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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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Building Canada, Why Confederation?

In the 1860s, the British colonies were facing various issues. One resolution for each one of these was that the colonies come together to form one country. These are the problems that brought about Confederation:

The Province of Canada was made of a lot of people and was later made into the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The government of the Province of Canada did not run smoothly because the English-speaking and French-speaking halves each had different ideas about how things should be run. Leaders from both areas of the province decided that joining other colonies might help solve their own political problems.

In order for their economies to do well, the colonies needed to be able to sell their goods to other markets. One solution was to bring all the colonies together.

Since America had fought Britain to gain its independence, the relationship between British North America and the United States had never been stable. Many Americans wanted to take over all of what is now Canada.

Britain didn’t want to have to pay for the cost of defending its colonies. Hence, it decided to encourage the colonies to amalgamate, because the United States would be less likely to attack Canada if it were a self-governing country in lieu of separate colonies of Britain. This fear of the U.S. helped to strengthen the decision for Confederation.

Leaders from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island had actually already begun discussing the idea of signing up for a Marine union and had also planned for a meeting.  The political leaders from the Province of Canada asked if they could come to their conference to recommend a bigger union of all the British North American colonies.  The Maritime colonies were given invitations and so started the quest of Confederation.

 
 

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Snapshots of Canada’s Past: Armistice Day

What a perfect post to honour our past and what we have to be thankful for today! -tkmorin

All About Canadian History

Snapshots of Canada’s Past: History is more than just words on a screen or from a textbook; this series is a thematic look back at Canadian history through visual imagery.

Armistice Day
In 1918, on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, the Armistice of Compiègne came into effect, ending World War I. As a prelude to the Treaty of Versailles, its terms made it impossible for Germany to resume fighting. Germany agreed to turnover “2,500 heavy guns, 2,500 field guns, 25,000 machine guns, 1,700 airplanes and all submarines they possessed” in addition to a number of warships and  their prisoners of war. [x] The Armistice was signed in the Forest of Compiègne, about 60 km north of Paris in a railway carriage owned by French military commander Ferdinand Foch. Canada was not present, only representatives from France, Britain, and Germany were there. However…

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Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Cpl. Nathan Frank Cirillo

Cpl. Nathan Frank Cirillo, image source Facebook

Canadians felt anger and sadness when Cpl. Nathan Frank Cirillo ( a reservist member of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) was fatally shot while taking a turn as part of the Ceremonial Guard watching over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, at 9:50 a.m. on October 22, 2014.

If there is a silver lining here, it is because of Kevin Michael Vickers, Canada’s Sergeant-at-Arms. Kevin Vickers came out of his office carrying a pistol, and shot the gunman.

Kevin Vickars, Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons
Image source: http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/2k0f0d/this_is_the_man_who_fatally_shot_the_terrorist/

But what of the National War Memorial (also known as The Response)?

It stands in Confederation Square, Ottawa, and serves as the federal war memorial for Canada.

National War Memorial in Ottawa, Ontario (Canada)

H.M. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth unveiling the National War Memorial, Ottawa, Canada, May 21, 1939.

It commemorates the First World War, and was rededicated to include the Second World War and the Korean War. It symbolizes the sacrifice made by every Canadian who has died or may yet die for their country.

 

 

The contract for the construction of the arch was awarded in December 1937 and the entire cenotaph was completed on 19 October 1938, after which the landscaping surrounding the memorial was laid out and installed by Toronto contractors. On May 15, 1939, the Post Office Department issued a stamp called National Memorial.

On May 21, the memorial was officially unveiled by George VI, King of Canada, in the presence of an estimated 100,000 people, months before the Second World War began.

The memorial serves as the focal point of Remembrance Day (November 11) ceremonies in Ottawa.

A national scandal arose following Canada Day (July 1) in 2006, when a group of young men were photographed urinating on the memorial at night, after celebrating the national holiday. This incident prompted the establishment of a Guard of Honour at the site, though the soldiers of the Ceremonial Guard are only present between 9 am and 5 pm from June through August. The navy and the air force also do rotations here in the summer months.

Yesterday, a Canadian Forces soldier on ceremonial duty at the memorial was shot and killed by an armed man. The gunman then crossed the street and entered the Centre Block building of the nearby Canadian Parliament complex, where a firefight ensued between the shooter and members of building security. A security guard was wounded and the suspect was killed. The slain soldier was Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, from Hamilton, Ontario.

