National-socialist history is easy to write. Everything that our tribe does or did is glorious and justified. Everyone else’s tribe is not important. Their contributions are not contributions, and their existence among us in a vexing provocation. Take Quebec history books for example.
A recent report commissioned by historians from the English language school board said:
MONTREAL — Quebec high school history textbooks are “fundamentally flawed” and should be removed from all schools across Quebec, an expert committee formed by the province’s largest English school board has concluded.
Students in the Grade 9 and 10 Canadian and Quebec history classes are being taught a “skewed, one-sided view of the past that distorts the historical record,” according to the committee report, a copy of which was obtained by The Canadian Press.
The report is the result of work by three historians commissioned by the English Montreal School Board last June to review the controversial history program, which has been criticized by Quebec‘s Indigenous, anglophone and other cultural communities.
The program, compulsory in all high schools across the province since September 2017, “focuses narrowly on the experience of and events pertaining to the ethnic/linguistic/cultural group of French Quebecois from contact until present day,” the report says.
Of course it does. Who else matters?
In the newspaper report, it is significant that the authors dare not even mention the contributions of the two most important non-French groups to the growth of Quebec: the English and the Scotch. Streets named McGill, McTavish, Simpson, Sherbrooke, Argyle, Aberdeen, Carleton and so forth, bespeak an English and Scottish presence that changed Montreal from a collection of fur warehouses by the waterfront into Canada’s metropolis for most of the 20th century.
“The texts largely ignore the contributions of Irish, Italian, Greek, Portuguese, Haitian and other immigrants while offering “no indication these groups helped to transform the city of Montreal,” it continues.
Black history is virtually ignored, the report says, “and women are relegated to a few sidebars or disconnected paragraphs in both textbooks.”
The report concludes the textbooks “are fundamentally flawed and must be withdrawn from all high schools.”
Education Minister Jean-François Roberge has no intention of removing controversial history textbooks from Quebec’s schools.
Despite critics saying the books are “fundamentally flawed” and portray a distorted view of history, especially when it comes to minorities, Roberge said other experts believe the books are just fine.
It’s all a matter of opinion, the minister said, downplaying the issue.
“The current history books were written and approved by a lot of history experts, so I don’t think I will take back the books,” Roberge told reporters Friday at the National Assembly.
Case closed. That was easy!
Two post scripts:
- The same issue was reported in the French press, in identical terms to the English language reports.
- I came across this little nugget of interesting truth. Drawing from a Wikipedia article “Histoire du Francais Quebecois“, I note that the French population of Quebec is derived from some 10,000 people, roughly.
“D’après l’étude exhaustive effectué par le Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH) de l’Université de Montréal, les immigrants fondateurs du Canada français comptent 8 527 personnes, dont 7 656 (90 %) sont originaires de France. Les autres viennent de Belgique, d’Allemagne, de Suisse, d’Italie et même d’Irlande.
Durant la période de 1730 à 1750, on note une diversification des immigrants. On compte des colons du sud de la France, 500 huguenots, quelque 1 000 fugitifs de la Nouvelle-Angleterre et 300 esclaves noirs.”
I do not think that the thousand or so from New England were “fugitifs”; they were prisoners captured by Indians on raids and rescued from slavery by French Canadians. See Francis Parkman for more details on this.
In any case, the French population of Canada is derived from a very small settler group, until more recent immigration after World War 2 began in earnest.