Winnipeg General Strike via Dickens & Williams

Winnipeg-GeneralStrike10Given the most recent decision by the Canadian Museum of History to rethink the display of the Winnipeg General Strike identified by the Toronto Star last week, we have decided to speak to the significance of the labour action taken almost 100 years through the literacy we have been reading. Both A Street Car Named Desire and Great Expectations discuss notions of class, race, gender, and ethnicity in relation to social justice and we have used this though experiment to look at Winnipeg in 2015.

 

The Politics of Fear?

Photo from MacLean's

Photo from MacLean’s

Lately, we have been speaking about the politics of fear with our recent investigation into Bill C-51. MacLean’s Magazine has recently created an aggregate page looking ta last week’s national discussion on the Niqab and whether or not a state has the right to take away someone’s right to wear what they want a certain ceremonies. You can listen to an interview with Minister Jason Kenney below:

Here is an editorial from the Toronto Star which counters what the Minister states: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/03/14/harper-should-follow-our-secular-law-on-niqab-siddiqui.html?app=noRedirect

Here is Nadia Kidwai, parent of SJR students, in the Winnipeg Free Press: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/analysis/muslims-are-canadians-and-vice-versa-296404181.html

Here are the comments from CPC MP Larry Miller:

What do you think? Should the state be able to restrict the civil liberties of citizens, or does this have to do with another issue?

Let’s use our historical thinking skills to help us understand Canada’s history with restricting civil liberties. Below is a photo of the legislation signed by then Justice Minister Louis St. Laurent designrf to segregate Japanese citizens. St. Laurent would become Prime Minister

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Here is also a fantastic article on the War Measures Act, both in 1914 and 1970, and the alien exclusion legislation (the fastest created in history) created during the Winnipeg General Strike: http://www.therecord.com/opinion-story/4774484-war-measures-act-eroded-civil-liberties/

What do you think? Should women be denied the right to wear a Niqab in Canada? How has Canada defended and restricted civil liberties in history and is this important for our current discussion?

Please use #CCW2015, #SJRLaw and #SJRCanHis to respond, or use the space below. Be concise, courteous , and smart.

What is Winnipeg?

FortGarryToday we spoke at great length as to what was and is Winnipeg on both 1919 and 2015. If you can, reflect on our discussion today, the articles of the past week, including the infamous MacLean’s Magazine article, and your knowledge of the Winnipeg General Strike.

How has Winnipeg stayed the same? What issues does Winnipeg face? What are potential solutions?

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Myth & History: #Warof1812 #sirJAM

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Taken from the Toronto Star

This week, we have looked a great deal at how Canada’s history has often been transformed into mythology, for better or for worse.

We have analyzed a number of historians, events, and positions related to the supposed mythologies of the Winnipeg General Strike, the War of 1812, and Canada’s first Prime Minister, John A. Mcdonald.

We investigated what Desmond Morton referred to in his book Canada: A Short History as the christening of the War of 1812 as Myth (2006, p. 38). From there we looked specifically at the Battle of Queenston Heights from the perspective of two historians, Robert Vineberg and Donald Hickey, who argued that the heroes at Queenston Heights were really Sheaffe and/or Norton, respectively. We then questioned why the Government of would spend $28 Million on commemorations of the War of 1812, when historians, like Morton, seem to deem it not so significant.

Here is an article from the New York Times which looks at the War of 1812 and its politicization. Andrew Cohen is featured in this article and I would encourage you to read his linked article form the Ottawa Citizen (although republished in the Calgary Herald). He suggests that the Harper Government mythologized the War of 1812. Why would the Government do this? Do you agree with Cohen?

Next, as the 200th anniversary of John A.’s birthday is approaching this weekend and all the major papers will be full of “history buffs” explaining why John A. is a hero or villain. (Watch in Saturday’s Winnipeg Free Press.) We read in class Richard Gwyn’s essay on why we should commemorate John A. and we also researched how the Numbered Treaties were essentially negotiated under duress and how the Canadian Government under John A. arguably committed genocide and other atrocities. Here is a review of Daschuk’s book Clearing the Plains which we referenced in our student-led seminars on Big Bear and Riel/Dumont. How is it that John A. can be deemed the Father Figure of Canada, and at the same time have caused such harm?

So…Here we have a few events, people, and positions which have been arguably trumped up as myth. Why do we do this? Why do we create interpretations of history that might be embellished? What does this type of “history” serve? What is our task as critical and historical thinkers when it comes to myth and history?

Do some reading. Do some thinking. Call a classmate and have a conversation about the idea of myth and history, referencing specially the War of 1812, John A. and or the Winnipeg General Strike. Upload your conversation to Soundcloud and tweet it out ususingsirJAM, #Warof1812, and #sjrcanhis. Be sure to use the historical thinking concepts to help you analyze and create arguments. Please tweet out your phone calls by Sunday evening.

“Myth basically serves four functions. The first is the mystical function,… realizing what a wonder the universe is, and what a wonder you are, and experiencing awe before this mystery….The second is a cosmological dimension, the dimension with which science is concerned – showing you what shape the universe is, but showing it in such a way that the mystery again comes through…. The third function is the sociological one – supporting and validating a certain social order…. It is the sociological function of myth that has taken over in our world – and it is out of date…. But there is a fourth function of myth, and this is the one that I think everyone must try today to relate to – and that is the pedagogical function, of how to live a human lifetime under any circumstances.”

Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth