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Annapolis Royal mayor upset CBC docu-drama rewrites history

Annapolis Royal's new mayor William 'Bill' MacDonald narrowly defeated incumbent mayor Michael Tompkins Saturday in the town's municipal election. His vision is for economic growth and advocates a youth representative on council, improved connectivity for the town, and a film and television commission to market and promote Annapolis Royal as a site for movies and television.
Annapolis Royal's new mayor William 'Bill' MacDonald narrowly defeated incumbent mayor Michael Tompkins Saturday in the town's municipal election. His vision is for economic growth and advocates a youth representative on council, improved connectivity for the town, and a film and television commission to market and promote Annapolis Royal as a site for movies and television.

ANNAPOLIS ROYAL – Apparently, Canada started in Quebec.

At least that’s what the country’s public broadcaster would have you believe.

The mayor of Canada’s first permanent European settlement is more than a little upset about how the CBC changed history March 26. Bill MacDonald said a CBC mini-series wipes out three years of history, the multicultural origins of modern Canada, and his town’s designation as the Cradle of Canada.

Annapolis Royal Mayor William 'Bill' MacDonald's March 27 Facebook post.

“I am very troubled that the CBC has misrepresented Canadian history in the first episode of its television mini-series: 'Canada: The Story of Us,'” MacDonald said on his mayor’s Facebook page March 27. “In the first episode aired last night, the CBC incorrectly asserts that Samuel de Champlain built the first European settlement in 1608 - a fortified habitation that would become Quebec City.”

MacDonald wants the truth to be known.

“In actual fact, as most of us know, the first European settlement was established here, in Port Royal, by Champlain (and Pierre Dugua) in 1605,” he said. “Annapolis Royal is the cradle of our nation, and this erroneous representation of history is disrespectful - as it erases (in a national broadcast) the true origins of our country. This misrepresentation of Canadian history warrants a campaign to set the record straight.”

Reaction

The reaction to his post from locals was swift and left no doubt about what they think of the gaff.

“Not even a mention of Port Royal,” said lifelong Annapolis Royal resident Trish Fry. “No story about the French and Mi'kmaq relationship here. Nope. It all started in Quebec. I know we have been fighting this misconception for years, and Nova Scotia's role is always forgotten, but I would have expected better from CBC.”

Fry even posted on Facebook a Canadian postage stamp of Champlain’s Habitation at Port Royal with the date 1605 in bold print.

"Recognition of Annapolis Royal/Port Royal as the Cradle of Canada generates national and international awareness and interest,” said Jane Nicholson, a business owner, board of trade member, and secretary of the local wharf association.

“These translate directly into tourism dollars and associated investment in the town and in the county."

Disregard

Nicholson is also the founder of Annapolis Investments in Rural Opportunity, which coincidently released a 64-page document March 27 with recommendations on the economic future of Annapolis Royal. It addresses the very situation the CBC mistake exemplifies.

Annapolis Royal’s Fort Anne was refurbished outside and in over the past year, in time for its 100th anniversary as the country’s first national historic site.

“The almost complete disregard of Annapolis Royal/Port Royal as the birthplace of European settlement in Canada did not come up as a frustration until we directly asked about it,” the report said in reference to surveys AIRO did. “Then it became one of the most-agreed-upon – and most passionately felt – frustrations, on two separate fronts: the lack of recognition of Annapolis Royal’s historic significance, and the limiting factors inherent in maintaining a heritage town.”

Those surveyed all agreed that if Annapolis Royal were in the United States, it would be revered and treasured.

Another resident was almost scathing of the CBC mini-series.

“You've chosen to re-write history and disrespect the Mi'kmaq people, the French, the Acadians, and Nova Scotians in this way,” she said about CBC. “As a national broadcaster the onus is on the CBC to be impeccable with its own productions - you've lied to the nation.”

CBC commissioned Bristow Global Media Inc to create the docu-drama mini-series. 

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