTES.
I THINK IT SPOKE A LOT TO...
I DON'T KNOW IF IT WAS A
DELIBERATE MISSTATEMENT OR NOT BUT
THERE WAS AN EXPECTATION THE
AUDIENCE WOULD BELIEVE HIM.

Steve says HE DID GET A
LOT OF VOTES. HE GOT 382,000 VOTES,
WHICH IS A GOOD CHUNK OF VOTES


Sean says IT WAS CONSIDERABLY SMALLER THAN
MEL LASTMAN IN HIS FIRST AND
SECOND ELECTION AS MAYOR.

Steve asks WHAT ABOUT YOU CHRIS?

The caption changes to "Christopher Dummitt - TRENT UNIVERSITY"
Chris says I'M SUPPOSED TO BE PESSIMISTIC I GUESS.
BUT I'LL STICK WITH YOU FOR NOW, BECAUSE
I THINK IT'S PARTLY TRUE
THAT PEOPLE ARE A BIT MORE
IGNORANT, PERHAPS.
MY EXAMPLE WOULD BE JUST LAST
NIGHT, THE FUHRER AROUND
CALGARY WEST M.P. ROB ANDERS.
HE'S GETTING INTO A LOT OF
TROUBLE FOR MAYBE CALLING
NELSON MANDELA COMMUNIST.
BUT OF COURSE MANDELA WAS A
COMMUNIST. HE WAS A MEMBER OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY
HE IS ALSO - MOST PEOPLE THINK HE WAS A BIT OF A A TERRORIST.
Steve interrupts AND IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE TRUE
chris continues ACTUALLY IT IS PRETTY
COMMONPLACE FOR PEOPLE IN
CANADA, BRITAIN, U.S., TO CALL
HIM BOTH THOSE THINGS AND NOT
INACCURATELY.
HISTORY IS ABOUT COMPLEXITY.
SEEMS TO ME THAT'S KIND OF THE POINT.
HE WAS ALL OF THOSE THINGS,
AND YOU CAN BE MAD AT ROB ANDERS
FOR STILL HOLDING THOSE BELIEFS
BUT IN A SENSE HE IS JUST
SAYING WHAT IS ACTUALLY
HISTORICALLY ACCURATE.

Steve says DO YOU HAVE ANY
SPECIAL PROGRAM FOR STUDENTS WHO DON'T
KNOW THEIR HISTORY? BECAUSE
IF THEY ARE ACTUALLY TAKING
HISTORY, IT SUGGESTS THEY ARE
INTERESTED AND MAYBE THEY
OUGHT TO KNOW BETTER?

Chris says YOU KNOW, I DON'T LOOK IT--
BUT I'M GETTING OLDER, BECOMING
LESS DEMANDING MAYBE:SEVERAL
YEARS AGO I WOULD HAVE BEEN
MORE UPSET ABOUT IT.
I'M NOT SURE THAT IT'S ANY
WORSE THAN IT WAS.
I GUESS THAT'S MY POINT.
THERE ARE MORE BOOKS PUBLISHED
NOW ON CANADIAN HISTORY THAN EVER BEFORE.
MORE PEOPLE TAKING HISTORY
COURSES.
YOU CAN LINE THEM UP ON A VIA
TRAIN AND HAVE A HISTORY TREK
ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
I THINK OUR EXPECTATIONS Are
DIFFERENT.
IN THE PAST FEWER PEOPLE
WOULD HAVE KNOWN HISTORY
BETTER.
NOW WE HAVE AN EXPECTATION THAT
A WIDER SECTION OF POPULATION
SHOULD KNOW HISTORY.
I THINK IF WE COUNT THE NUMBER
THAT MORE PEOPLE KNOW MORE THAN
BEFORE, BUT WE HAVE A MORE EQUAL
CITIZENSHIP AND THINK MORE
PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW.

Steve says HIGHER EXPECTATIONS
OF MORE PEOPLE KNOWING IN THE
PAST WHAT FEWER PEOPLE KNEW.
OKAY, SO HE'S NOT, RICHARD,
COMPLETELY SOLD ON THE PROCESS.
HOW ABOUT YOU?
IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU ARE.

A Caption appears. It reads "Richard Gwyn - AUTHOR "NATION MAKER"

Richard says I'M AWARE, REPEAT THE PHRASE
FROM LAST TIME, HISTORY IS AT
RISK OF BECOMING HISTORY.

Steve says WHY DO YOU THINK THAT
IS.

Richard answers A WHOLE LOT OF THINGS.
OBVIOUSLY INTERNET IS
IMPORTANT.
INTERNET IS ABOUT NOW, THE
INSTANT.
HISTORY, IS ABOUT YESTERDAY -
YOU HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT, REFLECT ON IT.
YOU CAN'T JUST RATTLE IT OFF.
YOU CAN GET AN OPINION.
PUT YOUR OWN OPINIONS DOWN ON
THE INTERNET IN AN INSTANT.
SO HISTORY IN THAT SENSE IS OUT
OF DATE.
IT'S OLD-FASHIONED.
I CERTAINLY AGREE WITH
CHRISTOPHER THAT THERE ARE
SIGNS OF HOPE.
THE MILITARY -- I MEAN THE
MILITARY WAS NOWHERE IN CANADA
TWO DECADES AGO.
NOBODY WAS INTERESTED IN IT.
TODAY IS IT A MAJOR FORCE OR
MAJOR ENTITY IN CANADIAN LIFE.
(A comment appears on screen - Is
a basic knowledge of history still useful - Agenda TVO

Steve repeats RESPECTED.

Richard continues RESPECTED AND ONE REASON FOR
THAT, MAY BE BECAUSE HE'S SO GOOD.
TIM COOKE IS A BRILLIANT
WRITER, SELLER, HE IS MAKING
HISTORY INTERESTING, EXCITING.
AND OTHER SIGNS THAT, YOU KNOW,
WE MAY HAVE HIT THE BOTTOM, AND
THIS OBVIOUS HAPPENS WHEN YOU
HIT THE BOTTOM, YOU SAY,
HEY, WE ARE GOING TO LOSE
SOMETHING OF VALUE.
DESPERATELY TORONTO IS TRYING
TO PRESERVE OLD BUILDINGS.
BECAUSE ALL WE HAVE IS GLASS TOWERS.
SUDDENLY YOU CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE.
ANOTHER THING I THINK IS
PROMISING IS THIS GOVERNMENT
HAS MADE A COMMITMENT TO CHANGE
-- THE MUSEUM OF CANADIAN
HISTORY. WHICH I NEVER KNEW WHAT IT WAS.
AND MANY PEOPLE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT IT WAS.
WHAT THAT'S GOING TO DO IS
BRING A LOT OF DEBATE AND A LOT
OF ARGUMENT BECAUSE MOSTLY
CANADIAN HISTORY IS ABOUT IT'S
YOUR FAULT, NOT MY FAULT, A LOT
IS ABOUT ARGUING ABOUT THE
OTHER GUY.
I THINK, I HOPE THAT THE MUSEUM
OF CANADIAN HISTORY WILL
ENCOURAGE CANADIANS TO FIND THAT
HISTORY IS EXCITING, AND HUMAN
AND IMPORTANT.

Steve says DIANE PACOM, WHEN
YOUR STUDENTS SAID TO YOU, I
DON'T CARE ABOUT HISTORY THAT
TOOK PLACE BEFORE I WAS BORN,
WHAT DID YOU COME BACK AT HIM
WITH?

Diane says I COULDN'T SAY ANYTHING.
BUT HE MOTIVATED ME VERY MUCH
TO TRY TO UNDERSTAND WHERE OWE
WHAT ARE THE SOCIOLOGICAL
ANSWERS BEHIND THIS PARADIGMATIC SHIFT.
I TRIED TO SEE WHY AND FINALLY
I CAME WITH AN ANSWER WHICH WAS VERY SOCIOLOGICAL.
FOR THIS YOUNGER GENERATION,
THERE IS NO WISDOM IN THE PAST.
THE PAST IS PERCEIVED BY THEM
AS SOMETHING WHICH CANNOT BRING
THEM ANYTHING THAT THEY CAN USE
IN THEIR LIVES.
SO ON TOP OF EVERYTHING IT IS
ALSO THIS IDEA THAT TODAY'S
GENERATION, THEY LIVE IN THE
PRESENT.
MY GENERATION LIVED IN THE
FUTURE.
MY MOTHER'S GENERATION LIVED IN
THE PAST.
SO EACH GENERATION HAS A
RAPPORT WITH TIME AND SPACE
WHICH IS VERY DIFFERENT.
BUT I BELIEVE THAT FOR MY
STUDENTS THE REACTION OF THIS
YOUNG MAN WAS VERY TYPICAL, IS
THAT WHAT CAN I LEARN FROM THE
PAST THAT CAN HELP ME TODAY?
SO I CAME TO THE CONCLUSION
THAT FOR YOUNGER PEOPLE -- BUT
I BELIEVE IT'S ALSO THE WHOLE
SOCIETY THAT LIVES IN THIS
STATE OF MIND, THERE IS A --
DISCONTINUITY.
SOMETHING HAPPENED.
IT DISAPPEARED.
A CREATION OF ANOTHER SET OF EVENTS.
THEY HAPPENED.
THEY CONCERN ONLY THE PEOPLE WHO
ARE ENTAILINGGLED IN THEM.
SO IT'S A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
PERSPECTIVE THAN OTHER
GENERATIONS HAD BEFORE WHICH
THEY WERE LIVING IN ORDER TO
CONSERVE THE RICHNESS OF THE
PAST, TO USE THE RICHNESS OF
THE PAST AS AN ELEMENT ON WHICH
THEY CAN BUILD THEIR PRESENT LIVES.
SO IT'S A VERY COMPLEX AND VERY
DEEP AND VERY NEW PHENOMENON
WHICH I CONSIDER ALSO QUITE
DANGEROUS IN MANY WAYS.

