Newcomers to Canada who have their sights set upon becoming citizens need to have “a solid basic understanding of Canada’s past and the development of our political institutions,” said the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism on Thursday.

“Can we be certain that they can exercise their responsibilities and rights as citizens unless we present them with the historical context in which their rights and responsibilities derive?” asked Jason Kenney.

Experts from around the world gathered at the third annual National Forum on Canadian History to talk about the importance of preserving a country’s history and increasing the understanding of its values, symbols and institutions.

The digital age has transformed history’s documentary process, according to Daniel Caron, a librarian and archivist of Canada.

“In today’s world, it is almost impossible to talk about history and identity without making a reference to digital technology ... The digital age is forcing all of us to rethink our attitudes, our practices and our teaching methods. We live in an age where to search is everything and value is defined as searchable.

“We need new ways of interacting, new ways of engaging with each other and sharing.”