Dear Mr. Harper,
You do not have to spend tens of millions of dollars to promote the War of 1812. There is an excellent documentary on PBS on the subject. Produced by both American and Canadian "Public Broadcasting" Associations, it is a balanced, articulate and interesting programme.
It may not quite fit with your definition of the 'defining of Canada', as it accurately informs that the war ended in a stalemate and the Native Americans of North America were the real losers, but in the spirit of "fiscal responsibility" I share....
cc: Friends of History
PS: If you are offended by the American narrator Joe Mantegna, you could easily insert an appropriate Canadian voice over of your choice - say Margaret Attwood - to give a more Canadian definition.
I think I share the view of a young British officer in the War of 1812, Lieutenant John LaCouture of the 104th foot, who when he was writing about the end of the war said how pleased he was that this was over. As far as he was concerned it was a hot and unnatural war between kindred people.
Dianne Graves, a Canadian historian and the author of In the Midst of Alarms: The Untold Story of Women of the War of 1812