Steve says IT IS FASCINATING,
SEAN, THAT ANY STUDENT WOULD
SAY, I DON'T CARE ABOUT HISTORY
BECAUSE THERE'S NO WISDOM IN
THE PAST.
BECAUSE THAT'S EXACTLY WHY, I
THINK, WE STUDY HISTORY.
BECAUSE THERE IS WISDOM IN THE
PAST.

Sean says WELL, I MEAN, IT MAY JUST BE
THE YOUNGER PEOPLE THAT I'M
EXPOSED TO -- BECAUSE I
INTERACT WITH STUDENTS.
BUT THE STUDENTS I ENCOUNTER
ARE QUITE DESPERATE TO KNOW
MORE ABOUT THE WORLD AROUND
THEM AND THEY COME TO HISTORY
CLASSES TO SEE CONTEXT.
TO KNOW THE CONTEXT OF THE
POLITICAL PARTIES THAT GOVERN
THEIR LIVES, THE WARS THEY ARE
INVOLVED IN.
THEY WANT TO KNOW ABOUT
THE EVERY DAY LIVES OF PEOPLE
LIKE THEM FROM THE PAST.
SO I DON'T GET A STRONG SENSE
THIS THEY ARE DISINTERESTED IN
HISTORY BUT IT MIGHT BE SELF
SELECTING BECAUSE I HAVE
STUDENTS WHO TAKE HISTORY CLASS.
BUT I DO DISAGREE THAT THE
INTERNET IS NOT FOCUSED ON THE PAST.
IT IS THE MOST POWERFUL
ACCUMULATION OF HISTORY.
FOR HISTORIANS WHO SPEND A LOT
OF TIME IN LIBRARIES IT'S
EXTRAORDINARY TO ME THAT WE
WOULD TURN OUR BACKS ON THE
LARGEST LIBRARY THAT EXISTED.

Steve says DID ANYBODY
SUGGEST THAT?

Sean answers WELL, THE IDEA THAT THE
INTERNET MIGHT BE AN INHIBITION TO
TALKING ABOUT THE PAST IS WRONG -
IN FACT I THINK IT IS THE LARGEST
TOOL TO KNOW THE PAST BETTER.
I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO CONVEY THIS
TO MY STUDENTS BY GIVING THEM
ACCESS TO THE DOCUMENTS OF THE
PAST FIRSTHAND USING THE TOOLS
OF THE INTERNET.

Matt says IT'S NOT JUST THE ACCUMULATION
OF KNOWLEDGE.
IT IS CERTAINLY THAT.
I THINK IT'S ALSO THE
ORGANIZATION OF THE KNOWLEDGE.
THE INTERNET, IF YOU USE A
BASIC WIKI PLATFORM YOU CAN
TELL THE BEST HISTORY OF THE
SECOND WORLD WAR YOU COULD EVER IMAGINE.
HERE ARE ALL THE PEOPLE INVOLVED.
YOU CAN CLICK ON THE LINKS AND GO TO THEM.
THE TECHNOLOGY IS THERE TO
BASICALLY MAKE THE BEST
INTERACTIVE TEXTBOOK IN HISTORY.
THIS IS WHERE I WOULD DISAGREE
WITH RICHARD A LITTLE BIT.
YOU MAY ONLY READ THREE HUNDRED
PAGES OF THE 10,000 THEN DECIDE
YOU KNOW ABOUT THE SECOND WORLD WAR.
YOU CAN READ ROMMEL'S BIOGRAPHY FROM START TO FINISH.
MEANWHILE YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT
HE WAS DOING IN AFRICA AND NO
REAL INTEREST IN IT BUT MAN,
WASN'T THE GENTLEMAN HIMSELF INTERESTING?
THAT'S WHERE WE COME FROM.
WE HAVE UNBELIEVABLE
INFORMATION ORGANIZED AND
PRESENTED BEAUTIFULLY.
DO WE KNOW HOW IT ALL FITS TOGETHER?
THAT IS WHERE WE'RE LACKING AND I THINK
MAYBE SOMETHING THE INTERNET DOES NOT DO FOR US.

Steve says I THINK MAYBE
RICHARD'S POINT, AND BY ALL
MEANS EMBELLISH ON
THIS, THE INTERNET AND
WIKIPEDIA IN PARTICULAR, I
THINK, IS MEANT TO WHET THE THE
APPETITE FOR INFORMATION BUT
IT'S NOT MEANT TO BE THE LAST
WORD ON ALL OF THESE THINGS,
FAIR TO SAY?.

Richard says PROBABLY.
BUT IN FACT FOR MANY PEOPLE IT IS THE
LAST WORD.
IT'S EASY, HANDED ON A PLATE.
CAN I SAY SOMETHING ABOUT
WISDOM IN THE PAST?
IT'S A VERY INTERESTING COMMENT.
I THINK THE PAST IS BEING
CHALLENGED BECAUSE EVERYTHING
IS SO MUCH NOW.
I THINK THERE ARE TWO ELEMENTS
THAT HAVEN'T CHANGED AT ALL.
ONE IS HUMAN NATURE.
I AM A BELIEVER THAT HUMAN
NATURE IS COMPRESSED IN -- A GREAT
SONG IN CASABLANCA, "STILL THE
SAME OLD STORY, FIGHT FOR LOVE
AND GLORY", THAT ABOUT
ENCOMPASSES ABOUT 80 PER CENT
OF WHAT HUMANS ARE ABOUT.
IT REALLY DOES.
THAT HASN'T CHANGED.
OBVIOUSLY PROFOUND CHANGES,
DRAMATIC FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES
THIS MALE, FEMALE
RELATIONSHIPS, BUT BASIC HUMAN
CHARACTER HASN'T, AND I DON'T THINK CAN
CHANGE IN SPITE OF ALL THE GLASS
TOWERS AND BLAH, BLAH, BLAH
THAT WE HAVE GOT NOW.
WE ARE A BIG COLD COUNTRY.
WE JUST DISCOVERED WE ARE A BIG
COLD COUNTRY. (Steve laughs)
TO ME ONE OF THE FASCINATING
THINGS ABOUT COLD COUNTRIES IS
YOU HAVE GOT TO GET ON WITH PEOPLE.
YOU'VE GOT TO BE FRIENDLY TO YOUR
NEIGHBOUR BECAUSE SOMETHING IS
GOING TO HAPPEN WHERE YOU NEED
HIM OR HER TO BAIL YOU OUT.
GET YOUR CAR OUT OF A SNOW DRIFT.
ET CETERA, ET CETERA.
THAT'S A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF
CANADA THAT HASN'T CHANGED.
SECONDLY, OBVIOUSLY, WE ARE
NEXT DOOR TO THE WORLD'S SUPER POWER.
WE ARE OVERSHADOWED BY IT, BUT WE
SPEND A LOT OF TIME TRYING TO
PROVE TO OURSELVES THAT WE ARE
BETTER THAN THEM.

Steve says LET ME FOLLOW ON THAT.
SEAN, DO YOU THINK THAT WHICH
WE ARE DISCUSSING TODAY IS A
UNIQUELY CANADIAN PHENOMENON?

Sean says NO, I DON'T.
YOU CAN PROBABLY ARGUE THERE'S
GREATER HISTORICAL ILLITERACY
IN THE UNITED STATES TODAY,
PERHAPS IN WESTERN EUROPE.
ESPECIALLY AT THE LEVEL OF PUBLIC DISCOURSE.
THE WAY THE POLITICIANS TALK
ABOUT THE PAST, THE WAY THE
MEDIA REPRESENTS THE PAST OR
PERHAPS MORE DRAMATICALLY THE
WAY CONTEMPORARY EVENTS DON'T GET ADEQUATELY
CONTEXTUALIZED WHEN WE REPORT ON THEM.
WHERE WE REPRESENT ICE STORMS
AS THOUGH THEY ARE NOVEL.
OR OIL SPILLS AS IF THEY NEVER
HAPPENED BEFORE.
THAT'S WHERE I THINK THAT KIND OF FORGETTING
OR THAT HISTORICAL ILLITERACY
BECOMES A REAL PROBLEM. IT CAN MAKE IT
DIFFICULT FOR US TO TRY AND UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEMS
WE HAVE TO CONFRONT TODAY.

Steve says DIANE, I DON'T KNOW
IF YOU HAVE AMERICAN
COLLEAGUES, OR YOU KNOW EXAMPLES IN
THE UNITED STATES BUT WOULD YOU SAY
THEY ARE BETTER OR WORSE OFF AT
THIS THAN US?

