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Vivian from Krikland, Quebec asks:

There has been a force underway in Canada to remake Louis Riel into a hero and a Father of Confederation. Taking all the historical facts into consideration, do you believe this is an example of revising history to conform with present-day political maneuverings to appease a specific group whose votes you hope to gain?

Bob Bothwell responds:

Of course this is an example of revising history or, to put it another way, romanticizing it. I disapprove and got into big big trouble on "As it Happens" one evening, debating with Denis Coderre who subsequently became a Chretien minister. I called the resolution of the House of Commons on the subject "parliamentary imbecility." I think my position is clear! Historians have no business in politics, but it seems to me that politicians have no business in history. The past will take care of itself without this kind of interference which, in any case, has no bearing on the truth or falsity of an historical interpretation. Mr. Coderre got rather angry with me and so, it seems, did most of the "As it Happens" listeners. I think Canadians like their history revised, and slightly stirred.Continue

 

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