When I noticed that the War of 1812 was trending on Twitter this past week because of a dialogue between President Trump and Prime Minister Trudeau, it caused me to refresh my understanding!  Having taught Canadian citizenship classes for adult newcomers a number of times in the past, I went directly to my teaching resources and reviewed the information on Canadian history, which includes the War of 1812.  I taught the material provided for newcomers in the Discover Canada study guide developed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).  This is section on the War of 1812 (plain text below as well):

In plain text:

The War of 1812: The Fight for Canada

After the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte’s fleet in the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), the Royal Navy ruled the waves. The British Empire, which included Canada, fought to resist Bonaparte’s bid to dominate Europe. This led to American resentment at British interference with their shipping. Believing it would be easy to conquer Canada, the United States launched an invasion in June 1812. The Americans were mistaken. Canadian volunteers and First Nations, including Shawnee led by Chief Tecumseh, supported British soldiers in Canada’s defence. In July, Major-General Sir Isaac Brock captured Detroit but was killed while defending against an American attack at Queenston Heights, near Niagara Falls, a battle the Americans lost. In 1813, Lieutenant-Colonel Charles de Salaberry and 460 soldiers, mostly French Canadiens, turned back 4,000 American invaders at Châteauguay, south of Montreal. In 1813 the Americans burned Government House and the Parliament Buildings in York (now Toronto). In retaliation in 1814, Major-General Robert Ross led an expedition from Nova Scotia that burned down the White House and other public buildings in Washington, D.C. Ross died in battle soon afterwards and was buried in Halifax with full military honours.

By 1814, the American attempt to conquer Canada had failed. The British paid for a costly Canadian defence system, including the Citadels at Halifax and Québec City, the naval drydock at Halifax and Fort Henry at Kingston—today popular historic sites. The present-day Canada-U.S.A. border is partly an outcome of the War of 1812, which ensured that Canada would remain independent of the United States.

The history chapter can be a bit overwhelming for newcomers to Canada.  To prepare them for writing the citizenship test, I would highlight a few things, including the support that the British got from people already in Canada (volunteers and First Nations) during the War of 1812.  They learn that the name of Canada became official in 1791 (The Constitutional Act of 1791), but they also learn that it wasn’t an official country until 1867 (Confederation).  I also highlight the war’s outcomes regarding the border and Canada’s independence from the United States as mentioned in the study guide.

If all the above details from the study guide are correct, the “Americans burned Government House and the Parliament Buildings in York (now Toronto)”, and in retaliation Major-General Robert Ross (a British Army officer) led an expedition from Nova Scotia that burned down the White House and other public buildings in Washington”.

But I don’t mean to be petty 🙂

I try not to let the uninformed and flippant things that politicians say get to me, but sometimes… well, sigh.