Diane and Steve are shown in separate
Frames. Then Diane appears over a caption
"Diane Pacom - UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA"

Diane says I WOULD SAY THIS THIS
PROBLEM IS NOT AMERICAN
SPECIFICALLY OR CANADIAN.
IT IS CIVILIZATION.
AND RIGHT NOW THERE IS AN ISSUE
WITH OUR CULTURE, WESTERN CIVILIZATION BROADLY.
THAT WE HAVE BEEN SO MUCH
INFLUENCED BY TECHNOLOGY,
AND SCIENCE, THE IDEA OF PROGRESS.
SO WE PERCEIVE HISTORY AS
SOMETHING WHICH IS NOT
NECESSARILY ANY MORE RELEVANT
BECAUSE WE HAVE BY-PASSED THAT ERA.
THE CONTINUITY HAS BEEN BROKEN.
SO THEREFORE I BELIEVE THAT AT
DIFFERENT LEVELS IT'S A
UNIVERSAL PROBLEM.
IN THE SENSE UNIVERSAL WHEN WE
SAID WESTERN CULTURE IS A
PARAMETER THAT WE CAN NOT ANY
MORE PERCEIVE HISTORY WITH THE
SAME EYES OF THE PEOPLE WHO
LIVED IN THE PRESCIENTIFIC
TECHNOLOGICAL ERA BECAUSE FOR
THEM IT WAS ALL ABOUT CONSERVING
THE TRUTHS, YOU
KNOW, NOT BY-PASSING THEM.
THEY WERE IN THE MODE WHICH WAS
NOT DYNAMIC, WHICH WAS STATIC.
NOW EVERY YEAR THERE IS
SOMETHING WHICH BY PASSES WHAT
WE HAVE KNOWN.
SO IT'S A KNOWLEDGE WHICH IS
NOT NECESSARILY IN SYNC WITH
THE HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE.
THE OTHER ISSUE I WANT TOE
UNDERLINE SKIPS THE SIXTY, SEVENTIES, AT A
SCHOLARLY LEVEL I NOTICE WE
DECIDED WE SHOULDN'T HAVE A
GENERAL DISCOURSE ON HUMANITY.
(We see the four guests in separate frames)
AS YOU KNOW, I'M A FEMINIST MYSELF,
AND I LIKE TO SEE HISTORY FROM A
FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE, BUT WHEN
THE WOMEN STARTED SAYING THIS
STORY WAS WRITTEN BY WHITE MAN,
IT'S NOT HIS STORY, WE WANT TO
WRITE THE WOMEN'S STORY.
WE STARTED TO GET HER STORY.
THEN YOU HAVE EVERY SOCIAL
MOVEMENT, EVERY SPECIFIC GROUP,
DECIDING TO INVEST HISTORY BUT
WITHIN THEIR OWN PERSPECTIVE
AND OBJECTIVE WHICH I BELIEVE
ULTIMATELY WAS EXTREMELY
IMPORTANT BUT THIS DECONSTRUCTION
PER SE PRODUCES, I BELIEVE, IN MY STUDENTS, THIS
DIFFICULTY OF UNDERSTANDING THE
NECESSITY OF THE GLOBAL, YOU
KNOW, VIEW.
A GLOBAL GAZE ON SOCIETY.

Steve says CAN I, CHRIS, GET YOU
TO FOLLOW-UP ON THAT, WHETHER
OR NOT YOUNG PEOPLE ARE TURNED
OFF HISTORY, TO THE EXTENT THEY
ARE, BECAUSE THEY SEE IT HAS
OLD WHITE MAN'S HISTORY AS
OPPOSED TO BROAD BASED
APPROACH.

Chris says I THINK DIANE IS TALKING
ABOUT THE FRAGMENTATION OF HISTORY,
ALL THISTHE COMPLEXITY.
AND I GATHER IT'S PERFECT FOR EACH MAN
OR WOMAN AND THEIR OWN HISTORY.

Chris appears over a caption
"Christopher Dummitt - TRENT UNIVERSITY",
then he and Diane appear in twin frames.

He goes on I THINK SHE'S RIGHT THAT
THERE'S SOMETHING DIFFERENT
ABOUT HOW WE LOOK AT THE PAST
TODAY, HOW WE COMPARE THE STUDY
OF HISTORY WITH COLLECTING OF
HOCKEY CARDS OR CAT FIGURINES.
I LOVE HISTORY BOOKS.
I BUY ABOUT FIVE TIMES AS MANY
AS I'LL EVER READ.
AND OTHER PEOPLE COLLECT LITTLE CAT
FIGURINES.

Steve says WHY DO YOU COLLECT
BOOKS?

Chris says I JUST LIKE THE SMELL OF THEM
(General laughter).
He goes on I LIKE TO READ THEM.
THE FEEL OF THEM.
THE WAY THEY LOOK ON THE SHELF.
ALL BOOKS, BUT HISTORY BOOKS.

Steve says YOU PUT THEM ON THE
SHELF.

Chris says AND I READ THEM.
I KNOW MORE THAN I DID TEN YEARS AGO.
I THINK WHAT'S DIFFERENT IS
THAT FIFTY YEARS AGO MY STRANGE
FETISH WOULD HAVE BEEN
CONSIDERED SOMEHOW BETTER THAN
THE PERSON WHO COLLECTED CAT
FIGURINES. EOULD HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED
OF A HIGHER ORDER.
TODAY I DON'T THINK IT IS.

Steve says WELL, LET'S GET TO A MORE
OVER ARCHING QUESTION HERE
WHICH IS, I THINK WE CAN ALL
SIT AROUND AND TUT-TUT AT THE FACT.
(the participants are shown sitting around the table)
he goes on THAT HISTORICAL LITERACY
MAY NOT BE ALL WE WISH IT WERE, BUT
LET'S ASK THE QUESTION.
WHY SHOULD PEOPLE IN YOUR VIEW
HAVE A BASIC UNDERSTANDING OF
THEIR HISTORY OF WHATEVER,
THEIR COUNTRY, THEIR CONTINENT,
THEIR WORLD, WHATEVER.

Matt says IF WE GO JUST FULL CYNICISM
HERE, A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T.
THEY JUST DON'T NEED IT.
THEY WILL GO ABOUT THEIR LIVES
JUST FINE WITHOUT IT.
I THINK IT'S UNFORTUNATE
BECAUSE THEY WILL MISS OUT ON
THE EXPERIENCE OF HAVING THE
STACK OF BOOKS. BUT THERE'S A LOT OF
PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO DON'T REALLY NEED TO DO IT,
BUT I THINK IF YOU WANT TO BE AN
ENGAGED CITIZEN, ENGAGED AT A
HIGHER LEVEL OF SOCIETY, IT'S
ALREADY BEEN SAID.
IT'S THE IDEA OF CONTEXT.
YOU NEED TO KNOW HOW THINGS FIT TOHETHER.
AND IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A FRAGMENTED
HISTORY, WHETHER IT IS
FEMINISM OR THE ROLE OF
MINORITIES, WHATEVER, TAKE YOUR
FACTS, YOU NEED TO KNOW
HOW IT FITS INTO THE BIGGER
PICTURE BECAUSE YOU DON'T
UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEMS OF
TODAY UNLESS YOU KNOW WHERE THEY
CAME FROM.
SOMETIMES WE GET TOO FOCUSED ON
THE NEXT ELECTION CYCLE OR THE
ONE JUST PAST.
BUT VERY FEW OF THE PROBLEMS WE
FACE TODAY WERE IN EXISTENCE
SINCE SAY THE YEAR 2000.
A COUPLE OF THEM WERE, AND WE'VE JUST
FOUND NEW WAYS TO SCREW THINGS UP, BUT
IN GENERAL I THINK WE ARE JUST
QUITE RIGHT.
THE SAME OLD STORY.
IT'S NICE TO KNOW SOMETIMES
WHAT'S WORKED. AND WHAT HASN'T WORKED.
OR MAYBE NO ONE HAS FOUND A
SOLUTION THAT WORKS YET BUT AT LEAST YOU
KNOW HOW YOU GOT WHERE YOU ARE.
IF YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW EVERYTHING
FITS TOGETHER IT HELPS TO HAVE SOME BASIC SENSE.
OF WHERE YOU CAME FROM, AND
I KNOW IT'S HARD -- MAYBE IT'S
JUST TOO BIG TO FULLY DIGEST RIGHT NOW.
MAYBE WE HAVE TOO MUCH HISTORY.
MAYBE THERE'S SO MUCH OUT THERE
IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO EVEN HAVE A VIEW
OF ALL OF IT. SO
WE HAVE TO HAVE IT NECESSARILY,
SPECIALIZE IN FRAGMENTS.
WE PROBABLY GENERATE MORE
DOCUMENTS TODAY THAN WERE EVER GENERATED
IN THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE.

Steve SAYS I HAVE HEARD JUST THE OPPOSITE HISTORY.
CANADA HAS TOO MUCH LAND, NOT ENOUGH HISTORY,
AND IT'S JUST THE OPPOSITE: TOO LITTLE LAND, TOO MUCH HISTORY
LET'S TAKE RICHARD SOMETHING YOU
SPENT YEARS OF YOUR LIFE WORKING ON.
I PRESUME YOU THINK IT'S A GOOD
THING PEOPLE KNOW THIS COUNTRY
STARTED IN 1867 AS A CONFEDERATION AND
SIR JOHN A.MACDONALD WAS THE FIRST PRIME MINISTER.
TELL US WHY THAT'S WORTH KNOWING.

Richard says IN MY BASIC JUDGMENT,
I CAN'T PROVE IT, NO MACDONALD - NO CANADA.
WE WERE A NONSENSICAL IDIOTIC COUNTRY.

Steve says WHY DO WE EVEN NEED
TO KNOW THAT?

