The LaFontaine-Baldwin Project
A joint initiative of the Dominion Institute, John Ralston Saul, La Presse and The Globe and Mail, these articles are published concurrently in French and English. The LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture was delivered Friday, March 9 in Montreal, and broadcast Sunday on CBC Newsworld.
Monday March 5: Our identity trap - by Jocelyn Létourneau
Tuesday March 6: Myths of the West - by John Richards
Wednesday March 7: Atlantic heritage - by Margaret Conrad
Thursday March 8: Living the indigenous part - by Drew Hayden Taylor
Friday March 9: A northern notion - by John Ralston Saul
Discussion Forum: Canadian nationalism
Is Canada suffering from a sick sense of identity?
In his LaFontaine-Baldwin address, Alain Dubuc raises questions about the health of nationalism not just in Quebec, but within all of Canada. Respond to them, and Mr. Dubuc will be on-line today to join the discussion.
Friday, March 9
My Canada includes the North
When Seen from Nunavut, how do our founding parents LaFontaine and
Baldwin look? Rather farsighted, it seems, suggests JOHN RALSTON SAUL
By JOHN RALSTON SAUL
I've been in Pond Inlet for the past three weeks -- 1,000 kilometres north of Iqaluit, near the top of Baffin Island. The peculiar coincidence of writing from here about myths born in south-central Canada imposes its own logic. After all, this is a Canadian reality -- 1,400 citizens in a high-Arctic town, working to fit Inuit culture together with that of the South. The challenge is obvious, even though Pond Inlet is both a successful community and, it must be said, one of the most beautiful in the country.
Thursday, March 8
Seeing red over myths
When What do the people of Canada's First Nations
want? Not to be thought of as one pan-Indian
nation, says Ojibway playwright DREW HAYDEN TAYLOR
By DREW HAYDEN TAYLOR
A year and a half ago, my Mohawk girlfriend and I (a fellow of proud Ojibway heritage) found ourselves in the history-rich halls of Europe, lecturing on Native issues, the propaganda and the reality, at a university deep in the heart of northeastern Germany. Then one young lady, a student at this former communist university, put up her hand and asked an oddly naive question, something like, "Do Indian women shave their legs and armpits like other North American women?" (This was not the strangest question I've had put to me. I keep a list, which includes, "I'm phoning from Edinburgh, Scotland, and am doing research on natives in the 1930s. Can you send information?" or "Where can I get my hands on some Inuit throat singers?")
Wednesday, March 7
To have and have not
When Ottawa sends money to Atlantic Canada, it's called a
handout; elsewhere, it's investment, says historian MARGARET CONRAD
By MARGARET CONRAD
No region of Canada has suffered more from the complex intersection of history, heritage, and myth than the Atlantic provinces. From the angry outburst of Ralph Klein -- "Don't give me that shit" in reference to equalization payments -- to the token treatment of the region in the CBC's much-lauded Canada: A People's History series, Atlantic Canada seems destined to be frozen in a time warp. Indeed, the difficult process of constructing useful public policies for Atlantic Canadians is compounded by the fact that we see ourselves reflected in the nation's media in ways that are increasingly demeaning. While the fault for our poor media image is perhaps our own as much as it is Ralph Klein's or Mark Starowicz's, the result is as destructive as if the rest of Canada lobbed a bomb into the region every so often to keep us in our accustomed place as a throwback to an earlier and less progressive era.
Tuesday, March 6
Blinkered by rectitude
Western Canada's view of itself as self-sufficient makes it less sympathetic to others, argues analyst JOHN RICHARDS
By JOHN RICHARDS
Politics is an endeavour whereby people collectively decide on many matters. Some are mundane: where to build bridges and roads. Some entail moral dilemmas and controversy: how generous should social programs be and who should pay the requisite taxes.
Monday, March 5
We're trapped by mistaken identity
The myths we used in building our nation have made us victims of our past, says Quebec historian JOCELYN LÉTOURNEAU. It's not easy to break the cycle
By JOCELYN LéTOURNEAU
Ask an American for a history lesson on the pre-Civil War era or how the West was won. Unless he is a real history buff, he will draw on images from a few films, television series or classic novels: Gone With the Wind, The Last of the Mohicans, Little House on the Prairie, maybe Dances with Wolves.