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Reading comprehension (III)


 

Jason Kenney, last weekThe minister said the information booklet that leads to the citizenship test has a page on recycling, but he said he doesn’t recall seeing one paragraph on Confederation.

Jason Kenney, interviewed in this week’s issue of Maclean’s. “Right now, if you look at the preparatory booklet for the test, there’s three sentences, I think, on Confederation history, and not one single sentence about Canadian military history.”


 

Reading comprehension (III)

  1. Future headline: “If you look at booklet materials for the citizenship test, you’ll find that the section on military history contains NO MENTION of the Boer war!” – Jason Kenney

  2. One of these days, Kenney will get around to actually reading the preparatory booklet.

      • My rental car was broken into, window smashed, etc., earlier today. Crime problem is for real. They even took my citizenship booklet.

        • LOL. The thieves of Saskatoon are known for civic ardour.

  3. Three sentences constitute a paragraph nowadays? If so, Kenny is wrong. If not, then he’s not.
    “Not one paragraph” doesn’t mean “not one word,” nor does it mean “not one sentence.” His argument that little attention is given to Confederation history remains valid, if he considers 3 sentences to be insufficient to form a paragraph.

    • Merriam-Webster dictionary:

      Paragraph:

      1 a: a subdivision of a written composition that consists of one or more sentences, deals with one point or gives the words of one speaker, and begins on a new usually indented line b: a short composition or note that is complete in one paragraph
      2: a character (as ¶) used to indicate the beginning of a paragraph and as a reference mark

    • “Confederation
      On July 1, 1867, the provinces we
      now know as Ontario, Quebec,
      New Brunswick and Nova Scotia
      joined together to create the new
      country of Canada. This is known as
      Confederation. Confederation was
      made official by the British North
      America Act of 1867.
      As time passed, other provinces and
      territories joined Confederation and
      became part of Canada.”

      from page 12 of this:

      http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/pdf/pub/look.pdf

      it goes on to provide a chart showing the dates of subsequent provinces/territories joining

    • Though there’s actually three paragraphs and a chart.

      What does Jason Kenney want… a full history test? The immigrants in this country know more about our basics than most Canadian-born people do, as proven time and time again by polls.

      Should they be Canadian History and Poli Sci profs before coming here?

    • Well, according to Webster’s:

      Paragraph 1 a: a subdivision of a written composition that consists of one or more sentences, deals with one point or gives the words of one speaker, and begins on a new usually indented line b: a short composition or note that is complete in one paragraph2: a character (as ¶) used to indicate the beginning of a paragraph and as a reference mark

      So I guess Kenney was right. He didn’t see one paragraph. He saw two.

      Unless Jason Kenney has is own rules of grammar, and more robust personal requirements around a minimum necessary sentence requirement for Kenney Paragraph Status(TM).

  4. Here’s all the booklet says on Confederation. Page 12.

    “On July 1, 1867, the provinces we
    now know as Ontario, Quebec,
    New Brunswick and Nova Scotia
    joined together to create the new
    country of Canada. This is known as
    Confederation. Confederation was
    made official by the British North
    America Act of 1867.
    As time passed, other provinces and
    territories joined Confederation and
    became part of Canada.
    When did your province or territory
    join Confederation?”

    • If every 23-year-old in Canada — OK, half of them — knew that much, we’d be making real progress. Sadly, the stats on basic Canadian history are inflated by our recent immigrants, the kind who read this pamphlet.

      Jason Kenney might take note that he is Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, i.e. citizenship as a whole, not just citizenship as it pertains to immigration. It’s absurd to knock immigrants’ knowledge of Canadian history when it’s better than that of born-in-Canada Canadians and when the overall standard is so abysmally bad.

    • You missed the chart which shows when each province joined.

      Again, the immigrants actually study this and know the dates of each province joining confederation. How many people born in Canada know the date their province joined confederation?

      Shall we give a citizenship test to all folks born here? Polls over the last few years say we’d have to kick out over half of those born here.

      I bet Jason Kenney couldn’t name the date of confederation of all 10 provinces.

  5. Someone should remind Jason Kenney that he is the Minister. His party has been in power for three years – if the pamphlet is so terrible, he should quit whining about it and have it re-written already. Maybe Jason just misses being in opposition.

    • Exactly right. They refuse to govern, and they refuse to take responsibility.

      • Ummm. in the article that initially started this was about him asking his department to rewrite the booklet: “Mr. Kenney said his department is conducting a complete review of the citizenship program to improve its content”

          • Is he “attacking it”, by pointing out its shortcomings and suggesting improvements? So far, his comments appear appropriate. While the pamphlet makes fleeting mention of Confederation (somewhat inaccurately) it doesn’t do much in the way of explaining its historical context or significance. Surely we can do better?

          • His tone is one of shock & horror. “A page on recycling and nothing about Robert Stanfield!”

            If you don’t like it, fix it! You’re the Minister! You can’t have it both ways!

