ARCHIVED – Backgrounder — Comments about Discover Canada

Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship was originally launched on November 12, 2009. Following the release of the original guide, many positive comments were made that contributed to a national conversation about who we are as Canadians and what it means to be Canadian.

[Translation] “In short, the government and the historians consulted for the delicate exercise of writing this new immigrants’ guide did a great job.André Pratte, “Guide pour les immigrants: du beau travail,” La Presse, Nov. 15, 2009.

This new textbook for new Canadians is a timely improvement that will better convey to immigrants our shared history, as well as the expectations of life in Canada … Beyond remedying the historical oversights of the previous versions, the new citizenship study guide also provides a clear-eyed and forceful statement of the expectations of current Canadian values … It also reinforces the responsibilities of all Canadian adult citizens: including jury duty, getting a job and obeying the law. This was inexplicably missing from the old booklet … Ottawa’s new citizenship guide properly ensures every new immigrant will know what it really means to be a Canadian.Editorial, “A textbook for Canada,” Maclean’s, Nov. 19, 2009.

It is a fascinating and comprehensive portrait of this country, superior in every way to its drab, anemic and, when it comes to history, amnesiac predecessor … It is important to tell immigrants who we are, where we came from, what we have done right and wrong, what we want most fervently and what we do not desire for Canada. This new guide does all this in a lively, honest and forceful way.Editorial, “A bold portrait of this great land,” Waterloo Record, Nov. 14, 2009.

[Translation] “Some sovereigntists have already condemned the little room given to Quebec—they read the guide too quickly. The “nation of Quebec” is very much present, as is the national holiday and the two sovereignty referendums.Raymond Giroux, “La semaine politique,” Le Soleil, Nov. 14, 2009.

The new citizenship guide … deserves the warm applause of our unconscious nation. The reason? It marks the first serious attempt in decades on the part of the federal government to tell our story, celebrate our past and give definition to our amorphous selves. More broadly, the guide represents a commitment to establish a sense of identity through a new citizenship. This is an antidote to the culture of amnesia and ignorance that has contributed to ‘the incredible lightness of being Canadian.’” Andrew Cohen, “What is expected in Canada,” Ottawa Citizen, Nov. 17, 2009.

A new guide called ‘Discover Canada’ was released to awaken Canadians, who are generally unaware of their present, history, culture and social values. Although Discover Canada is mainly a guide to help new immigrants prepare for their citizenship test, it is also very helpful for the general Canadian public because they too have very little knowledge about Canada.Editorial, “Canadian citizenship guide,” Hindi Abroad, Nov. 17, 2009.

Canada has been shortchanging Canadian immigrants preparing for their citizenship tests with a bad guidebook. The federal government’s newly revised preparatory booklet distributed to test-takers, to be released today, is a welcome move that places a new and appropriate emphasis on Canada’s history and personalities … The new guide shows how the country is special, and does so with vigour. In telling Canada’s stories, and the conflict, characters and challenges therein, it will enhance new Canadians’ attachment to their country.Editorial, “Citizenship guide,” Globe and Mail, Nov. 12, 2009.

The new edition of the 62-page guidebook is a solid step toward a healthy, self-respecting Canadian nationalism we can all share.Editorial, “An important message for all newcomers,” Montreal Gazette, Nov. 13, 2009.

It should be a no-brainer: every Canadian old and new should have some knowledge of Vimy, Dieppe and all the other hard moments that forged our identity and tempered our soul, along with the grace of non-military events (discoveries, artistic achievements, expressions of vision) that did the same—not to mention the old and apparently inextinguishable griefs that seem to keep us ticking … Without that sense of who we are and how we got to be this way, how can we participate in a shared identity?Janice Kennedy, “Nurturing the national soul,” Ottawa Citizen, Nov. 15, 2009.

The recently published government guide for new citizens is, by and large, a well thought-out document—it should even be distributed to high-school students, who know so little of Canada’s history … Another good point is the guide’s historical accuracy—a sharp contrast with the guide published in 1995 under the Chrétien government, which evoked a rather utopian country … All references to Quebec and the history of the French Canadians are impeccable.Lysiane Gagnon, “A realistic guide to Canada,” Globe and Mail, Nov. 23, 2009.

[Translation] “This guide has some great features: it emphasizes the fact that rights come with responsibilities, discusses Canada’s contribution to both world wars…, shows respect for Quebec by highlighting its history and uniqueness, and respects the three founding peoples.Lysiane Gagnon, “Un guide bien fait,” La Presse, Nov. 17, 2009.

Discover Canada is a marked improvement over its predecessorIt [the citizenship guide] also shows more respect for immigrants, by giving a more complete picture of the country they’ve chosen as their own. The old guide whitewashed Canadian history and politics. The new guide is still proud and patriotic, but it includes references to residential schools and Quebec separatism.“Who we are,” Ottawa Citizen, Nov. 13, 2009.

Discover Canada … is a welcome achievement. For the first time in our history, individuals seeking to become Canadian citizens will be provided by their future government with a reasonable, balanced assessment of the national past.Adam Chapnick, “An honest look at Canada,” Ottawa Citizen, Nov. 14, 2009.

The new book gives immigrants an accurate sense of what it takes to be Canadian. And that is a very positive step forward.”  Editorial, National Post, November 16, 2009.

This guide is a good starting point for newcomers and old-timers alike.Editorial, Saskatoon Star Phoenix, Nov. 14, 2009. 

The guidebook is a solid step toward a healthy, self-respecting Canadian nationalism we can all share.Editorial, Montreal Gazette, Nov. 13, 2009.

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