AMHERST – Bill Green says it’s unfortunate that students in Europe know more about Canada’s role in defeating Nazism than students in this country.
Green, a retired banker with Scotiabank, is working to change that through an organization that strives to education young Canadians about the role their forefathers had during the Second World War.
“What we’re finding is that high school curriculum does not cover a lot of the achievements and accomplishments of Canada and Canadians during the 20th Century,” Green told members of the Amherst Rotary Club on Monday. “In Ontario, the history that is taught is Canadian history in the 20th century and it’s compulsory. It’s not in Nova Scotia.”
Green is joining with war veterans and service people from the Second World War, Korea, Afghanistan and peacekeeping missions to go into high schools across northern Nova Scotia to talk to students about the immense sacrifice young Canadians made on foreign battlefields in war and maintaining the peace.
The program, Remembering Canada’s Heroes (We Will Remember Them), has already been to Parrsboro Regional High School and will be at the Oxford Regional Education Centre on Wednesday and Pugwash District High School next Monday.
Green said the program is also going to the North Nova Education Centre in Westville and will also be making appearances at Springhill High and Amherst Regional High School in November.
Green said the organization was formed in Ontario around 2006 and he visited more than 200 high schools in that province over several years. He hopes to visit as many high schools in Nova Scotia as possible and he’s hoping students, parents and community members will all write to their MLAs and Education Minister Ramona Jennex urging her to making 20th century Canadian history a required education.
Ray Coulson, curator of the North Nova Scotia Highlanders Regimental Museum, said others around the world have a greater appreciation of what Canadian soldiers did in liberating parts of Europe from Nazi control in the 1940s.
“If you were to go overseas to Holland and wear the maple leaf, people are very appreciative because they have been taught about what Canada did for them,” Coulson said. “In France, they still teach about a guy from Oxford and what he did to give rations to starving families. Nineteen-year-olds know more about what the North Nova Scotia Highlanders did than adults in Canada.”