Grade 9 History of Canada in the Contemporary World, Cluster 3

9-KG-038 Give examples of Canada’s participation within international organizations.

Application: Educators might use several segments from two of the STANDING ON GUARD films to specifically address Canada’s role with NATO.

Disc 2     Film #4: 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry

As one of Canada’s Permanent Force regiments (and the only Permanent Force based in Manitoba) 2PPCLI has been involved front and centre in international conflicts in addition to the First and Second World Wars from the early 20th Century to the present.

Three segments from this film might be used:

  1. The segment on the Korean War and Canada’s participation at the Battle of Kapyong will help students understand Canada’s vital contribution to NATO during the Cold War.  It will also help students appreciate the recent dedication of Kapyong Park in Winnipeg.
  2. The segment on the Medak Pocket incident in the Balkans is an unparalleled example of Canada’s willingness to “step up to the plate” militarily speaking, when necessary.  The Medak Pocket segment clearly shows how 2PPCLI acted on behalf of NATO and Canada to stop ethnic cleansing/genocide and thereby caught the perpetrators in the act.
  3. Following the Medak Pocket segment, some of the interviewed personnel speak about their tours in Afghanistan and provide a perspective unfiltered from normal media.

Disc 2     Film #6: 38 Service Battalion

This is the last film in the STANDING ON GUARD series and brings the regimental histories up to current times by including actual footage from Afghanistan, provided by the Department of National Defence.  It is one thing for students to watch newsreel footage from a bygone era, it is quite another to see current technology on display as well as interviews with veterans of Afghanistan who are still serving and who provide a first-hand perspective on the importance of Canada’s contributions to world affairs.  There are a number of interviews with Afghanistan vets in the film who talk about re-adjusting to life back in Canada.

Discussion: Given Canada’s vital role in the Allied cause in both world wars and its subsequent contributions made to NATO in conflicts like Korea and the Balkans, questions/observations such as the following might stimulate discussion.

  • What if Canada had remained neutral during the world wars?
  • Having participated in both world wars, why is it necessary to continue our commitment to military intervention in hot spots around the world?
  • Weren’t the two world wars enough of a sacrifice?
  •  What if we just stopped participating?
  •  What would be the consequences for Canada and the world if we did stop?
  • It has been observed that Canada’s identity as a nation was shaped through its participation and sacrifice in the First World War.  If culturally-specific regiments such as The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada (which was originally comprised almost exclusively of Canadians of Scottish ancestry) had not formed and had not participated in key conflicts such as Vimy Ridge in the First World War and the Dieppe Raid in the Second World War, might Canadians be less unified today?  (Note how the Camerons have evolved as a multi-cultural unit while maintaining their Scottish roots.)