Richard answers IT TELLS US
SOMETHING ABOUT OUR NATURE.
SOMETHING THAT ALL THE
CANADIANS -- A LOT OF US SPENT
A LOT OF TIME TRYING TO KEEP
THE COUNTRY GOING.
BECAUSE CANADA MADE NO SENSE.
CANADIANS COULD OVERNIGHT
BECOME A WHOLE LOT BETTER OFF BY
BECOMING AMERICAN. AND THEY WOULDN'T DO IT!

Steve says TELL A 20-YEAR-OLD
TODAY WHY IT'S IMPORTANT THAT
SHE KNOWs THAT.

Richard says SHE KNOWS -- SHE OR HE, IT
MIGHT BE A HE, THAT CANADA HAS A
STORY THAT IS QUITE DISTINCT
AND WHAT IS FASCINATING ABOUT
THIS COUNTRY IS THAT WE STARTED
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE LADDER.
EVERYBODY WHO KNEW SOMETHING
ABOUT CANADA IN 1867 ASSUMED WE
WOULD DISAPPEAR.
ASSUMED THERE WAS NO REASON FOR IT.
TODAY WE ARE ONE OF THE MOST
SUCCESSFUL COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD.

Steve says SO YOU WOULD ARGUE --
THAT IS A GREAT STORY.

Richard interrupts SO HOW DO YOU
GET FROM THERE TO THERE?

Steve repeats THAT IS A GREAT STORY.

Richard agrees I THINK IT'S A GREAT STORY.
He continues WE ARE NOT A DRAMATIC COUNTRY.
WE ARE NOT POWERFUL IN ANY REAL SENSE.
WE DISAPPEAR TOMORROW THERE
WOULD BE PARTS OF THE WORLD
THAT WOULD REGRET IT BECAUSE
THEY LIKE TO BE HERE.
IN FACT, YOU KNOW -- LET ME
JUST GO ONE LITTLE THING ABOUT,
THIS IS HISTORY BUT HISTORY OF TODAY.
IF EVERY PERSON IN THE WORLD
WHO ANSWERED A SURVEY BY SAYING IF THEY HAD A
CHOICE OF WOULD THEY RATHER LIVE IN CANADA
OR WHERE THEY WERE, OUR POPULATION WOULDN'T BE
35,000,000, IT WOULD BE 2,035,000,000.
THAT IS A PRETTY GOOD STORY.
SO THERE IS A STORY IN CANADA
BUT SO MUCH OF IT
IS TOLD IN SUCH AN UNBELIEVABLY
BORING WAY.
(Steve tries to interrupt, but Richard continues)
YOU'VE GOT TO WRITE WHAT PEOPLE
WANT TO READ. IT'S IMPORTANT.

Steve says IS THAT YOUR FAULT
THAT YOU GUYS CAN'T TEACH OUR
WONDERFUL STORY PROPERLY AND
THAT'S WHY SO FEW PEOPLE ARE
INTERESTED IT?

Sean replies WELL I DON'T DISAGREE THAT
THE STORY THAT TO ENGAGE THEIR AUDIENCE
IS CERTAINLY THE END - TO GET BACK TO THE
EARLIER QUESTION ABOUT IF IT'S IMPORTANT
FOR CANADIANS TO KNOW ABOUT THE PAST,
I CERTAINLY THINK IT'S TRUE.
BUT I DON'T THINK THE
OBLIGATION FALLS ENTIRELY ON THE SHOULDERS
OF ORDINARY PEOPLE.
IT IS CERTAINLY FALLS ON THE SHOULDERS
OF CHRIS AND I I WHO ARE PAID TO
BE HISTORIANS AT UNIVERSITIES.
SO WE DO HAVE A KIND OF OBLIGATION
TO ACT AS TRANSLATORS ABOUT
THE PAST TO MAKE THAT KNOWLEDGE
KNOWN TO WIDER AUDIENCES AS
BEST AS POSSIBLE.
ON THE OTHER HAND, THOUGH, I DO
COME TO THE DEFENCE OF
UNPOPULAR HISTORY.
STORIES ABOUT THE PAST THAT
HAVE NO MARKET.
AND I READ A BOOK A YEAR AGO ABOUT
BY A COLLEAGUE WHO WROTE
A HISTORY OF THE DRAINAGE OF THE WETLANDS
OF MANITOBA..
THIS IS NOT A BOOK THAT IS GOING TO SELL
MILLIONS OF COPIES AND CHAPTERS, RIGHT?
BUT HER RESEARCH REVEALED
SOMETHING QUITE SIGNIFICANT
ABOUT THE CONSTITUTIONAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MANITOBA
AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THAT
I HAD NEVER KNOWN BEFORE.
THAT MANITOBA, OF THE THREE
PRAIRIE PROVINCES, BEGAN TO GET
CONTROL OF ITS NATURAL
RESOURCES QUICKER THAN
SASKATCHEWAN AND ALBERTA
BECAUSE THEY WERE DRAINING
SWAMP LANDS AND WERE ABLE TO
GET THEM WITHIN THEIR
JURISDICTION.
THAT'S QUITE SIGNIFICANT FOR
UNDERSTANDING OUR CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY.
iT'S NEVER GOING TO SELL.
SO THERE'S STILL A PLACE FOR AN
ACADEMIC, UNPOPULAR HISTORY.

Matt says FOR THE PROFESSORS ON THE
PANEL JUST FOR A MOMENT -- JUST FOR
A MOMENT, I SAID.
(General laughter)
BUT I THINK A LOT OF THE TIME
BY THE TIME A STUDENT GETS TO
THE UNIVERSITY LIVE OR EVEN THE
COLLEGE LEVEL THEY ARE EITHER
GOING TO LOVE HISTORY OR HATE IT.
I THINK THE REAL FAILINGS IN
OUR HISTORICAL EDUCATION CoME
BEFORE THAT.
MY WIFE TEACHES GRADE 4 IN
ONTARIO MATH NOW.
SHE USED TO TEACH GRADE 7.
THAT waS THE FIRST YEAR THAT
STUDENTS IN ONTARIO WERE REALLY
TAUGHT CANADIAN HISTORY.

Steve says GRADE 7.

Matt continues AT LEAST AT THE TIME.
THINGS MAY HAVE CHANGED SINCE SHE
MOVED TO A LOWER GRADE.
I REMEMBER FLIPPING THROUGH THE
HISTORY TEXT BOOK.
WHICH OBVIOUSLY AS A TEACHER
SHE HAD A COPY OF IT.
AND I REMEMBER THINKING THAT
I HAD TWO DEGREES IN HISTORY
I PUT IT DOWN AND SAID THIS IS AWFUL.
I'M TOTALLY BORED BY THE STORY OF THIS COUNTRY.
THERE'S NO STORY HERE.
IT'S A COLLECTION OF FIGURES AND SOME ANECDOTES.
THAT DON'T REALLY COME TOGETHER IN ANY
COHERENT WAY, iT'S VERY -
IT'S VERY DELICATE.
THERE WERE NATIVE PEOPLE HERE.
BAD THINGS HAPPENED.
WE WON'T DWELL ON THAT.
THERE ARE TWO MAJOR LANGUAGE GROUPS
IN THIS COUNTRY AND THEY DON'T ALWAYS
GET ALONG. IT WAS GETTING TO BE PRETTY BAD.
IT WAS TOTALLY AVERSE TO CONTROVERSY,
TO ANYTHING EXCITING.
IT WAS PABLUM AT ITS WORST -
AND IN MY OWN EXPERIENCE,
i'M GOING BACK 10, 15 YEARS NOW, OUR
SCHOOL WAS NOT MUCH BETTER.
THE HISTORY OF CANADA WAS
CONFEDERATION, VIMY RIDGE. HIPPIES.
WE ARE DONE.
(General laughter)
He goes on BY THE TIME WE GET -- IT WAS
INTERESTING ENOUGH.
IN THE LATTER THIRD.
BUT BY THE TIME YOU GET TO
UNIVERSITY LEVEL, IF YOU HAVE A
LOVE FOR HISTORY YOU HAVE FOUND
it ON YOUR OWN, GONE
OUT OF YOUR WAY TO FIND IT.

Steve says CHRISTOPHER, AMERICA
HAS THEIR OWN MYTHS AND LIES
ABOUT THEIR HISTORY.
DO WE FEAR GETTING INTO THAT CONTROVERSY HERE?
MAYBE DUMBING IT DOWN, GETTING IT TOO PABLUM?

Chris says WE DO IN THE SENSE THAT
THE MYTH of canada is THAT THE
MULTI CULTURES GET ALONG. He
mumbles to himself, then continues
I THINK THE UNIQUE CANADIAN
THING IS A STRANGER THING.
IF YOU LOOK AT -- YOU KNOW,
BRITAIN, THE POPULATION OF ONLY
TWICE THAT OF CANADA, IF YOU
LOOK AT THE POPULAR HISTORIANS,
THE MARKET FOR HISTORY BOOKS IS HUGE.
IT'S TEN TIMES AT LEAST MORE
THAN CANADA.

Steve says WHAT IS --

Chris says I DON'T KNOW.
IT'S SOMETHING BEYOND JUST THE PROFESSORS.
I'LL BE HARD ON THEM AS ANY ONE.
I THINK WE OUGHT TO BE WRITING
AND MAKING WEBSITES DOCUMENTARIES --

Steve says BUT THEY HAVE A
THOUSAND YEAR HEAD START ON US.
DOES THAT MATTER?

