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Thomas Scott Executed

ThomasScott

“It cannot be said that Riel was hanged on account of his opinion.  It is equally true that he was not executed for anything connected with the late rebellion.  He was hanged for Scott’s murder; that is the simple truth of it.”   —  Wilfrid Laurier, 1885

An event on March 4, 1870, in Fort Garry (now Winnipeg), is still causing political repercussions in Canada.  Louis Riel had Ontario Orangeman, Thomas Scott, executed in the prison yard at Fort Garry.  The outcry in Ontario was so great that Riel was hanged in Regina in 1885, after leading a rebellion on the prairies.  In Quebec, Riel was regarded as a martyr, and the Conservatives were blamed for his death.

Scott’s trial had been held on March 3, 1870, and was called “a council of war.”  It was presided over by Ambroise Lépine, who was one of Riel’s chief aides.  Riel was the prosecutor and one of the three witnesses who were called.  Scott was not allowed to call any witnesses in his own defence.

The charge against Scott was that he had taken up arms against Riel’s provisional government.  It was “phoney” because dozens of others had done the same thing and had been released.,  Later, Riel told federal mediator Donald A. Smith (Lord Strathcona) the real reason.  It was that Scott had been rough and abusive  to the guards and insulting to Riel himself.

When the time came for the execution on March 4, Scott stood before a wall of the prison and was allowed to pray with Methodist minister Young.  He then knelt in the snow, a coffin beside him.  There were six Métis in the firing party, and they had all been drinking.  Three of their rifles contained blank charges so it would not be known who actually fired the bullets that killed Scott.  After the guns blasted the kneeling Scott, another Métis had to dash up with a revolver and put a bullet through his head because he was only wounded.

The body was buried secretly and its resting place has never been found.  It is rumoured  that the coffin was dropped into the river through a hole in the ice.

To continue reading about Thomas Scott, I suggest the following: CBC’s Execution of Thomas Scott; The Execution of Thomas Scott, written by George Siamandas; Execution of Thomas Scott on Canada: A Country by Consent. To read a book, I recommend The Execution of Thomas Scott. Adventures in Canadian History.

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Halloween in Canada

Happy Halloween everyone!

Halloween in Canada by the numbers

 

 

For more information I recommend Statistics Canada, Mellohawk.com and CBC.ca

 

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Higher than Niagara Falls!

Canada boasts so many beautiful locations, for tourists and visitors alike.  We are all familiar with Niagara Falls, which borders Canada and the United States.  But in Quebec there is a special gem called Montmorency Falls and is 30 meters higher than Niagara Falls!

It is at the junction of Montmorency River and the St. Lawrence River, about 10 kilometres east of Quebec City.  It has captured people’s fascination and awe since the years of Champlain.  Like most of Canada’s geography, there is a different experience to be had if you visit in the summer or in the winter.  The following videos can show you its beauty more than my words ever could.  Enjoy them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Man’s Best Friend Gets Saved!

Yesterday I was approached by a nice young woman requesting a monthly donation to the Ottawa Humane Society.  She told me of a story of a dog named Breezy.  Though I’m sure there are stories like this everywhere, this one was in my city and I hadn’t heard of it.  It doesn’t start happy at all, but there is a happy ending.

Stephen Helfer, 24, owned a Labrador-shepherd mix dog named Breezy.  “Helfer’s attack with a rake and a shovel left Breezy with skull fractures and a swollen brain. Rescuers found her in a garbage bin, where Helfer had tossed her to die.” (Quote from the Ottawa Citizen newspaper article of June 16, 2014.  See link below.)  Several calls came in from people who saw the attack.  It wasn’t long before he was rescued and treated for his injuries.

Helfer was given 1-1/2 credit for his 8 months of pre-trial custody, leaving a sentence of 361 days, he was also prohibited from owning animals for 25 years.  This sentence is the longest ever seen in Ottawa and maybe even in Canada’s history for animal cruelty,

A couple in Gatineau (Quebec), John and Sheila, adopted Breezy.  He is doing very well and is happy in his new home.  You can witness this in the videos below. I don’t know who’s luckier, Breezy or John & Sheila.  But I am happy that I heard the good ending, and not followed it through the stages.  But I do want to commend the Ottawa Humane Society, Leanne Cusak, John, Sheila, Agent Hammond, the Rescue and Investigation Services and everyone else who helped turn this into a happy ending.

 

Read more at the Ottawa Citizen newspaper’s article and another at CBC Ottawa News.  If you would like to donate to the Ottawa Humane Society, you can go to their site here.

 

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Trudeaumania

Canada is a great country, having seen mostly peace for all of its existence, and being one of the countries whose history is almost impeccably laudable. Building that amazing history has partly been due to the fact that our leaders have mostly done the right thing for our country. And when the topic of good leaders come, our modern history has seen one whose name always stands out. Pierre Trudeau, the father of current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been an inspiration for an entire generation, with his wonderful period as a Prime Minister.

