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Yes Minister MacKay! Perfesser Dave explains the French role in the War of 1812

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Peter MacKay - overtired?

Some stories happened just too long ago for ordinary bloggers to explain. That's when we turn to the expert knowledge of the historical record offered by academics like Perfesser Dave, the Canadian History Guy. Perfesser Dave knows practically everything there is to know about our country’s history. And when he doesn't know something, he knows which cabinet minister to call for the answer! So if you have history questions, don’t just ask some blogger! Ask Perfesser Dave

Perfesser Dave: Yeah? Who’s talking?

Questioner: Perfesser Dave?

Perfesser Dave: What? I thought I told you I was on vacation…

Questioner: I know, Perfesser. You did. I’m really sorry, but something's come up. Something that’s just totally confusing. So I had to call. You are the Answer Guy, after all, and I'm just so confused. I really need your help. Can you illuminate my fuzzification?

Perfesser Dave: Sorry, Questioner, I'm not the Answer Guy any more.

Questioner: What? Since when?

Perfesser Dave: Since I got the history research grant from Parks Canada. They had to let a couple of park wardens go to pay for it, so you’ve got to know they were serious! So now I’m the Canadian History Guy ™. So, what's your question, Questioner? This is sort of a busman's holiday. I’m doing research, as a matter of fact. So … you were asking?

Questioner: That's lucky, Perfesser Dave, because I've got a history question.

Perfesser Dave: Mmmmmm-hmmmm…?

Questioner: You know Peter MacKay, right? The defence minister?

Perfesser Dave: Yeah. Elmer's boy.

Questioner: What? You say something about Elmer Fudd?

Perfesser Dave: Never mind. It's just noisy in here. Yeah. I know him. Fine man. … a fine man….

Questioner: Well, he gave this speech on Bastille Day, at the French Embassy, and he said the French fought alongside the British in the War of 1812!

Perfesser Dave: OK? So what confuses you about that?

Questioner: But Perfesser Dave! The French fought on the side of the Americans! How could they have fought with us?

Perfesser Dave: You're right. And Minister MacKay is right. The French fought on the side of the Americans. The French fought on the same side as us. What's the problem with that?

Questioner: But Perfesser, we were fighting with the Americans!

Perfesser Dave: Yeah? I can barely hear you. Of course we were fighting with the Americans. We've always fought with the Americans. We’ve fought on the same side as the Americans ever since John A. Macdonald got back from the Civil War, you know, when he marched through Georgia with General Sherman…

Questioner: What!!!!??? John A, Macdonald didn't fight in the Civil War! Did you hear me right?

Perfesser Dave: I can barely hear you. Germany was playing Italy on TV and everyone's cheering because Germany just won…

Questioner: Germany didn't win! But never mind that. I meant we were fighting against the Americans in the War of 1812.

Perfesser Dave: No we weren't. We were all on the same side. America, Canada, France. Just like always.

Questioner: That's ridiculous. And you call yourself the Canadian History Guy?

Perfesser Dave: No, Parks Canada calls me the Canadian History Guy.

Questioner: What, I can barely hear you. What did you say?

Perfesser Dave: I'm whispering, Questioner. You can't be too careful these days. I said we were all on the same side in the War of 1812. The USA, Canada and France. Just like always.

Questioner: Oh, right! And I’m paying Telus long-distance minutes for this! So who were we fighting with, the Taliban?

Perfesser Dave: In 1812? As a matter of fact, I think it was the Taliban! Or maybe the Confederates. No, for sure it was the Taliban.

Questioner: No it wasn't! I read Pierre Berton’s book on the War of 1812 when I was at J-School. It was good too. And we were fighting against the Americans. And the French were fighting with the Americans. And we burned down the White Hou…

Perfesser Dave: No you didn't! That book's been removed from the Carleton library. By Preston Manning… Wait! I mean that book was never there. Preston just took the Stats Canada reports and the old census forms. And we were all on the same side. Fighting the Taliban. And the Russians. Who were working with the Taliban. Just like always. Got that? Just work with me on this, Questioner…

Questioner: Are you OK, Perfesser? Are you in the bar? Have you been drinking again?

Perfesser Dave: Yes I am in the bar. I'm on vacation, for heaven's sake. Like I said, sort of a working vacation. Like Bastille Day at the French Embassy, only with beer instead of wine, and American friends instead of French friends. I'm just saying though, we Canadians have a deep and abiding relationship with the French because we fought side by side in so many wars. If we hadn't been allies in the War of 1812, we might be sharing this continent in a new light … a Soviet-Taliban light!

Questioner: You have been drinking!

Perfesser Dave: Only a little … there's a deep and unique bond that exists between Canada and France based on shared culture, values, history, and defence …

Questioner: Awwwww! Perfesser Dave! That's so lame!

Perfesser Dave: Look, Questioner, I see somebody I need to talk to…

Questioner: Where are you, anyway?

Perfesser Dave: Nice little resort. Up here on B.C.'s and California's shared border. We can see the Russian bombers landing over at their base in Russia from here. Which is why we need to buy those F-35s! Hey! Sarah! How are ya? Is Condi gonna run for VP? Tell 'er Peter says hi!

Questioner: Why are you yelling? What's going on Perfesser Dave?

Perfesser Dave: Sorry, Questioner. It's way above your pay grade! In the morning we're going to hike up Mount Baekdu to where Stephen Harper was born. By Crater Lake. If I told you any more, I'd have to shoot you. Yuk-yuk.

Questioner: Perfesser Dave! That's not funny!

Perfesser Dave: Oh, quit being such a priss! Next thing you’ll be complaining to the government censors! … Questioner? You still there? Hello? Hello? … Students nowadays… Can't take a joke! Hey bartender, pass me another Full Sail India Pale!

This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, Alberta Diary.

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