Chris says WHEN I TAUGHT IN THE U.K.,
THAT'S WHAT THEY TOLD ME.
CANADA HAS NO HISTORY.
WHAT HISTORY.
THAT'S NOT TRUE, THOUGH.
EVEN THE HISTORY OF
THE BRITISH INVOLVEMENT IN
WORLD WAR TWO PROBABLY DWARFS
CANADIAN HISTORY.

Steve says Diane WANTS TO
GET IN ON IT.

Diane says I WOULD HIKE TO ADDRESS THE
QUESTION OF IS IT IMPORTANT TO
KNOW OUR HISTORY?
I MEAN, MY ANSWER IS
ABSOLUTELY.
IF YOU ALLOW ME TO DO IT AT MY
SUBJECTIVE LEVEL WHICH PEOPLE
RIGHT NOW THEY ARE CONSTANTLY
WONDERING ABOUT THEIR OWN
HISTORY, PSYCHO-ANALYSIS,
QUESTIONING THE TRAUMAS OF THE
PAST, I BELIEVE HISTORY AT THE COLLECTIVE
LEVEL IS IDENTITY FOR ME, IT'S EMPOWERING.
IF YOU TAKE FOR INSTANCE
QUéBEC, WHAT THEY DID WITH THIS
WONDERFUL IDEA OF PUTTING ON
THEIR CARS THE PLAQUE "JE ME SOUVIENS,"
WHICH MEANS "I REMEMBER."
I THINK IT'S SO IMPORTANT
BECAUSE WE ARE GOING THROUGH A
MOMENT OF AMNESIA, COLLECTIVE AMNESIA.
WE DON'T KNOW WHERE WE COME
FROM, WHERE WE ARE GOING.
WE ARE STUCK IN THE PRESENT.
WE ARE TRYING TO DEAL WITH LIFE
AS WELL AS WE CAN.
I COME FROM A DIFFERENT BACKGROUND.
I'M ITALIAN, GREEK. MEDITERRANEAN. EGYPTIAN -
I LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE HISTORY IS
OVERWHELMING.
MY MOM BEFORE I SLEEP WHICH
SOMETIMES GIVES ME NIGHTMARES
WAS GIVING ME LECTURES ON GREEK
MYTHOLOGY, AND O ON, SO FORTH.
SO THERE IS SOMETHING WHICH IS
ACCORDING TO ME, AN ABSOLUTE
NECESSITY TO CITIZENSHIP, TO BE
AWARE WHERE WE CAME FROM.
AND ALSO BE AWARE THAT THIS IS
AN ADDITIVE.
OBVIOUSLY THE HISTORY IS
REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PEOPLE
WHO WROTE IT.
YOU KNOW, IT'S NOT EVERYBODY
WHO CONTRIBUTED IN WRITING
HISTORY BUT THERE IS THIS
NECESSITY TO BE ABLE TO SEE WHO
WE ARE AS CANADIANS, AS
QUEBECOIS, AS GREEKs, AS AMERICANS.
IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO BECOME INDIVIDUALS.
YOU KNOW, TO BECOME CITIZENS.
OTHERWISE THERE IS THIS
EPHEMERAL THING HAPPENING WHICH
IS VERY MUCH RELATED TO THE
INTERNET, BY THE WAY, WHERE YOU
NEED SOMETHING, OK THAT DATE, THAT NAME.
YOU GO GET IT.
BUT AFTER THAT IT FALLS IN THE
ABYSS OF COLLECTIVE AMNESIA.

Steve says TELL ME IF I'M WRONG,
BUT I THOUGHT THE "JE ME SOUVIENS" ON THE
QUEBEC LICENCE PLATE WASN'T JUST "I REMEMBER",
THE INFERENCE WAS I REMEMBER WHAT THE
ENGLISH BASTARDS DID TO US BACK IN
THE DAYS.

Diane says THE PLAQUES ARE NOT LARGE
ENOUGH TO WRITE ALL THAT--

(General laughter)
Steve says THAT'S TRUE.
He continues THE SECOND THING IS
WHAT IS ON THE ONTARIO LICENCE
PLATE? DOES ANYBODY KNOW?

Richard says SOMETHING REALLY BORING.

Steve says IT'S EITHER YOURS TO
DISCOVER OR KEEP IT BEAUTIFUL,
I DON'T KNOW.

Richard says WHAT IS YOURS TO DISCOVER?

Steve laughs and says THAT'S A REAL LOST
OPPORTUNITY.

Richard says ONTARIO IS NOT EXCITING.
ONTARIO IS VERY SENSIBLE.
IT IS NOT EXCITING.

Steve says HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT?
THAT'S JUST SO NOT TRUE.

Richard says THIS IS A CANADIAN PROBLEM.
PUT IN THE MOST BRUTAL WAY,
OUR PROBLEM IN JUST GETTING A
HISTORY THAT PEOPLE RESPOND TO
IS THAT WE DIDN'T KILL PEOPLE.

Steve says WE HAD A POPULAR REVOLUTION
IN 1837 THREE BLOCKS FROM THE STUDIO.

Richard says I KNOW - I'M NOT ONLY TALKING
ABOUT ONTARIO.
THAT WAS PRETTY SMALL.
BUT IN GENERAL IF YOU GO THROUGH
THE ENTIRE CANADIAN RECORD YOU HAVE GREAT
DIFFICULTY FINDING PEOPLE THAT
WE KILLED.
THAT'S MOST UNUSUAL.

Steve says WHAT ABOUT METIS.

Richard says I KNEW YOU WOULD SAY THAT.
BUT EVEN THERE THE NUMBER OF METIS KILLED
WAS VERY FEW.

Chris suggests FIFTY, SOMETHING LIKE THAT?.

Steve says IN MACDONALD'S TIME.

Richard agrees YEAH.
BUT WHATEVER YOU PILE IN AND
INCREASE THE LIST OF -- PEOPLE
WHO KILL PEOPLE, IT IS TINY
COMPARED TO ANYBODY ELSE IN THE
WORLD, JUST ABOUT.
IF YOU ARE LIVING IN
AFGHANISTAN THERE'S -- YOU
LAUGH AT THE NOTION THAT CANADA
KILLS PEOPLE. AND MOST COUNTRIES ARE EVEN WORSE.
THE HARD TRUTH IS -- AND WE GO
BACK TO SHAKESPEARE, YOU NEED
PEOPLE DYING ON STAGE TO HOLD
THE AUDIENCE.

Steve says I WANT SOME HARD
CONCRETE FACTS ON OUR LIST.
NOW THEN.
GIVE ME SOMETHING THAT AS A
CANADIAN CITIZEN YOU NEED TO
KNOW ABOUT HISTORY.
JUST GIVE ME ONE THING.

Chris suggests RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT.

He continues EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED
IN 2008, THE COALITION CRISIS WOULD BE VERY
DIFFERENT IF WE KNEW ABOUT
RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT.
PEOPLE WOULD HAVE LAUGHED WHEN
STEPHEN HARPER GOT UP AND SAID
"STEPHANE DIONNE DOESN'T HAVE
THE RIGHT FORM OF GOVERNMENT -
DOING SOMETHING ILLEGAL."
IF PEOPLE KNEW HOW PARLIAMENTARY
DEMOCRACY WORKS PEOPLE WOULD HAVE CHUCKLED.
THEY WOULD HAVE UNDERSTOOD HOW THE SYSTEM WORKS.
WE DON'T HAVE AN AMERICAN SYSTEM -
WE HAVE PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY.
EVERYTHING BEING PROPOSED
WAS LEGAL, IF ILL ADVISED.

Steve says GO AHEAD.

Sean says I'D SAY THE MOST IMPORTANT FACT OF
CANADIAN HISTORY FOR CANADIANS
TO KNOW IS ABOUT TREATIES AND
DISPLACEMENT OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE,
IN A COUNTRY DIVIDED INTO INDIAN SPACE AND
NON-INDIAN SPACE. AND THERE ARE REASONS FOR THAT.
I OFTEN DESCRIBE TO MY STUDENTS THAT THE
BOUNDARIES OF CANADA WERE
DEFINED POLITICALLY AMONG EUROPEANS
AND CANADIANS.
THE TRUE BOUNDARIES WERE NOT
FINALIZED UNTIL THE 20th
CENTURY WITH THE TREATIES
WERE SETTLED IN THE NORTH, AND IT'S STILL NOT FINISHED.

Steve says DIANE, YOU DON'T HAVE TO GIVE US
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN CANADIAN HISTORY BUT JUST
TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE OUGHT TO KNOW.

Diane says ABSOLUTELY I AGREE WITH THE
HISTORY OF CANADA BEFORE IT WAS COLONISED.
AND ALSO THE HISTORY OF THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE.
I'M AN IMMIGRANT, I KNOW BY NOW -
I HAVE BEEN IN CANADA NOW
FOR ALMOST 40 YEARS.
I KNOW EVERYTHING I THINK,
ABOUT THE TWO FOUNDING NATIONS,
WHATEVER THEY CALL THEMSELVES.
BUT I DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT THE
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE.
THE FIRST NATIONS.
I THINK IT'S AN ABSOLUTE
NECESSITY FROM AN IMMIGRANT
PERSPECTIVE SPECIFICALLY.

Steve says MATT.

