Feature

Canada: Celebrating not war, but peace

The Canadian government keeps trying to get us all worked up about the War of 1812.

Peter Jones
The Globe and Mail

The Canadian government keeps trying to get us all worked up about the War of 1812, said Peter Jones. During this bicentennial year, we’re supposed to re-enact battles and glory in our great victory over the United States. In truth, there was no Canada at the time: The war was fought by British soldiers and natives, and “rather than a stirring Canadian victory, it ended when the Americans largely lost interest.” What we ought to celebrate is not battlefield prowess, but peace. The real legacy of the war “is simply that there never was a repeat.” It produced a tacit agreement that the U.S. and Canada would benefit far more by trading with each other than by trying to conquer each other. If that sounds obvious, think again: “It took those sophisticated Europeans another 150 years and two of the bloodiest wars in history to figure it out.” The alliance between the two neighbors has allowed both to thrive, and at this point the idea of going to war is so ridiculous that it’s fodder for comedy. If you look around the world today, you will quickly realize “just how rare a thing” our mutual peace is. “And it is a thing very much worth celebrating.”

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