By Andy Radia
August 2, 2011
Canada's new citizenship study guide seems to have a Stephen Harper, right-wing slant to it.
Stephen Henighan of Geist Magazine has taken umbrage to the content in a book permanent residents receive prior to taking their citizenship exam.
The booklet, in Henighan's opinion, is a misrepresentation about Canada's past in an attempt to further Stephen Harper's conservative, decentralized, militaristic ideologies.
"Medicare, the policy that Canadians sometimes identify as defining our country, is bypassed in a fleeting reference to the Canada Health Act. Tommy Douglas may have been voted "the Greatest Canadian" in 2004, but his name does not appear here," he wrote.
"The CBC, government aid agencies such as CUSO and CIDA, the right to unionize, gay and lesbian rights — all vanish."
Henighan is especially irked by the booklet's depiction and focus of Canada's military history. Peacekeeping is given one reference whereas the term "war" is mentioned 35 times.
"The booklet states that military service is not a formal obligation of citizenship, but suggests it is "a noble way to contribute to Canada and an excellent career choice," he argues.
"Web addresses are provided for both the Armed Forces and the cadets, a privilege that these pages grant to no other organization."
Henighan's other beefs include the section that divides the nation into five distinct regions an alternative to the geography most of us learned at grade school of a Canada with 10 provinces and three territories.
New citizens will need to identify Ontario and Quebec as one distinct region.
"The majority of residents of both provinces — which is to say, more than half of Canada's population — would . . . reject the notion that they form a single region," he wrote.
Is this booklet part of Harper's Machiavellian plan to train future voters in "very ethnic ridings" to vote Conservative?
Writer Stephen Henighan certainly thinks so.