As a product of the Quebec education system, it was always apparent that what we were being taught was designed to promote a very clear agenda. Robert Wilkins, a retired high school history teacher, reports today in the Montreal Gazette how the provincially-mandated final exam in history has evolved in the decades since separatism raised its ugly head:
Yet far more captivating is the content, and how the subject matter evolved through the years. Its rapid change might also help one better appreciate the present polemics. On the June 1970 examination, for instance, the first 10 questions contained queries about Canada’s system and form of government, as well as the rights and duties afforded by citizenship.
Contrast that with today’s students who receive essentially no instruction in civics whatsoever.
Interestingly as well, the 1970 Canadian History examination employed the word “Quebec” on just one occasion -a reference to the pre-Confederation Conference held in the Vieille Capitale in 1864. On the other hand, the word “Canada” was used repeatedly. Now, of course, it is quite different.
by the early 1990s, what had long been known as “Canadian History” was replaced by the very suggestive title “History of Quebec and Canada” -not the history of Quebec IN Canada but the history of Quebec AND Canada. Increasingly, references to Canada have taken on a biased tinge with the regular June reminders of the hanging of Louis Riel in 1885, the Conscription Crisis of 1917, the federal plebiscite of 1942, the October Crisis of 1970, the “Night of the Long Knives” in 1981, the failure of the Meech Lake Accord in 1990, etc.; in short, anything that in the eyes of those nationalist educators putting the examination together would make Canada look bad and, by inference, Quebec its victim.