every war in history has had resisters, even the war of 1812

It's the 200th anniversary of The War of 1812, and the government would like us to remember that.

Here's something you might not find in the official story: not everyone was so keen to fight. My friend Jonathon Hodge, a librarian in Toronto, did some research on the war resisters of 1812: "The War of 1812 – like all wars – was not all glory and righteousness. Not even mostly glory and righteousness."

In the Discover Canada citizenship guide, I read that the Battle of Vimy Ridge was a nation-building event. Stephen Harper says the War of 1812 was a "seminal event in the making of our great country". I'd argue that other milestones in a country's development actually shape the character of the people more than the large numbers of people killed in far-off lands. In comments on his post, Jonathon suggests that the Canada we now know was shaped by more recent struggles of the labour movement, by public health care, by bilingualism and multiculturalism.

Perhaps a seminal event in the making of our great country was declaring ourselves, however briefly, a nation of peace and a refuge from militarism.

Update: Elizabeth May: The War of 1812 and the Surrender of 2012.

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