Student Voices: The new history curriculum

The controversial changes made to the history curriculum made nation-wide headlines and for good reason. Since 1984, our ministry of education has been adjusting Quebec’s history program, but only in 2012 did it go live when the Parti Québécois Education Minister, Marie Malavoy wanted to alter the history program to show how Quebec’s nationalism shaped our province. The concept has been taken into the hands of Quebec’s Education Ministry with the finalized version being put into trial mode at several different school around Quebec last and this school year.

My major cause for concern with the new textbooks is that they entirely exclude Quebec’s immigrant populations, Italians, Irish, Caribbean, Jewish, etc. populations. Immigrants that have come to Quebec to live, are the reason for such diversity among our cities, especially Montreal. Without the people who have travelled here, our city would lack culture and diversity among our people. Montreal is one of the few cities in our province that has a whole neighbourhood dedicated to Chinatown, and a street lined up with stores that provide authentic goods from various countries from around the world. Without including this in our history textbooks, we erase all the diversity that Quebec should take pride in.

Also, by zoning in on Quebec’s nationalism, the fight between the French and the English, this completely disregards the lives of Natives, their mistreatment, and the reality of slaves in Canada. Without our history class, most students would be unaware of the truth of Canada’s grim past. We mistreated Natives, slaughtered them, released epidemics, introduced harmful substance that created horrid aftereffects, put them through residential schools and enslaved them along with slaves from Africa. If this isn’t taught in schools, future generations will not understand the importance of our past, and the importance to fight racism and fight against discrimination towards our Native people.

The entire textbook is a polished version of the truth, wiping away anything that makes us look bad. This not only fosters the belief that racism is a problem in Canada but will provoke them to point fingers to the US and other countries alike, whose history has been made clear in their textbooks. Our past is important to be taught in all high schools across Quebec and Canada.

I’m Lydia Canals, a secondary 5 student at Westmount High School and I am very concerned about the implementation of a new history curriculum.

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