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Nov 08

A must-watch:

Update from the latest Great Canadian Debate on the War of 1812: Opening statements and CPAC broadcast dates

November 8, 2012 – Has the War of 1812 been over-hyped? That was the topic of debate in last night’s [Nov. 7] latest Great Canadian Debate. The Globe and Mail’s Jeffrey Simpson and Canadian historian Jack Granatstein battled it out at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa to a full house.

In case you missed the debate or would like to watch the action again, here is your chance! The debate will be broadcast courtesy of CPAC on Friday, November 9th at 9 pm ET and Saturday November 10th at 8:30 am ET [emphasis added]. Find out how you can tune in by visiting

You can also read the opening statements by Simpson and Granatstein in today’s Ottawa Citizen. Their opening arguments are copied below…

Read on. More on the debate:

Is the War of 1812 being overhyped?

It was in his second defence of his point that no, the War of 1812 has not been overhyped, that historian Jack Granatstein probably made his strongest argument. If we taught our history properly, he told his opponent, Globe and Mail columnist Jeffrey Simpson, we wouldn’t have to hype it; kids would have learned it in school. There might be no need for commemoration…

Mark Collins is a prolific Ottawa blogger

2 Responses to “Mark Collins - Video: Friday Night Fights on CPAC–War of 1812, Granatstein vs Simpson”

  1. MarkOttawa Says:

    I think this letter in the Ottawa Citizen Nov. 9 settles things:

    ‘War did not end in a draw

    Jeffrey Simpson’s argument that the War of 1812 has been overhyped seems to rest to a considerable extent on what I believe is a mistake in his analysis. He states that the war ended “in a draw.”

    It did not. The war was an attempt by the United States to conquer Upper and Lower Canada, and it ended in failure, not a draw. For Britain and its Canadian militia and Indian allies, it was a war to avoid that conquest, and it ended in victory, not a draw.

    When one country tries to conquer another, or the possessions of another, and fails, that is defeat, not a draw. Had both sides been trying to conquer the other, and both failed, then that would have been a draw, but Britain was not trying to conquer the United States.

    Had the United States won, Upper and Lower Canada would be states of the U.S. (like Texas, conquered from Mexico), and there would be no Dominion of Canada. That makes the victory in the War of 1812 an absolutely crucial event leading to the existence of the present-day Canada. That is some-thing all Canadians should know, and the government’s campaign seems to be achieving that, in spite of its distortions and exaggerations. And knowing that we won and that the battle was crucial to our development as a nation is what matters.

    Ed Whitcomb, Ottawa’

  2. MarkOttawa Says:

    By the way, this is from Mr Whitcomb’s website (he was a colleague of mine in the public service):

    “The goal of From Sea to Sea Enterprises is to promote Canadian history and music. It specializes in the history of Canada’s provinces and in Canadian traditional, popular, folk music, especially fiddle music.

    From Sea to Sea Enterprises has produced a series of short histories of all of Canada’s provinces and territories. A Short History of Manitoba was published in 1982, and has sold over 8,000 copies. A Short History of Alberta and A Short History of Saskatchewan were published in 2005. Since then we have published short histories of British Columbia (2006), Ontario (2007), Nova Scotia (2009), New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island (2010), and The Canadian North and Newfoundland and Labrador (2011), and Quebec (2012)…”

    Mark Collins

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