BBC – The Canadians bringing back Gaelic culture

The BBC just published a photoset describing my local Nova Scotia flavor and Gaelic heritage.

I have a few notes to add:

The Office of Gaelic Affairs was established by the Progressive Conservative Premier Rodney MacDonald back in 2006 and recently suffered a 40% staffing cut in 2015 under the Liberal Premier Stephen McNeil.

Generally I dislike governmental intervention into cultural aspects of the province, especially given that people of Scottish descent have never made up more than 25% of the province’s population, but from the 1920s onward the Liberals stamped the Gaelic language in order to replace it with what are best called invented traditions.

Take the 1923 celebration of the 150th anniversary of the landing of the Hector on our shores as an example.

The celebration also served as the backdrop to an “invented” tradition regarding the contribution of the Scottish people to the growth of Canada. The past thus became a way to convey a dominant view of Canadian history and a commodity to sell to tourists.

Gentle reminder: The first Prime Minister of Canada, the Conservative Sir John A. MacDonald, spoke Gaelic and English, not French and English.