In 1982, Canada: Sharing Our Christian Heritage
first appeared in print. It’s an anecdotal history of this country produced by Mainroads Productions Inc., the publishing arm of the iconic evangelical television show 100 Huntley Street
. The book promoted a narrow, judgmental and skewed view, in which white Christians were the good guys and everyone else was a lost, legitimate target for missionary work. This flawed history often cherry-picked facts or relied on flimsy evidence to support the central assertion that Canada was built by Christians — something the book says “we have forgotten” in our “pluralistic, secular society.”
How do I know about this deeply inaccurate book? I wrote every word of it. In the early 1980s, I worked in the communications department at 100 Huntley Street
Admittedly, this so-called history book is now ancient history in its own right. Thirty-six years later, Mainroads and its parent company, Crossroads Christian Communications Inc., no longer produce it. So why does it matter today? First, copies of the original book are available through online sellers and the Toronto Reference Library. Second, representatives of 100 Huntley Street
continue to recommend the book as a reference. It was also cited on longtime host David Mainse’s blog as recently as 2017. Third, and perhaps most importantly, it has been reprinted by Voyageur Publishing, an Ontario company that provides “quality curriculum and resources” to home educators and private schools.
Voyageur’s promo blurb calls my book, “A very good introduction to the Christian history of Canada, and an essential part of a balanced look at our foundations. This book can be added to any curriculum in order to make our children aware of our many Christian historical figures.” No, it’s not. And no, it shouldn’t be. (I wrote Voyageur last year, asking who gave permission for the reprinting, but received no reply.)
Arguably, some of the flaws in the book are due to the times in which I wrote it. The text was issued 14 years before the last residential school closed
and just as environmental issues were becoming more well known. While that may offer some justification for my ignorance — and suggest that the original publication may not be the evil it now seems — it’s certainly no excuse for printing the book in 2018.
The book is not a pack of lies — the anecdotes are usually accurate — but it is a pack of half-truths.
Sign up for our free e-newsletter now!
Get The Observer’s latest stories on justice, faith and ethics by signing up for our e-newsletter. It only takes a few seconds to join and we’ll deliver award-winning content to your in-box.
SIGN UP TODAY