Matt says I WOULD STICK WITH WHAT
WOULD HAVE BEEN THE SELF-STYLED
TWO FOUNDING NATIONS.
THE FRENCH AND ENGLISH IN THE COUNTRY.
PARTICULARLY, IN THE LAST FIFTY OR SIXTY
YEARS, WITH THE RISE OF QUéBEC NATIONALISM.
I THINK THIS IS SOMETHING WE
ARE GOING TO NEED TO WORRY
ABOUT IN, SAY, THE NEXT
GENERATION. SO WE HAVE TO KNOW
WHERE THE LAST TWO WENT.

Steve says RICHARD.

Richard says CONDITION OF ABORIGINAL
PEOPLE IS QUITE CLEARLY OUR
BIGGEST MORAL CHALLENGE AND
OUR BIGGEST MORAL FAILURE.
IT'S OUR BIG -- THE BIG THING
WE DID BADLY. WE DID WRONG.
WITH THAT SAID, I THINK WE
SHOULD STOP LASHING OURSELVES.
IT'S ALMOST MASOCHISTIC.
THE FACT IS THIS COUNTRY IS
UNQUESTIONABLY ONE OF THE MOST
SUCCESSFUL COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD.
HOW MANY HISTORIANS SAY THAT?
FOR PRACTICAL PURPOSES, ZERO.
IT'S OBVIOUS.
LOOK AT ANY INTERNATIONAL
SURVEY AND SCANDINAVIA IS
ALWAYS AT THE TOP.
THEY ARE GOOD GUYS.
BUT WE ARE RIGHT UP THERE.
AND IT IS ALMOST BAFFLING TO ME,
RIDICULOUS, THAT THIS COUNTRY
GOES ON CLINGING TO THE NOTION
THAT WE ARE BAD PEOPLE.
OBVIOUSLY THE DANGER OF
RECOGNIZING THAT YOU ARE ONE OF
THE MOST SUCCESSFUL NATIONS IN
THE WORLD IS OF COURSE YOU GET
SMUG, AND GO FLAT ON YOUR FACE,
AND DESERVE TO.
BUT BASICALLY THAT IS THE CASE OF
THIS COUNTRY, -- ACHIEVED AGAINST
THE ODDS.
THIS IS A STORY NO HISTORIAN
HAS EVEN BEGUN TO TALK ABOUT, WHAT
THE ..... IS GOING ON?

Steve says SO LET'S DO A LITTLE
HISTORY RIGHT HERE.
SIR LAURIER WAS RIGHT WHEN HE SAID
THE 20th CENTURY WILL BELONG
TO CANADA.

Richard says HE WAS WRONG.
THE 20th CENTURY WASN'T THAT GREAT.
WE HAVE COME TO THE TOP.
OUR POLICY OF IMMIGRATION AND
MULTI-CULTURALISM IS NOT REALLY THE
BEST IN THE WORLD.
THIS IS NOTHING REMOTELY LIKE IT.
WE ARE A DULL LITTLE COUNTRY BY
ANYBODY ELSE'S STANDARDS YET WE
HAVE DONE IN ONE OF THE MOST
DIFFICULT AREAS OF ALL, WHICH
IS MULTI-CULTURALISM COME TO
TERMS WITH REALITY.
(Steve nods vigorously)
Richard continues WE CAN TEACH
ANYBODY IN THE WORLD.
WHEN HAVE WE EVER TAUGHT THE
WORLD -- AND THERE IS ONE OTHER
THING.
WE HAVE BANKS THAT DON'T GO
BANKRUPT AND DON'T CHEAT US.
THAT'S RATHER BIG.
BUT ON THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT
ISSUES IN THE WORLD WE ARE NUMBER ONE.
OR VERY CLOSE TO IT.

Matt says I THINK TO RICK'S POINT AS
WELL, I FIND IT INTERESTING THE IDEA
OF HAVING -- AWARENESS OF WHERE
YOUR COUNTRY HAS SINNED IS AN
IMPORTANT THING.
KNOWING WHAT YOU HAVE DONE BADLY IS
AS IMPORTANT AS KNOWING WHAT
YOU DID RIGHT.
BUT I THINK ON THE OTHER HAND THAT PERHAPS
IF WE WEREN'T QUITE SO GUILTY MAYBE THERE
WOULDN'T BE THIS HESITATION TO
LOOK TO THE PAST FOR WISDOM,
THERE ARE THINGS TO FEEL GUILTY
ABOUT BUT THERE ARE THINGS WE
HAVE BEEN DONE WELL.
AND I THINK WE FOCUS OFTEN TOO MUCH ON
WHAT WE HAVE DONE BADLY AND NOT
OFTEN ENOUGH ON THE WONDERFUL THINGS WE HAVE DONE,
BECAUSE RICHARD HERE SAID "WE'RE A DULL LITTLE COUNTRY"
AND I SAY "THANK GOD FOR THAT."
BEING A BORING COUNTRY IS A
WONDERFUL THING.
I THINK ALL COUNTRIES SHOULD ASPIRE
TO BE AS DULL AS WE ARE.
THEY'LL LIVE LONGER.

Steve says SHOULD WE ACCEPT -
I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO CALL IT
THAT THERE IS A NEW NORMAL TODAY?
THE NEW NORMAL IS PEOPLE KNEW
LESS HISTORY AND DON'T CARE ABOUT
IT AS MUCH, AND WE JUST HAVE
TO LIVE WITH THAT.

Chris says I'LL TAKE THE SECOND ONE ON
FIRST. I DON'T KNOW IF THEY KNOW
HISTORY BUT I THINK THEY CARE
LESS ABOUT IT, ABSOLUTELY.
IN FACT WE SAID IT A FEW TIMES.
PEOPLE SAID IT TONIGHT.
THAT'S ALSO EACH THE IDEA OF
HAVING FACTS AND REALITY SEEMS TO BE
VASTLY LESS IMPORTANT TO PEOPLE ANYWAY.
IT'S NOT JUST HISTORY.
IT'S ACROSS THE BOARD.
THE IDEA YOU WOULD EXPLAIN
SOMETHING IN CONTEXT TO GET A
STORY RIGHT HAS JUST BEEN
OBLITERATED.
WHETHER YOU TALK ROB FORD OR
ANYBODY ELSE.
THE IDEA THERE IS TRUTH THERE,
THAT IF SOMETHING ACTUALLY HAPPENED,
IT IS HARD TO SELL.

Steve says NOW, SEAN, HAVING
SAID THAT, WE ARE GOING TO HEAR
A LOT OF HISTORY THIS YEAR
BECAUSE IT WAS A HUNDRED YEARS
AGO THIS SUMMER WORLD WAR ONE
BEGAN.

Sean says THAT'S RIGHT.

Steve says THIS IS A MOMENT, RIGHT?
THIS IS A POTENTIAL MOMENTS FOR FOLKS
LUKE YOU TO DO A JOB.

(The caption changes to "Sean Kheraj - YORK UNIVERSITY")
Sean says ABSOLUTELY.
ANNIVERSARIES AND COMMEMORATIVE
EVENTS ARE OPPORTUNITIES FOR US TO
REMEMBER THE PAST AND TO TRY
AND DRAW LESSONS FROM IT.
AND I THINK SIGNIFICANTLY TO
NOT JUST LEARN WHAT HAPPENED IN THE PAST.
BUT TO LEARN FROM IT.
IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO KNOW WHAT'S
NOVEL OR INNOVATIVE IF YOU
DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED
BEFORE.
ONE THING I WOULD DISAGREE WITH THOUGH,
WHEN WE THINK ABOUT THAT PAST, THAT
HISTORY, WE SHOULDN'T BE
LOOKING FOR DEATHS AND MURDERS
AS A WAY TO KEEP US ENGAGED.
(General laughter)
He goes on THERE ARE A LOT OF
COMPLEXITIES IN CANADIAN HISTORY.
MY EXPERIENCE IS THAT THE
COMPLEXITY ISSUE DRAWS THEM IN.
WHAT REALLY TURNS THEM OFF IS
MYTH-MAKING.IT'S THE UNUSUAL ACTS AND
SOMETIMES THE SHAMEFUL ACTS
THAT DOES IT. (A question appears on screen -
"Is a basic knowledge of history still useful? - Agenda TVO")
AND IF YOU THINK AS
I THINK, THE WISEST THING WE
CAN DO IS TO CELEBRATE OUR
ACHIEVEMENTS BUT NOT FORGET UPON
WHOSE BACKS THEY WERE BUILT.

Steve says WHAT PARTICULAR
HISTORY ARE YOU TEACHING RIGHT
NOW?

Sean says I TEACH ENVIRONMENTAL
HISTORY SO WE DELVE INTO THE
VERY DEEP PAST, GEOLOGICAL TIME
RIGHT UP TO MODERN TIME.
WE LOOK AT CANADIAN HISTORY
FROM KIND OF AN UNUSUAL PERSPECTIVE.
I TEACH A SECTION OF MY CLASS ABOUT
THE INTRODUCTION OF HORSES
S TO CANADA, THE SPANISH
IN THE 15th, 16th
CENTURIES, A REALLY UNUSUAL
ASPECT OF CANADIAN HISTORY THAT DOESN'T
USUALLY GET INTO THE CANADIAN
HISTORY TEXT BOOKS.
THAT'S THE KIND OF COMPLEXITY THAT DRAWS PEOPLE IN.

Steve says DID YOU TEACH THAT
CLASS TO THE UNIVERSITY?

Sean says IT'S A COURSE FROM THE 1990s
AND WAS PICKED UP AGAIN IN THE LAST FEW YEARS.

Steve asks HOW MANY STUDENTS?

Sean says WE CAP AT 90.

