Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative
May 6, 2017

With next week's provincial election looming, and the Green Party looking to play a bit of the spoiler, I've been asked several times in the last few days whether BC has ever had a minority government. (Perhaps it is because I edited a giant encyclopedia about the province that people think I know stuff like that.)

To my shame, I didn't actually know, but I hazarded a guess. Yes, once in 1952, when the Social Credit Party was just getting started. In that year's vote, the Social...

May 4, 2017

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My history of the district of North Vancouver, Where Mountains Meet the Sea, has been shortlisted by the BC Historical Federation for one of its book prizes

I'll be in Chilliwack later in the month when the envelope is opened at the BCHF annual meeting...

April 30, 2017

 

One evening this past week I was at an historical society meeting and out of the blue someone asked, "should they remove Begbie?" I knew what she meant and answered, abruptly, No. Sometimes we find out what we think without thinking.

For those of you who missed it, Begbie is Matthew Bailey Begbie, original Chief Justice of British Columbia, and the reference to removal is a decision taken by the Law Society of BC a few days ago to remove the statue of Begbie that has been...

April 13, 2017

Let's indulge in some counterfactuality.

Recently I was doing some house-sitting in Kitsilano, which gave me a chance to visit some of that neighbourhood's historic sights, one of which is here

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on the beach at the bottom of Trafalgar Street, looking across English Bay at the West End.

As you can see, there isn't much there. Now. But at one time the Canadian...

April 11, 2017

This past weekend was the centenary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and I found myself getting irritated at the number of times I heard the old cliche that Canada was born at Vimy.

Much of the journalistic and academic commentary I read about the centennial made the point that this was not true, but nonetheless the generals and the politicians repeated it like a mantra. "Canada was born here," our prime minister said in his speech at the Vimy monument in France.

In their new book...

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