  6. How large is the material as a whole and how many subjects are covered?

    And I think it’s safe to say “not a single paragraph” in the context of official prepared remarks should be taken to mean ‘nothing’. If some amount different (smaller or larger) than one paragraph was mean, different wording should have been used.

    • I’m not sure they were “officially prepared remarks”. But even if they were, the quote was to the effect that he couldn’t recall if there was even a paragraph. The point, surely, unless you really want to attack the messenger and not the message, is simply that Mr. Kenny doesn’t think the current pamphlet adequately addresses the issue of who we are as a nation. Surely that’s a legitimate concern for the Minister to express, even if you don’t agree with him?

      • I concede that very well may be a grammatical possibility. Although now I am concerned the Minister in charge of a booklet expresses grave concern and promises reform of its contents, yet isn’t exactly sure what those contents are or if he remembers them properly.

        • Well, as Minister, he’s responsible for more than a booklet. I wouldn’t parse his sentences too closely if I understood the thrust of his argument, which is that we might need to develop a greater sense of Canadian identity. The booklet itself does try, but it is lamentably short on giving any context to our institutions, and he is quite right about no mention at all of any military history. The Plains of Abraham, the War of 1812, the revolts in Upper and Lower Canada, the Riel rebellions, the Fenian invasions, WWI and WWII, Korea, etc etc. are all unmentioned. But we are “peacekeepers”. Even the poor United Empire Loyalists simply appear on the scene as refugees from some undisclosed natural disaster.

          Of course it is hard, perhaps impossible, to encapsulate the identity of our country within a single document like this – even if we could, collectively, agree on such an identity. But perhaps it isn’t unreasonable for the Minister in charge of integrating immigrants into our community to think of the issue and suggest we could do things better?

  7. Well, yes, let’s take it one step further and make it better. Let’s start by making it a citizen booklet, not an immigrant booklet. Let’s form volunteer committees from every province and territory, and all get virtually together to discuss what the collective ‘we’ thinks is important to know about our history and our country.

    But let us NOT hire consultatns, engage in focus groups, or polling. Let us NOT rent a stadium to have the committees actually get together (a yahoo group would do nicely–for free). And let us NOT pay an honorarium to the participants. I’m fairly certain the Minister could find enough people willing to do it for the love of the country, just by asking us. Oh yes, and let us NOT start off these committees with a guideline of what the Minister wants in the booklet. Let’s make the committees more than rubber stamps.

    Maybe it would be easier just to complain about the current immigrant booklet.

    • Jenn, that is a fantastic idea. It would get ordinary Canadian citizens directly involved in the process of citizen-making.

      • Thanks, Jack and CR–wait till you hear my idea for resolving the economic crisis moving forward. Well, my idea in conjunction with my VERY Conservative boss–we agree!

  8. What should be covered in the booklet?

    I’ll start: The underground railroad.

    • Also, the Metis Rebellion.

    • Good one!

      Can we have an open thread, Aaron, for citizenship booklet? Who needs a Minister!

    • The FLQ crisis, night of long knives and subsequent Quebec referenda.

      • Ooh, yes please! You know, I was alive for all of that, and I probably know the least about it of all the choices so far.

        • It’d be a tough one to present without controversy though… too close to home. I would say we should wait until no one was alive during those times, however I think it’s unfair to future citizens to not mention the bubbling controversy that sits on the back burner.

      • POW camps in Canada, WW II.

    • War of 1812, incl. the significant First Nations contribution.

      • Does that mean we need to teach about Laura Secord as well? I remember in elementary school having her story beat into my head with a hammer, repeatedly, over many years. So much so that I stopped asking for ice cream every time we passed a Laura Secord store in the mall.

        • Awwww….. I was actually thinking there could be some synergic tie-in with Laura Secord chocolates to stimulate young students’ interest! Back to the drawing board . . .

    • Camp X and a man named Intrepid.

    • Umm guys we already have this “booklet” but it’s called the Canadian Encyclopedia.

      • That’s the problem isn’t it? Too much to cover?

        As I’ve said before, I’d be happy if people born in Canada knew everything in the booklet.

        • King – Byng, that way next time the government nearly topples, you won’t have people pretending that type of stuff is completely unprecedented.

          • Of course there’s too much history for a single booklet–but a line for, say, the top ten will do. I mean, I want to know more about something called “Camp X” and now I’ll know what to Google. We’ll need a website companion to our booklet with more information, and links for even more in-depth detail. But what a great hobby–to find out about and then write our own history our own selves.

            I say this because the one website I can point to as starting my love of Canadian history in general is the one written by the students of Jarvis Collegiate. http://schools.tdsb.on.ca/jarvisci/history/hcontent.htm
            It’s written by students, not some learned professors from some ivory tower, and it is fantastic.

            You know, you don’t HAVE to make the details of these stories as dull as dishwater. Any of them mentioned could make for interesting reading if you wanted to do so, while still giving the facts.

      • Shh. We don’t talk about that.
        It might lead to whispered mention of Mel Hurtig.

    • How about recent conflicts? Afghanistan, for instance?

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