Steve says with surprise YOU HAVE 90
STUDENTS IN THAT CLASS!

Sean replies I HAVEN'T HIT 90 YET.
THE MAX HAS BEEN 75, BUT WE CAP AT 90.

Steve says THAT'S NOT BAD, YOU KNOW!

Sean says YEAH, THERE IS SOME INTEREST -
YOU KNOW, SEEING HISTORY IN A DIFFERENT WAY.

Steve says SHOULD WE, RICHARD,
ACCEPT THE FACT THAT THE NEW
NORMAL IS KNOWING LESS AND NOT
CARING?

Richard says WELL, THE OPPORTUNITY GIVEN
BY THE ANNIVERSARIES COMING UP.
IT'S A FLUKE THE TIMING BUT
IT'S EXCITING.
THERE'S THE OBVIOUS ONE IN 2017
OF THE WORLD WAR.
BUT THERE ARE OTHER TOTALLY DIFFERENT
CELEBRATIONS WE CAN DO.
OBVIOUSLY 2018.
THE MENTION OF THE DISCOVERY OF
INSULIN BY CANADIANS IN 1922.
IT RESULTED IN OUR FIRST EVER NOBEL PRIZES.
AND WHAT IS BEAUTIFUL ABOUT THE
STORY IS TWO PEOPLE GOT THE VOTE.
TWO CANADIANS GOT THE VOTE.
AND THEY BOTH AGREED THAT TWO
OTHERS SHOULD HAVE GOT THE VOTE
AND THEY GAVE HALF OF THEIR
NOBEL PRIZE TO THE TWO OTHERS
WHO SHOULD HAVE GOT IT ACTUALLY.
ONE WHO GOT IT, THE NOBEL PRIZE
OFFICIALLY, WAS A MAN CALLED MCLEOD WHO
DIDN'T DO MUCH.
BUT THAT'S A BEAUTIFUL STORY IN ITSELF.

Steve says IF MICHAEL BLISS WAS
HERE.

Richard says HE WROTE A FINE BOOK.

Steve says HE SURE DID.

Richard says SO WE DON'T HAVE TO
HAVE JUST SOLDIERS AND POLITICIANS

Steve says I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT
WE ARE DOING ANNIVERSARIES HERE.
THAT YOU, WITH YOUR TWO VOLUMES
ON JOHN A, ARE NOT GOING TO POINT OUT THAT
THIS SATURDAY IS HIS HUNDRED AND NINETY NINTH
BIRTHDAY, AND WE ARE ATTEMPTING, I GUESS,
TO CREATE SOME MOMENTUM TO HIS BIRTHDAY NEXT YEAR

Richard says I DIDN'T WANT ANYBODY TO
THINK I WAS JUST PLUGGING MY BOOK.

(General laughter)
Steve says THAT'S OKAY.
PLUG AWAY.

He continues DIANE, AGAIN WE HAVE TWO EXTREMES
GOING HERE. ON ONE HAPND THE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF
WORLD WAR ONE AND THE OPPORTUNITY
THAT REPRESENTS VERSUS - SOME APATHY
THAT SEEMS TO BE SOMETHING WE'RE CONCERNED ABOUT HERE.
HOW DO YOU SEE THAT PLAYING OUT?

Diane says ACTUALLY I THINK AS MY
COLLEAGUE SAID EARLIER EVERY
MOMENT HAS TO BE SEEN.
AS WE KNOW WE ARE WORKING WITH
THE MEDIA.
THE MEDIA WILL MAKE A BIG THING
OUT OF THE ANNIVERSARY.
THE YOUNGER GENERATION THEY WATCH.
THEY ARE VERY MUCH IN TUNE WITH
WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE MEDIA.
SO WE HAVE TO SEIZE THE MOMENT.
I BELIEVE IN THE MORE - DIACHRONIC LEVEL
THAT THE IMPORTANCE
OF TEACHING HISTORY AND
INSISTING ON THE KNOWLEDGE OF
HISTORY BEFORE COMING TO THE
UNIVERSITIES IS VERY IMPORTANT.
I KNOW THAT THIS DOMAIN, THIS
SUBJECT HAS BEEN NEGLECTED IN
THE CURRICULUM OF THE HIGH SCHOOLS.
THIS IS -- I BELIEVE IT'S PART
OF THE PROBLEM THAT THE YOUNGER
CANADIANS, THEY DEFINITELY
DON'T SEE WHY THEY HAVE TO EVEN
ADDRESS IN ALL THESE EVENTS.
SO SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE
DICHRONICALLY AND SYNCHRONICALLY.
BECAUSE I FEAR THAT WE ARE AT
THE TURNING POINT.
AND WITH THIS EXTREME
FASCINATION THE YOUNG PEOPLE
HAVE WITH NEW TECHNOLOGY,
UNLESS WE DO SOMETHING -- AND
WHEN I SAY SOMETHING, AT ALL
LEVELS, POETS, ARTISTS,
EVERYBODY SHOULD CONTRIBUTE TO
THIS PROJECT OF KEEPING OUR
HISTORY ALIVE, MAKING IT
RELEVANT AND SPECIFICALLY
SHOWING TO THE YOUNG PEOPLE HOW
FOR THEM -- BECAUSE WE LIVE IN
A WORLD WHICH EVERY PERSON SEES
THEMSELVES AS AN INDIVIDUAL.
SOMEBODY WHO IS VERY MUCH
EMBODIED IN THEIR OWN PROBLEM.
HOW IT CAN BE RELEVANT FOR
THEM.

Steve says LET ME FOLLOW-UP ON
THAT BECAUSE WE TALKED ABOUT
THE ROLE OF THE AUTHOR, THE
ROLE OF THE HISTORY PROFESSORS,
I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE ROLE
OF THE MASS MEDIA.
HOW WELL IS THE MASS MEDIA DOING AT KEEPING
PEOPLE ENGAGED IN THEIR HISTORY?

Matt says NOT WELL.
WE DON'T HAVE -- FRANKLY -- IF
IF I FOCUS ON PRINT, WHICH IS MY
USUAL AREA OF EXPERTISE, WE
HAVE SO FEW PAGES LEFT BECAUSE
WE HAVE SO LITTLE ADVERTISING
THAT WE GIVE OVER AS MUCH AS
POSSIBLE TO WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY.
WE HAVE VERY LITTLE TIME LEFT OVER
FOR WHAT MAY HAVE HAPPENED A HUNDRED YEARS AGO,
BUT THERE ARE SIGNS OF HOPE I THINK.
AS I JUST SAID WE NEED A LEVERAGED
TECHNOLOGY TO DO THIS.
ONE THING I THOUGHT WAS
MAGNIFICENT WAS - ABOUT SIX WEEKS AGO -
THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY
OF KENNEDY'S ASSASSINATION IN DALLAS WHERE
THERE WERE LONG ESSAYS, RADIO
SPECIALS, TELEVISION SPECIALS.
ALL OF THEM WERE VERY INTERESTING
ONE OF THE MOST BRILLIANT
THINGS WAS THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
TWEETING IN REAL TIME ON A
FIFTY YEAR OLD ECHO, THE WIRE
MESSAGES THAT WERE GOING IN.
PRESIDENT KENNEDY IS LANDING IN DALLAS,
PRESIDENT KENNEDY IS GIVING HIS BREAKFAST SPEECH.
SHOTS FIRED IN THE PLAZA.
IT WAS CHEAP.
IT WAS MASSIVE.
IT SENT SHIVERS DOWN MY SPINE.
IT WAS AN ECHO OF HISTORY,
IN REAL TIME ACROSS FIFTY YEARS.
IF WE DO MORE THINGS LIKE THAT
WE WILL DO A FAR BETTER JOB
THAN IF WE JUST COMMISSION ESSAYS MAYBE
TE PERCENMT OF PEOPLE ARE GOING TO READ.

Steve says IT WAS BRILLIANT.
WHAT ABOUT WE TALK ABOUT SCHOOL
BREAKING UP EARLIER? SHOULDN'T WE BE DOING A BETTER JOB
OF TEACHING HISTORY IN THOSE YOUNGER GRADES?
NOW, I THINK YOU WERE SAYING "WE DIDN'T GET HISTORY
CLASS TILL ABOUT GRADE SEVEN (Matt nods).
HOW ABOUT THAT?

Chris sighs and says YOU ARE ASKING A UNIVERSITY
PROFESSOR TO TALK ELEMENTARY. I'M ABOUT THE WORST PERSON

Steve says NOT ONLY YOU, BECAUSE OF COURSE
BY THE TIME THEY GET TO YOU THEIR INTEREST IN HISTORY
IS THERE -- OR NOT, PROBABLY.

He continues SHOULD WE BE DOING A BETTER
JOB?

(tHE CAPTION CHANGES TO "Christopher Dummitt - TRENT UNIVERSITY")
Chris says WHEN I LOOK AT THE SECONDARY TEXT
BOOKS I CONSIDER THEY ARE DEADLY DULL AS WELL. AND
I THINK IT'S PARTLY BECAUSE OF THE LAST THIRTY FOUR YEARS
THERE HAS BEEN ALL OF THIS HODGE-PODGE - ALL THIS FRAGMENTATION
WE JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH IT - HOW
TO BRING IT ALL BACK IN TO MAKE A FASCINATING STORY.
BUT, I THINK WE HAVE HIT ROCK BOTTOM.
PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO TRY TO
FIGURE OUT HOW DO WE TELL A STORY.
WE'VE GOT TO THROW SOME STUFF OUT.
WE CAN'T TELL EVERYTHING.
I THINK RIGHT AT THE MOMENT PEOPLE ARE
ASKING THESE QUESTIONS, THEY'RE GOING TO
START COMING UP WITH THESE STORIES,
THAT WILL TRICKLE DOWN AS PEOPLE TELL THEM.

