Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

Say Hello, Gustav

July 31, 2015


I recently saw the movie Woman in Gold about the legal battle to regain possession of a Gustav Klimt painting taken during the war. It stars Helen Mirren and Vancouver's own Ryan Reynolds, who was not as awful as many critics claimed. 

The movie is very pedestrian but it gives me an excuse to show off one of my prized possessions, a Gustav Klimt finger puppet acquired at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna a couple of years ago.


July 26, 2015

For several years the online Encyclopedia of British Columbia, of which I am the editor, has been available free in schools around the province. This is thanks to an agreement between Harbour Publishing and a consortium of school districts that evaluates online educational resources and makes them available to members.The Harbour website brings the good news that the agreement has...

July 6, 2015

A new issue of Geist magazine (#97) is at the newsstands, and in it a column by yours truly about a new book on the history of war resisters in Canada.

Worth Fighting For is a collection of essays that argue that resistance to war is very much a Canadian tradition. I am particularly interested in the piece by David Tough, an historian at Trent U, that suggests that during World War...

June 19, 2015

According to news reports this week, the provincial government here in BC is going to insist that schoolchildren as young as ten years old be taught about the Indian residential schools, along with other examples of historical injustice, such as the Chinese head tax and the internment of Japanese-Canadians. This in response to the recent report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

"There are many things that have happened in the province of British Columbia," said cabinet...

June 10, 2015

I am an admirer of the journalist/historian Richard Gwyn so I was disappointed to read his response to last week's Truth and Reconciliation report. Everyone knows, writes Gwyn, that Canadians are not the kind of people who engage in cultural genocide.

Really? That is exactly "the kind of people" we are, according to the TRC report and the evidence is overwhelming....

May 26, 2015

Last evening found me at the Book Warehouse on Main Street for a book launch by my pals at Harbour Publishing.

It was Harbour's 40th anniversary last year and as part of the celebrations they've issued a new edition of their famous "magazine" Raincoast Chronicles. Actually it was the Chronicles that launched Harbour, as owner Howie White explained last night. It was 1972 and the federal government was handing out LIP grants -- LIP stood for Local Initiative Projects...