Whenever the monarch or another member of the Royal Family is in Ottawa, they will, regardless of the date, lay a wreath at the monument. Other prominent dignitaries who have laid wreaths at the memorial include President of the United States John F. Kennedy in 1961 and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990.

Let us never forget.

 

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Canada’s Roswell-Like Incidents

Shag Harbor Sign Identifying the 1967 UFO Incident.

Shag Harbor Sign Identifying the 1967 UFO Incident. Source: Wikipedia.org user 3h3dsfa4

I am reading Weird Canadian Places by Dan de Figueiredo, which is really entertaining.  It is a “Humorous, Bizarre, Peculiar & Strange locations & Attractions across the Nation.”

Here’s an example of what you can find in the book.  He writes about Canada’s version of Roswell, in Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia.  It involves an apparent crash of a UFO, many witnesses, government and military investigations, surveillance and strange and odd smells, sights and sounds.

Shag is a small fishing village at the southern tip of Nova Scotia.  At about 11:20 p.m. on October 4, 1967, witnesses saw strange orange lights, then it turned at a 45-degree angle and seemed to crash towards the water with a bright flash and an explosion.   According to witnesses, the object had bright yellow lights floating on the surface of the water, about 18.3 metres in diameter and trailed yellow foam behind it.  It also smelled of sulphur.

Many people contacted the RCMP to report the incident.  If you look at the official papers about it, you ‘d read that it was a large aircraft that crashed in the harbour — no mention of a UFO.

That’s because one witness in particular, Laurie Wickens, told the authorities that he had seen a large airplane or small airliner crash into the Gulf of Maine.  This prompted an immediate response.  Ten RCMP officers arrived at the scene within fifteen minutes, concerned that the downed passengers would drown.  Within a half hour of the crash, local fishermen arrived at the site.  Within an hour after the crash, the Canadian Coast Guard arrived.

The next day, the Canadian military sent the HMCS Granby to the site to investigate.  By then, however, all that was left was a bit of yellow foam.  They dived for four days trying to find “something,” but came up empty.

This incident is not the only one Canadians have reported witness to.  A few of the others are:

  • May 19, 1967, Falcon Lake, Manitoba. Stefan Michalak was burned by one of two flying saucers with which he reportedly came into contact.
  • January 1, 1969, Prince George, B.C.. Three unrelated witnesses reported a strange, round object in the late afternoon sky.
  • 1975-1976, Southern Manitoba.  Several sightings were reported of a red glowing UFO, sometimes described as “mischievous” or “playful”.
  • October 1978, Clarenville, Newfoundland and Labrador.  Constable Jim Blackwood of the RCMP saw a sighting of a flying saucer hovering over the harbour near the town of Clarenville and Random Island.  When he switched on the roof lights of his police cruiser the craft appeared to mimic the flashing lights.
  • November 7, 1990, Montreal, Quebec, aerial phenomenon.  Witnesses reported a round, metallic object of about 540 metres wide over the rooftop pool of the Bonaventure Hotel. Eyewitnesses saw 8 to 10 lights forming into a circle above them, emitting bright white rays. The phenomenon lasted three hours, from 7 to 10 p.m., and moved slowly northwards.
  • 2006, Ajax, Ontario.  A UFO was Photographed.
  • 2007, Chilliwack, British Columbia, UFO witnessed by Dave Francis and Kelly McDonald.
  • January 25, 2010, Harbour Mille, Newfoundland and Labrador. A photograph taken revealed one of the UFOs to resemble a missile. There was an investigation by the community’s police force and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Another minor report of this incident came from Calgary, Alberta, where boys playing hockey reported seeing similar objects, about which they stated “We thought they were transformers.”

If you are still intrigued about this, I can direct you to a few places on the ‘Net.  There is a large database at MUFON (The Mutual UFO Network), at Canadian UFO Survey, and at UFO Roundup Articles Canada.
 

 

 

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Not Cowboys & Indians, Part 3

So for the 3rd post in the Not Cowboys & Indians series, I will focus on the 18th century. I cannot, of course, cover all the battles, but I hope to offer you a view of what it was like in Canada at the time.