A personality that dominated the entire country with such ferocity as never seen in our country’s history, Pierre Trudeau had a great career as a popular political figure, loved by many. Beginning his career as a lawyer and activist in Quebec politics, Trudeau joined the Liberal Party in 1960s, and was quickly appointed the Parliamentary Secretary of Lester B. Pearson. He went on to become the Minister of Justice of the country. Such was his following that some even give it the term “Trudeaumania.” He stayed as Prime Minister for a long period, before resigning from his post finally in 1984. His leadership has been seen as a remarkable, and often favorably polarizing period for Canada.


An example of him holding tight to his decision in a crisis is the FLQ episode. Canadians were shocked on October 19, 1970 when Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and the House of Commons passed the War Measures Act.

The federal and Quebec governments where struggling with the Front de Liberation du Quebec(FLQ). The had kidnapped British Trade Commissioner James Cross on October 5. They held him for a ransom of $500,000 and demanded that the CBC broadcast the FLQ manifesto.

Then they abducted Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte on October 10; his body was discovered eight days later.

At one point, from the steps of parliament, the press asked him about the extreme implementation of the War Measures Act, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau replied, “Just watch me.” That statement would forever become a part of Trudeau’s legacy.

Some of his biggest national achievements during his term as Prime Minister were suppressing the Quebec sovereign movement, and building Canada as a nation with unity as a core principle. He is also known for introducing bilingualism as official policy of Canada, and for his Patriation of the Constitution. It was under him that Canada stopped being ruled by British laws that could be changed by the British, and it was the moment when Canada finally got sovereignty. This event has had him hailed as the “father of modern Canada”.

PM Pierre Trudeau doing a pirouette behind the Queen

Every great person has critics, and so did Pierre Trudeau. His critics impugn him with claims of arrogance and poor economic management, and of having centralized the management of Canada (which has been hailed as a very good thing by others), thus robbing Quebec of the culture and economy of Prairies. But whatever the naysayers speak, Trudeau has been consistently shown up in a list of the greatest Prime Ministers of Canada.

Pierre Trudeau has been considered one of the most loved, and the most hated of the Canadian Prime Ministers. This is because of the charisma and confidence that he held, along with his focus on uniting Canada and making sure that the country has one holistic identity. But he is also known for his antipathy towards his political opponents, and his dislike for any sort of compromise have also gained him some critics. In fact, it has been said the it was Mackenzie King, who was the only other person who had matched such levels of electoral success as Pierre Trudeau. This mad made Canada what it is today, fought for recognition, and suppressed any factional uprisings to make the country whole. That is something that is going to be on the history books forever.

 

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Great Banks Earthquake & Tsunami of 1929

Tsunami in Burin Pen on November 18, 1929

The “Great Banks Earthquake of 1929” centred just off the south coast of Newfoundland in the Atlantic Ocean. The earthquake measured 7.2 on the Richter scale at 5:15 pm. Just after 7 pm, people in the village of St. Lawrence saw the water in their harbour raise to thirty metres (99 feet).The tsunami caused 28 deaths, hundreds of people homeless, and nearly $400,000 in damage costs (nowadays that is roughly $5.5 million). The tsunami was to have been felt by those as far as New York.

When the waves first hit the coast, they hit hard. They first hit at 40 kilometres an hour and caused sea levels to rise from up to three metres all the way up to a shocking seven meters. In the narrow bays of peninsula the level rose by an even more shocking height of 13 metres and in some places, 27 metres! This made it possible for there to be houses lifted off their foundations and to be carried away by the waves of the sea. Not only causing devastation, but taking literally taking the homes of communities.

The Globe and Mail reported:

“The earthquake threshed the bed of the Atlantic with sufficient force to sever ten of the twenty-one cables connecting the Easter and Western Hemispheres.”

Hence, the people could not send out an S.O.S.

Although the tsunami’s three waves hit Burin Peninsula within the space of 30 minutes and sea levels had returned to normal after about two hours, it had destroyed more than homes. Thousands of victims confused by what had happened and upset. Many people missing and presumed dead. The mental impact this had on the victims is unimaginable.

On a final note, here is another first-hand experience of the events:

 

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The Regina Cyclone

The “Regina Cyclone” hit the town of Regina, Canada, on June the 30th of 1912 and has since been seen as one of the most destructive tornadoes ever to hit Canada. Hitting an estimated wind speed of 800 kilometres an hour the tornado had quite an impact on people’s lives.

Here are some statistics on the impact caused by the tornado:

  • Wind speed of 800 km/h
  • Caused $1,200,000 in damage costs (today that would be around $485 million dollars)
  • More than 2,500 people’s homes were destroyed and were homeless afterwards
  • 28 people died due to the tornado
  • The tornado traveled over 12 kilometres before dissipating
  • It took nearly 40 years to repay all the debt that had built up from rebuilding costs

All of these show just the devastating impact that the tornado had on not only the people, but the financial status of the country!

Pictures taken after the cyclone had dissipated show that the downtown area of Regina had the worst damage compared to the rest of the city.

 

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