Matt says YOU CAN PUSH PEOPLE TO iT.
YOU CAN SAY THIS IS THE BARE
BONES, THE SPINE OF OUR HISTORY.
HERE'S THE BILLION THINGS YOU
CAN GO AND SPECIALIZE IN.
YOU CAN GO ANYWHERE ONCE
YOU HAVE THIS INFORMATION.
THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FIRST.
THIS IS WHERE WE START.
AFTER THAT THE WHOLE WORLD IS
YOURS.
ALSO. ONE THING TO ADD TO THAT, THE EARLY
EDUCATION, IT'S NOT JUST THE SECONDARY SCHOOL
TEXT BOOKS ARE DULL.THEY'RE BEING TAUGHT BY NON-EXPERTS
THE TEACHERS I WAS TAUGHT
HISTORY BY, PROBABLY HALF A DOZEN, MAYBE ONE
OF THEM CONSIDERED HIMSELF A HISTORY
TEACHER - THE REST WERE MATH TEACHERS,
WHO HAD A JOB, SO OKAY, WELL THIS TERM I HAVE TO
PICK UP AN HOUR A DAY.
OKAY, I GUESS BECAUSE I READ A
LOT I'M THE GUY TEACHING
HISTORY.

Steve says KIDS CAN TELL.

Matt says ABSOLUTELY.
THEIR INTEREST WAS MUCH DEEPER THAN
THE TEXTBOOK.

Sean says OH ABSOLUTELY - CHRIS, YOU MIGHT
AGREE WITH ME, WITH FIRST YEAR STUDENTS
NINE OUT OF TEN TIMES WHEN I
ASK WHY THEY ARE TAKING THE
COURSE IT IS BECAUSE OF THE
TEACHER THEY ENGAGED WITH AT HIGH SCHOOL.
SO THEY ARE THE BEST FEEDERS
FOR STUDENTS AT UNIVERSITY LEVEL
IF THERE'S ANYTHING WE CAN DO
AT THE HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL, IT'S TO
MAKE SURE THAT THOSE TEACHERS ARE
SUPPORTED WELL ENOUGH TO INSPIRE THE
NEED TO CONTINUE TO INSPIRE THEIR
STUDENTS TO TAKE THE COURSE AT UNIVERSITY.

Steve says WE HAVE ONE MORE QUESTION.
LET ME PUT ONE MORE ISSUE ON THE TABLE.
I'M STARTING WITH YOU DIANE, BECAUSE
THE PERSON I WANT TO TALK ABOUT
IS ACTUALLY IN THE SAME CITY
YOU ARE IN NOW.
THAT IS OUR PRIME MINISTER.
WE HAVE A PRIME MINISTER WHO
IS A HISTORY NUT.
WE HAVE A PRIME MINISTER WHO
CARES A GREAT DEAL ABOUT HISTORY.
AND IN FACT HAS JUST WRITTEN A BOOK.
IT'S ABOUT HOCKEY. HOCKEY HISTORY.
DOES HAVING A PRIME MINISTER ON
THE CASE, AS IT WERE, MATTER?

Diane says ABSOLUTELY.DEFINITELY.
I THINK IT'S VERY IMPORTANT
THAT WHOEVER IS THE HEAD OF THE
STATE HAS TO SHOW THAT OUR
COUNTRY IS NOT BORN TWO
MINUTES AGO, YOU KNOW.
AND THAT WE HAVE TO VISIT THE PAST.
OBVIOUSLY IN THE CASE OF A CONSERVATIVE
GOVERNMENT IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING.
THE EMPHASIS OF THE WORD CONSERVATIVES.
THEY CONSERVE THINGS, RIGHT?
THEY'RE NOT BY-PASSING THEM.
SO IT'S TOO BAD, YOU ARE KNOW,
THAT NOT EVERY PRIMESTER SHOULD
BE ENGAGED WITH THIS NATION
BUILDING, IDENTITY BUILDING, ON
A DAILY BASIS. THIS IS IT.
WE CAN NOT AGAIN CREATE BIENTITIES --
NOW WE DO HISTORY.NOW WE DO REAL LIFE.
THIS INTERACTION, THIS
INTERFACE BETWEEN THE TWO HAS
TO BE ORCHESTRATED AND I
BELIEVE THAT IF WE HAVE A HEAD
OF STATE WHO IS VERY MUCH
INTERESTED IN HISTORY IT WILL
TRICKLE DOWN TO THE DEPARTMENT
OF EDUCATION, TO THE OTHER
SPACES WHERE THE CITIZENSHIP IS BUILT.
SO I THINK IT'S A VERY GOOD THING.
I COMMEND HIM FOR THAT.

Sean says I THINK HE HAS TO PUT HIS
MONEY WHERE HIS MOUTH IS, THOUGH.
HE MAY SPEAK A LOT ABOUT HIS
INTEREST IN HISTORY BUT THE WAY
THE DOLLARS GO, THEY DO NOT GO TO HISTORY.
THE FOLKS AT THE LIBRARY ARCHIVES OF
CANADA WOULD SURELY DISAGREE.
AND CERTAINLY THE FOLKS AT DSO IN THE LIBRARIES.
THE DEPARTMENTS ARE SHUTTING
DOWN MOST OF THEIR REGIONAL LIBRARIES RIGHT NOW.
AND A HUGE TROVE OF MATERIALS THAT ARE
IMPORTANT TO KNOW ENVIRONMENTAL HISTORY - THE
BASELINE HISTORY OF OUR
FISHERIES, IT IS LITERALLY
BEING THROWN IN THE GARBAGE.
THE MAJOR LIBRARY IN WYNNE HAS
JUST BEEN CLOSED.
THE BOOKS ARE THERE FOR ANY ONE IN
THE PUBLIC OR SECTOR TO TAKE.
THE REMAINDER ARE GOING TO BE CHUCKED.

Steve says RICHARD, THE REASON I ASKED
THE QUESTION IS THAT WE HAVE IN
THE PAST ALMOST COUPLE OF YEARS NOW HAD QUITE A
FOCUS ON THE TWO HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE
WAR OF 1812.
WE HAD QUUITE A FOCUS IN THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO
WHERE MUCH OF THE WAR WAS FOUGHT,
YOU DO PUBLIC OPINION SURVEYS
ACROSS THE COUNTRY THOUGH.
THE WHOLE CAMPAIGN INITIATED BY
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, KIND OF
LANDED LIKE A LEAD BALLOON.
THE NUMBERS SHOWED THAT PEOPLE
WEREN'T THAT INTERESTED IN IT

Richard says IT WAS IN QUéBEC AND
TO SOME DEGREE. NOTHING HAPPENED AS WELL,
BUT THAT'S THE NATURE OF CANADA.
SO, THERE ARE VERY FEW THINGS THAT
ARE CANADIAN COAST TO COAST.
BUT I DISAGREE WITH WHAT YOU SAID.
THIS GOVERNMENT HAS THIS ISSUE YOU
RAISED, TO DEAL WITH THE
ARCHIVES, YOU ARE QUITE CORRECT ON THAT.
I DON'T KNOW ABOUT THE OTHER ONE, THE
FISHERIES LIBRARY.
BUT THE GOVERNMENT IS TRYING.
IT HAS PUT MONEY INTO -- THEY
PUT TOO MUCH MONEY ACTUALLY INTO 1812.
THEY WOULD HAVE DONE BETTER TO
SPREAD IT OUT TO OTHER AREAS.
BUT THAT IS A START.
IT IS PUTTING MONEY INTO A
CELEBRATION OF CONFEDERATION.
IT'S PUTTING MONEY INTO A
CELEBRATION OF JOHN A.
MACDONALD'S ANNIVERSARY BIRTHDAY,
IT'S THE FIRST GOVERNMENT TO DO THAT.
THE LIBERALS SAID NO TO A
NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY.
YOU KNOW, THE LIBERALS AREN'T SO PERFECT --
(He discusses the point with Sean)

Richard says WAIT A SECOND.
THE LIBERALS DID THAT BESIDES ALSO
SENDING OUR TROOPS TO AFGHANISTAN.
BUT YOU KNOW, THIS IS STRANGE
THAT WHEN A GOVERNMENT NOT WITH
IMPECCABLE ACCURACY, DOES TRY
TO MOVE INTO THE AREA OF
ENCOURAGING HISTORY, THE BASIC
RESPONSE OF HISTORIANS IS TO
SAY, NO, I DON'T TRUST YOU,
DON'T DO IT.

Steve says SADLY, FOLKS, WE ARE HISTORY.
TIME'S UP. THANK YOU ALL FOR COMING
DIANE PACOM THANK YOU, GREAT TO HAVE YOU
ON THE LINE FROM THE NATION'S CAPITAL.
THE FOUR OF YOU IN THE STUDIO,
WE HAVE ALL FORGOTTEN THE MAIN
REASON WHY YOU SHOULD STUDY HISTORY.
AND THAT IS, IT'S FUN.
THAT'S THE BEST WAY TO DO IT.
GOOD OF YOU TO JOIN US AT TVO.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Watch: Ignorant of History?