May 7, 2013
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper. P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
Re: The “thorough and comprehensive review of significant aspects in Canadian history” as reported in the minutes of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage
It was with many questions that I first read of this review – planned at a closed door meeting. My questions have been echoed by teachers across Canada as they regard with legitimate concern any direct political intervention into the recording and teaching of history.
Apart from any jurisdictional questions or questions about the lack of expertise of politicians to conduct such a review, there are questions about the process that was used for determining the need for this review and the “hurry-up” nature of the review itself. The minutes of the committee report that late in the day on April 29 at an in camera meeting the review was proposed with the “witnesses” to be selected only two days later on May 1. This process suggests a pre-determined list of possible witnesses and a complete lack of openness and transparency in determining the need for or purpose of the review.
On behalf of the teachers of Canada I request that you exercise the powers of your office to intervene in this process to ensure that any review that does occur is open for public input, representative of the broad spectrum of Canadian society and expertise-based in formulating recommendations for the committee. We look forward to your early response.
Original signed by Paul Taillefer
cc: Hon. Rob Moore, Chair, Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage