Talking History

Ideas and stories about Canadian history

Antony Anderson: Learning from Lester Pearson as Canada Returns to the World's Stage

Book Cover the Diplomat

In Talking History, Canada's foremost historians and history experts show that Canada's history is essential to our understanding of our country and the world today. The series is made possible through a special funding grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Antony Anderson is the author of The Diplomat: Lester Pearson and the Suez Crisis.


For nearly a decade, we have witnessed a season of diplomacy many of us would not recognize as Canadian; a diplomacy which—for those of us who admire how Lester Pearson served on the world stage—all too often evoked something very close to shame. In very consistent fashion, Prime Minister Stephen Harper walked away from the admittedly flawed Kyoto accords but without offering up any kind of plausible alternative and then did what he could to obstruct progress on confronting climate change. While our closest allies continued to engage with Iran, Harper broke off relations—a drastic move in diplomacy and which in thi …

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Lindy Mechefske: Food Stories Are Our Stories—and Our History, Too

The author of Sir John's Table on why food stories are so important to our understanding of the past—and the future. 

Why Non-Indigenous Canadians Need to Share the Burden and Historical Legacies of the Residential School System

Kaleigh Bradley on how the legacy of residential schools continues to ripple throughout Indigenous communities, and what must be done. 

Paul Yee: Canada's Lacklustre Response to the Chinese Refugee Crisis

With another refugee crisis in the headlines, we are reminded that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Hayden King: Lines on the Shore

Stories from the Border of an Island Indian Reserve

Sean Graham: How the CBC Began

At a moment when the future of the CBC is much under discussion, understanding the corporation's past is just as crucial. 

Douglas Hunter on the Dangers of Pseudohistory

Much pseudo theorizing is harmless and silly, but the implied racism of so much pseudohistory is why it is important for historians to counter it.

In Times Like These: On #elxn42 and the Suffragists

For over a century, suffragists fought to acquire rights to expand fairness and justice. They were imperfect but we should care about what they glimpsed.

Emily Urquhart on Urban Legends

Legends help to enforce the codes by which we live, but how we live changes and this affects the stories we tell.

The Forgotten Parts of Food Culture: Unpaid Labour and Drudgery

A food historian explores his grandmother's cookbooks for clues about her everyday life. 

The Unkindest Cut: The Editor, Crime Wave, and Canadian Film

New films have turned a crafty treatment of cultural anxiety into a distinguishing trait of Canadian filmmaking. 

Negotiating a Black Vernacular in Children’s Literature

Shauntay Grant on what makes language sing in North Preston, NS. 

John Lorinc: The City in Four Dimensions

What can urban history teach us about the cities we live in right now?

Magna Carta: From Medieval England to Canada Today

How an obscure thirteenth century charter became the foundation document in the history of democracy, law, and human rights.

Beyond the Books: Canadian History in the Digital Age

The future holds new and exciting ways to present and package history to Canadians.

Rona Maynard on Mental Illness and the REAL Talking Cure

Public perceptions of mental illness have changed enormously in just the last two decades. 

Angela Sterritt: The Legacy of Violence Against Indigenous Women in Canada

For many Indigenous people, the vicious slaying of Tina Fontaine was just one more tragedy among the close to 1200 women documented as murdered or missing in Canada.

Stuart Henderson: Why Lessons of 1960s' Counterculture Still Matter Today

A near-forgotten 1960s' film encapsulates ideas we're still grappling with about how to build a better world. 

Chris Turner: The History of Climate Change

"We live in the age of climate change. Every story is a climate change story. Climate change is not an issue, but rather the roiling sea in which all issues now swim."

Ann Douglas: A Short History of Parental Guilt

Today’s parenting experts are less likely to point the finger of blame than parenting pundits of yesteryear.

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