Queen Anne's War

A map depicting the state of European occupation of North America at the start of Queen Anne’s War, as the North American theatre of the War of the Spanish Succession is known.

The first war in the 18th century was Queen Anne’s War, also known as the Third Indian War, and it took place between 1702 and 1713. The main issue was the rivalry between France and England in America, which had been left unresolved by the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697.

The War was primarily fought in Europe, in France and England, and later Great Britain. The war also involved many Native tribes allied with each nation.

The war was fought on three fronts:

1. Spanish Florida and the English Province of Carolina were each attacked from the other, and the English engaged the French at Mobile (Alabama), involving allied Indians on both sides. This war had the effect of nearly wiping out the Indian population of Spanish Florida, including parts of present-day southern Georgia, and destroying Spain’s network of missions in the area.

2. The English colonies of New England fought with French and Indian forces based in Acadia and Canada. Quebec City was repeatedly targeted by British expeditions, and the Acadian capital (Port Royal) was taken in 1710. The French and Wabanaki Confederacy fought the New Englanders’ expansion into Acadia.

3. In Newfoundland, English colonists based at St. John’s, disputed control of the island with the French based at Plaisance. Most of the conflict consisted of economically destructive raids against the other side’s settlements. The French successfully captured St. John’s in 1709, but the British quickly reoccupied it after the French abandoned it.

Broad conclusion of this war was: the British received Acadia (now Nova Scotia), Newfoundland and fur trading posts in the Hudson Bay area. France managed to keep several islands in the Saint Lawrence River and Cape Breton Island at the north-eastern end of Nova Scotia.

There were casualties on both sides:
* Spain (50-60); French Indian allies (50); Spanish Indian allies (many).
* Great Britain (900); New England (200); Carolina (150); Indian allies (light).

The 18th century had many other wars in North America. A few are:

1722 – 1725: Father Rale’s War (a series of battles between New England and the Wabanaki Confederacy (specifically the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, and Abenaki), who were allied with New France.

1744 – 1748: King George’s War (It took place primarily in the British provinces of New York, Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, and Nova Scotia. Its most significant action was an expedition organized by Massachusetts Governor William Shirley that besieged and ultimately captured the French fortress of Louisbourg, on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, in 1745.)

1749 – 1755: Father Le Loutre’s War. The war began with the British unilaterally establishing Halifax, which was a violation of an earlier treaty with the Mi’kmaq, signed after Father Rale’s War. With the fall of Beausejour, Le Loutre was imprisoned and the Acadian expulsion began. The British forces rounded up French settlers and deported the Acadians and burned their villages at Chignecto to prevent their return. The Acadian Exodus from Nova Scotia during the war spared most of the Acadians who joined it – particularly those who went to Ile St. Jean and Ile Royal – from the British deportation of the Acadians in 1755.

1754 – 1763: Seven Years’ War. The war was fought mostly between the colonies of British America and New France, with both sides supported by military units from their parent countries of Great Britain and France, who declared war on each other in 1756.

1763 – 1766: Pontiac’s War. This war was launched by a loose confederation of Native American tribes, from the Great Lakes region, the Illinois Country, and Ohio Country. More warriors from many tribes joined the uprising. They wished to drive British soldiers and settlers out of the region. The war is named after the Ottawa leader Pontiac, the most prominent of many native leaders in the conflict.

1775 – 1776: the American Revolutionary War. The war initially began in the resistance of many Americans to taxes imposed by the British parliament, which they held to be unlawful. In the end, the Americans received their independence, and British recognition of the United States of America. The territorial changes at the end of the war were that Britain lost the area east of Mississippi River and south of Great Lakes & St. Lawrence River to independent United States & to Spain; Spain gained East Florida, West Florida and Minorca; Britain ceded Tobago and Senegal to France. And the Dutch Republic ceded Negapatnam to Britain.

1789, the Nootka Crisis. The Pacific Northwest was little explored by European ships before the mid-18th century. But by the end of the century, several nations were vying for control of the region, including Britain, Spain, Russia, and the United States.

1792, the destruction of Opitsaht. American merchant and maritime fur trader Captain Robert Gray built the establishment on Meares Island in (present day British Columbia). In 1792, a newly constructed ship was launched, making it the first American-built vessel in the Pacific Northwest. Just before launching the ship, the fort was abandoned. However, Gray desired to leave nothing of use to the natives because of a foiled attack against his men conceived by the Tla-o-qui-aht people. So he ordered the destruction of 200 homes in the local village of Opitsaht. This is known in part because of entry in his own ship’s log, admitting he let his passions go too far.

