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Month: May 1999

O Canada

Settling For Scrip

"The mission of the…Half-breed Commission has been entirely successful," boasted commissioners James Walker and Arthur Côté in their final report to the federal government’s minister of the interior. Writing from Calgary in the fall of 1899, Walker and Côté had every reason to be pleased with themselves. Their four-month expedition to the Athabasca country north of Edmonton had just "quieted" the land claims of some 1,200 Métis by handing out land grants or scrip worth an incredible $300,000. At the time, this was easily the single largest expenditure in the region by any government. The Walker and Côté scrip commission was part of the much larger Treaty 8 negotiations that the federal government had initiated over the same four-month period with Athaba...
O Canada

A Capital In Bloom

In January 1943, a foreign country’s flag flew from the top of the Peace Tower in Ottawa for the first and only time. Even though Canada was at war, the flag raising was not an aggressive act, but a symbol of joy. Princess Juliana of the Netherlands had just given birth to her third daughter, Princess Margriet, at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. She and her children were taking shelter in Ottawa during WW II. Due to a Dutch law that required any heir to the throne to be born on Dutch soil, Parliament had taken the extraordinary step of declaring the hospital room where the baby was born to be the territory of the Netherlands for the duration of the delivery. It was a day no one present in Ottawa at the time ever forgot. And neither did Princess Juliana. The ties between the two cou...
War Art

Pegi Nicol MacLeod

Pegi Nicol MacLeod's abiding respect for Canadian servicewomen is recognized in her war art. From top to bottom: Spoon Bouquet, Shy WRCN and Morning Parade. Pegi Nicol MacLeod’s paintings are alive with colour and curves. Her war art has a loose and easy style that cheerfully depicts the bustle of the times. In short, there is a nice blending of style and reality to her work. MacLeod had an abiding respect for the women on Canada’s home front. She compared them to Diana, the ancient goddess of the hunt. She believed that the role of women was worthy of a painted record. "It is unfair enough to leave out the mothers of soldiers, the nurses, the factory girls. What an obvious flaw to neglect also the women in the armed services," she wrote in Canadian Art Magazine in 1944. Born Ma...
Defence Today

The Canada Forces Today: Part 4 of 4 – The Navy Charts Its Course

by Bill Fairbairn The need to improve the quality of life for Canadian Forces personnel has been a recurring theme throughout this four-part series. In Part 4, the head of Canada’s navy explains why he thinks it is so important to address this concern. Vice-Admiral Greg Maddison believes that no matter how modern or sophisticated your equipment is, it is the sailors and their families who must be taken care of first. "Pay is the core issue in addressing Canada’s sailors and their families," he told the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs last year. Maddison says the issue of higher pay had been his number 1 concern until the federal government announced last February that $525 million would be used over three years for increased pay and ben...

The Toll Of Verrières Ridge: Army, Part 26

General Bernard Montgomery’s armoured blitzkrieg–Operation Goodwood–ended July 20, 1944, in a storm of rain and recriminations. Before the battle, Montgomery had talked confidently of a "real showdown on the eastern flank" with his armour reaching as far as Falaise. When the operation ended the industrial suburbs of Caen had been cleared and some 40 square miles added to the Orne bridgehead. Falaise, however, was a distant dream.Montgomery’s critics at Allied headquarters were scathing in their comments, arguing that Montgomery had again failed to press home his attack. Others, especially front-line soldiers, thought the operation had been far too costly. The 493 tanks that were lost could easily be replaced, but the scores of experienced tank, troop and squadron commanders and hundreds of...

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An informative primer on Canada’s crucial role in the Normandy landing, June 6, 1944.