“Vimyism” – A Discussion Thread with current articles about the ‘Vimy Myth’ by Conscience Canada Members – http://www.consciencecanada.ca  


April 10, 2017 – “I don’t know about you but I’m quite disgusted with the Vimy coverage even by CBCTV. It is one thing to remember, but quite another to voice no criticism directed at the 1914 political leaders and generals who had no imagination other than to order bright young men out of the trenches into the German meat-grinder and of course vice-versa. I wonder what kind of world we would have had with the contributions of these young individuals; would there have been a WWII? How can we celebrate the bravery of young men, when we now realize that the then enemies are now our friends and allies. What a damn shame and waste I say.” M.

“Murray, I couldn’t agree with you more!  I too have been disgusted with the coverage of the Vimy anniversary.  As you say, not a word about the stupidity of the war.” E.

“There was one CBC interview with a professor from out West who has written a book countering the myth that Vimy made Canada what it is today.  She argued that many other negotiations and arrangements helped shape the country but that since debates aren’t as flashy as wars, that the 100h year celebration of  Canada leaned too heavily on Vimy for a rationale.” D.

“There was another interview this evening (April 10, 2017) on CBC Radio One’s ‘As it Happens’ with Jamie Swift, journalist and lecturer at Queen’s University – co-author (with Ian McKay who holds the L.R. Wilson Chair in Canadian History at McMaster University) and is the coauthor with Jamie Swift  of The Vimy Trap or, How We Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Great War. http://tinyurl.com/lm28moc 

The further you go from the battle, from the war, the more it appeals to this nationalistic, patriotic bit of mythology fantasyland, as far as I’m concerned,” Swift, a journalist and lecturer at Queen’s University, told ‘As It Happens’ host Carol Off.

He calls the phenomenon “Vimyism.”

He says that contrary to uniting Canadians (only English descended ones) it nearly tore Canada apart – the debate over conscription took place right after Vimy.”


“Another similar opinion piece is here”

Vimy was a triumphant battle, but it was hardly the ‘birth of a nation’



“There was a very useful article on Vimy in the Hamilton Spectator, April 5, 2017 by Ian McKay (see above), who cowrote ‘Warrior Nation’.” http://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/7227412-honour-vimy-s-memory-not-its-mythology/  W.

“I have been not so quietly swearing at the TV this week. My grandfather died at Vimy. I have seen his marker. I toured the memorial. That experience did not swell me up with pride, rather left me overcome, dumb and speechless. And I know the effects on my father growing up without a father.

As for the birthplace of nationhood – here is a better story that should be at the top of the news:

After Vimy: Did Canada really find its independence in 1922 battle it refused to fight? – Politics – CBC News, by Evan Dyer”



“All good and important comments.  Will someone —many ones— take on the job of informing or sending similar notes to the various CBC programmes, to the press, to our government…  We need to broaden the audience of a peaceful message. Thank you all,”


“Your point on broadening our audience is well taken. I was struck by a short clip of a student at the Vimy “celebrations” talking about the sacrifice of our soldiers in protecting our freedom. Her words were so obviously repeating what she had been fed by the military-political propaganda machine. How do we change the story? Today’s young people are a tough audience. How do we reach them? How do we make our message resonate with them?”


See also: Vimy Ridge: Birthplace of a nation – or of a Canadian myth? http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/battle-of-vimy-ridge-first-world-war/article34515113/

About Murray Lumley

Board member of Conscience Canada; Christian Peacemaker Teams Reservist; retired teacher; grandfather
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