Saturday, September 15, 2012

Harper's Weird War Fetish

Salaberry Leads Voltigeurs at Chateauguay
 What is with Steve Harper's bizarre obsession with the War of 1812?   Canada, at that point, was British territory, more than a half century away from independence.   The war was fought by American forces on one side and predominantly British forces on the other.

Yes, some Canadians fought bravely and well in a small number of militia units, the most distinguished of which were the Voltigeurs of Quebec led by Col. Charles de Salaberry (who, curiously don't seem to be on Harper's radar screen).   At sea it was exclusively Britain versus the United States.

But Canada, especially what would today be considered English Canada, wasn't always an enthusiastic participant in the war.   Many of the settlers in Upper Canada, often relatively recent immigrants from the U.S. drawn by offers of free land, actually didn't care much what side won.   Others were quite pro-American and there were several collaborators among the Canadian ranks.

Just as Harper's vision of anything rarely comports with actual facts or science, his sanitized and jingoistic styling of the War of 1812 is, well, embarrassing.   Perhaps Steve is driven by the way he so badly screwed up his war in Afghanistan that he's clutching at straws from two centuries past.

If you want the straight goods on the War of 1812, not Harper's fantastic delusions, there are several fine books worth a read.  Among them are Pierre Berton's two-volume history of the war, The Invasion of Canada and Flames Across the Border; Mark Zuehlke's, For Honour's Sake, the War of 1812 and the Brokering of an Uneasy Peace;  Donald Hickey's classics, The War of 1812, a Forgotten Conflict and Don't Give Up the Ship, Myths of the War of 1812.

Read these books and you'll realize what an asshole Harper is making of himself and how he demeans Canada and the Canadians who fought in this war for their homeland by rewriting their history for his own grandiose purposes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We made an Imperial Oil mail boy the prime minister - that is the problem.