Defence Minister Peter MacKay has been getting attention for what some are calling his novel reworking of the War of 1812 — one where the French were apparently fighting side-by-side with the British in battling the American invaders.
There is only one problem with that, say those who attended MacKay’s speech at the French embassy in Ottawa last week. The French supported the Americans in the War of 1812.
MacKay made his speech Friday as part of the embassy’s celebration of Bastille Day (the French national holiday) but reports are just now trickling out about the alleged gaffe. The Citizen received a number of emails from those who attended while MacLean’s magazine reported on the speech on Monday. Embassy magazine will have further details when it publishes on Wednesday.
MacKay praised France’s government and the contribution the French made to the War of 1812. “Suffice it to say in the 200th commemoration of the War of 1812, had the French not been here fighting side by side, we might be standing here next to each other in a new light,” MacKay told the audience, according to a tape recording made by Embassy.
It’s not the first time a MacKay gaffe has been noticed. Last year a video posted on YouTube showed MacKay telling former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger that California and British Columbia have a “shared border.”
Schwarzenegger later politely pointed out that the states of Oregon and Washington are located between California and B.C.