1796, the Newfoundland expedition. This war was a series of fleet manoeuvres and amphibious landings in the coasts of Newfoundland, Labrador and Saint Pierre and Miquelon, carried out by the joint French and Spanish fleets against the British in North America. When they landed at Bay Bulls, they found that there wasn’t much of a force there to protect Newfoundland. And so they took dozens of British prisoners. The combined fleet then sailed toward Saint Pierre and Miquelon, which were held by the British at that time. The combined expedition destroyed over 100 fishing vessels from the Newfoundland fleet and burned fishing stations along the Newfoundland coast, including the base of the English garrison at Placentia Bay.

In my next post in this series, I will focus on the 19th century.

 
 

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Not Cowboys & Indians, Part 2

For the month of April, I’ll be continuing the series of “Indian wars in Canada,” this post will cover the 17th century.  Now, I have to say that there were skirmishes, battles and wars.  I can’t, obviously, cover every one.  So with a broad pen stroke, let’s keep going.

Beaver War Map of colonial settlements.

Map of the location of major tribes involved in the Beaver Wars laid against a period map showing colonial settlements.

In the mid-17th century, the Beaver Wars began. They were also known as the Iroquois Wars or the French and Iroquois Wars. These battles were fought in eastern North America.  Two of them were:

On June 19, 1610 the battle of Sorel began and continued intermittently for almost a century, and ended with the Great Peace of Montreal in 1701. It pitted the nations of the Iroquois confederation, led by the dominant Mohawks, against the Algonquian people of the Great Lakes region.  They were supported by the Kingdom of France.   Actually, the first deliberate battle in 1609 was fought at Champlain’s initiative. William Brandon, in his book, The American Heritage Book of Indians (1984), wrote that Champlain is said to have written, “I had come with no other intention than to make war.”  Unfortunately, this battle created 150-years of mistrust that diminished any chances that French-Iroquois alliances would be durable and long-lived.

Another was the Lachine Massacre (present-day Montreal, Quebec) on the morning of August 5, 1689. 1,500 Mohawk warriors attacked 375 inhabitants.  The event was precipitated by the Iroquois who wanted to avenge the 1,200,000 bushels of corn burned by the French.  But since they were unable to reach the food stores in Montreal, they kidnapped and killed the Lachine crop producers instead. 3 Mohawks and 72 French settlers were killed.  When one survivor reported to a local garrison, 4.8 km (3 miles) away, two hundred soldiers, along with 100 armed civilians and some soldiers from nearby, marched against the Iroquois.  Numerous attacks from both sides followed, but the two groups quickly realized the futility of their attempts to drive the other out.  The Montreal Treaty of 1701, concluded with the Iroquois promising to remain neutral in case of war between the French and English.

Map of King William's War.

Map of King William’s War.

Another major war of the 17th century, besides the Beaver War,  was King William’s War, from 1688 to 1697.  It was also known as the Second Indian War, Father Baudoin’s War, as well as Castin’s War. This war had many battles.  To offer a sense of the war, here is one of many battles in that war.

At Siege of Pemaquid, in 1696, New France and the tribes of the Wabanaki Confederacy, led by St. Castine and Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville, returned and fought a naval battle in the Bay of Fundy before moving on to raid Pemaquid (Maine). After the siege, d’Iberville led a force of 124 Canadians, Acadians, Mi’kmaq and Abanakis in the Avalon Peninsula Campaign. They destroyed almost every English settlement in Newfoundland, over 100 English were killed, many times that number captured, and almost 500 deported to England or France.

In retaliation, Church (Colonel Benjamin Church is considered to be the father of American ranging. He was the captain of the first Ranger force in America) went on his fourth expedition to Acadia and carried out a retaliatory raid against Acadian communities on the Isthmus of Chignecto and Fort Nashwack (now Fredericton, New Brunswick), which was then the capital of Acadia.  He led his troops personally in killing inhabitants of Chignecto, looting their household goods, burning their houses and slaughtering the livestock.

My next post will cover the 18th century.

 

 

 

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