“I could understand that, if it was taught exclusively to the French-speaking majority,” Commins said. “But it's not. It's taught to all of us.”
MONTREAL – Quebec’s high school history course is about to undergo changes, some of which are alarming to members of the anglophone community.
The province is being criticized for putting anglophones and minorities on the back burner in its new Secondary three and four history curriculum.
Global News Senior Anchor Jamie Orchard sat down with John Commins, a longtime history teacher and member of the review committee for the previous history program.
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“This is a conservative-nationalist version of Quebec’s past,” Commins said.
He said the new curriculum is intentionally one-sided, even leaving out Jacques Parizeau‘s famous concession speech blaming “money and the ethnic vote” after the 1995 referendum.
READ MORE: Anglophones, minorities excluded from new Quebec history course: teacher
Commins’ concern is that anglophones aren’t shown accurately.
“They’re not viewed as builders, as constructors, as people who were very much a part of building this political space,” said Commins.
“They’re viewed almost exclusively in opposition or as binaries, which to me is not a very productive way of presenting a course to your kids.”
The argument provided by supporters of the new curriculum are that they are presenting Quebec’s history for Quebecers.
They claim that the province’s historical narrative is incarnated by the French-speaking majority.
READ MORE: Quebec students have ‘sad’ vision of province’s history
“I could understand that if it was taught exclusively to the French-speaking majority,” Commins said.
“But it’s not. It’s taught to all of us.”
Commins said the Ministry’s new curriculum could be rejected by some teachers if they do not feel it is appropriate for the demographics of their students.
Opening up that kind of debate could bring forward voices from the community who want their history told and not suppressed.
“When you see an officially sanctioned text that evacuates or forgets your people’s past and your community’s past and your kids’ past, then it’s time for us to think a little deeper,” he argued.