Our View: War of 1812 offers lessons

As with all myths, it can be difficult to determine historic reality from the “messaging” written after the hostilities ended.

This weekend, Canadians from sea to sea to sea will participate in our ongoing attempt at nation building.

Canada Day celebrations are everywhere and promise to be even more prevalent this year, on the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

Like every country, ours is founded on myths. Some of Canada’s earliest heroes – Laura Secord and Issac Brock – date back to that war, which established that North America would be home to a distinctly British nation as well as an American republic.

In classrooms, Canadians learn to take pride in the defence of our homeland and how our nation was forged by our battles against a much larger army of American invaders.

And like all myths, it can be difficult to determine historic reality from the “messaging” written after the hostilities ended.

Thankfully, the bicentennial of that war has prompted both government and media to dig deeper into the history of the muddied narrative of the War of 1812.

The documentaries and reenactments will bring the lessons of this conflict to new generations who may know little about the significance of this war.

The books and newspaper features will dig up new information from the archives that will shed more light on how events actually unfolded.

But, as happens every time we really look at ourselves in the mirror, we will see things we might wish we hadn’t. For as much as our earliest settlers stood nobly against the African slave trade and raids on aboriginal lands, those early Canadians also closed off the country to the spirit of development and innovation that allowed the U.S. to blossom.

After the War of 1812, as both countries went their separate ways, we spent decades as a country that severely restricted many of the rights – such as religious freedom and democratic principles – that are cherished today. But from that tyranny of conformity emerged a character that would eventually come to be known as among the most tolerant and peaceful in the world: Canada.

Just Posted

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

Sun on its way after Greater Victoria sees wettest July in six years

Environment Canada meteorologists say the drizzle is likely to end soon

Mayor’s charity tournament sells out both Bear Mountain courses

23rd annual event raises funds to make ‘a positive difference in Langford’

After Victoria dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

VIDEO: 1,400 classic cars roll into Victoria for Deuce Days

The four-day festival highlights classic hot rods, with a special emphasis on cars built in 1932

POLL: Do you carry reusable shopping bags?

While a court ruling determined the City of Victoria’s plastic bag ban… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of July 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Most Read