Canada Highlights War of 1812, Casting U.S. as Aggressor
Although it produced “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the War of 1812 does not get much attention in the United States. In Canada, however, the federal government is devoting surprising attention to the bicentennial of the conflict, which it describes bluntly in a new television commercial as an act of American aggression against Canada.
Much about the war is fiercely debated by historians but one thing is clear: Canada was not yet a country at the time of the war, which pitted the United States against the British.
As sweeping government budget cuts affect historic sites and national parks, the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has set aside about $28 million for events, advertising and exhibitions to commemorate the war. The government’s enthusiasm has puzzled and angered many people here, where flag-waving forms of patriotism are more subdued than they are south of the border.
“Two hundred years ago, the United States invaded our territory,” a narrator says over dark images and ominous music in the government’s ad. “But we defended our land; we stood side by side and won the fight for Canada.”