Throughout this blog, ill be discussing certain historical events, and people in Canadian history. I’ll include a couple of ancestors of my own, and how these people and events, have impacted our lives today. It might help you re-think certain things about our history, and show what type of people we’re supporting.
Canada officially became its own nation on July 1, 1867. Sir John A. MacDonald became the first prime minister. In December, 1866, while in London to work out the final terms of the British North America Act (BNAA), MacDonald burned his shoulder after accidentally lighting his hotel room on fire, oops. The Canadian delegation wisely kept that a secret. Legendary for his drunkenness, they say he had his drinking under control by his 60th birthday. According to a detailed 2006 paper, on Macdonald’s many drunken episodes, the Prime Minister’s last “incident” of public drunkenness occurred in 1878, 13 years before his death. In 1886, Macdonald took his first ride on the railroad he had pushed so hard to build, his wife spent much of the journey through British Columbia on a chair strapped to the cowcatcher. To help fund the building of the railroad, Macdonald found a private group called the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), to be a partner. The estimated cost for building the line was 100 million dollars. During the building of the railway, many innocent lives came to an abrupt end. Many surveyors got frostbite or scurvy, were attacked by grizzly bears, died in fires, or drowned. The most difficult part in the journey of building the railway, was the Fraser Canyon section, 15 tunnels were blasted there. Just over 7,000 workers were needed, 6,000 of them were Chinese. Chinese workers were paid one dollar a day, and had to pay for their own equipment; while white laborers were paid $1.50—$1.75 a day, and were given equipment. So of coarse, Chinese workers were usually given the most dangerous jobs, such as blasting, causing death for many. It is estimated that four Chinese workers died for each mile through the Fraser Canyon. Men also died from poor eating, sickness, poor clothing, and poor working conditions. Macdonald gets much of the heat for a national policy that would have profoundly negative impacts on First Nations, and he was at the helm when thousands of prairie aboriginals succumbed to disease and starvation. MacDonald wasn’t all that bad of a guy though, he was the first leader to attempt to give women the right to vote, and at least he kicked his nasty addiction. You can’t please everyone, especially in the money sucking, can’t trust anyone, do only whats best for a small percentage of the population, governing society, we all live in.
O Canada! The original lyrics of “O Canada,” were written in french, by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier. Routhier was a Canadian judge, author, and lyricist. He was born on May 8, 1839, in Saint-Placide, Quebec. He graduated, and then was called to the Quebec bar, in 1861. He was appointed to the Quebec Superior Court in 1873 (as Chief Justice from 1904 to 1906), and the exchequer Court of Canada (from 1897 to 1906). Routhier, was involved in several federal elections as a Conservative candidate, but he was never elected. In June 1914, Routhier, was one of the three judges appointed to conduct the Commission of Inquiry into the sinking of the British steamship, The Empress of Ireland (The Canadian Titanic), which had resulted in the loss of 1,012 innocent lives. This number of deaths, is the largest of any Canadian maritime “accident” during peacetime. There were only 465 survivors, 4 of whom were children (the other 134 children were lost) and 41 of whom were women (the other 269 women were lost). It would only take 14 minutes for the ship to completely sink, from the time the incident occurred. They say, it was do to heavy fog, when a Norwegian coal ship ran into the side of the massive steamship, along the St. Lawrence river. Isn’t it great this man had a part in creating our national anthem? This cold hardhearted guy, had many sites and landmarks named after him. Such as, Rue Basile-Routhier (Basile-Routhier Street), located in Shawinigan, Quebec, Canada; Place Basile-Routhier, located in Shawinigan; Rue Basile-Routhier in Montreal, Quebec. Maybe, if he had another thousand or so people killed, we would of named a whole city after him, or possibly a province? Drop the sir and the “e” from the first part of his name, and your left with the first name of another iconic mass murderer. In my opinion, he doesn’t deserve anything named after him, and especially shouldn’t have anything to do with our national anthem.
Speaking of judges, why is it that one single person, has control over the fate of another person? Many studies, have proven that unattractive defendants, our more likely to be found guilty, than attractive ones. According to canada.com, it costs taxpayers 101,000 dollars a year, per inmate, in our federal prison systems. Many people who are incarcerated, are there due to drug related offences. The majority of these people are addicts, addiction is an actual disease. Most of these people don’t even get a chance at rehab, they go right to jail, fill up the prisons, and we wonder why there’s not enough room in prisons. In this beautiful country, when a person has a disease, they’re usually offered proper treatment. Imagine, if you had cancer, and through treatment, you were prescribed heavy pain-killers. After treatment is over, you are now addicted to lets say Oxycontin. Now, your doing anything you can to get the drug, such as stealing. Your caught and charged multiple times. Is it fair to go right to jail? Or get a chance at a rehabilitation center? Portugal legalized all drugs, serious drug addicts get sent to rehab rather than prison. According to Forbes magazine, 10 years later, Portugal’s crime rate dramatically plummeted, and drug abuse dropped in half. We shouldn’t allow a single person, or a very small group of people, decide the fate of a persons future. In my opinion, we should allow people from that town or city, or massive group of people, to decide whats best in that persons future. We should reconsider the death penalty, for those serial killing, Charles Manson type folk.
Two people that are found on my family tree’s are, one is named Jacques Cartier, on one side, and the other is named Indian Mary, on the other side of the family. Both these individuals, lived through very important times during Canadian history. In 1547, Cartier, was the first to document the name Canada, to label the territory on the shores of the St-Lawrence River. The name was derived from the Huron-Iroquois word “kanata”, or village, which was incorrectly interpreted as the native term for the newly discovered land. He also named “Canadiens” the inhabitants (Iroquoians) he had seen there. He was known to have made three voyages of exploration in dangerous, and unknown waters, without losing a single ship; and that he entered and departed some 50 undiscovered harbors without serious mishap. He may be considered, one of the most conscientious explorers of that time. Cartier, was also one of the first to formally acknowledge that the New World, was a separate land mass from Europe/Asia. During his second voyage, there was an outbreak of scurvy, Cartier learned a special concoction, made from a tree known as annedda, that would cure scurvy. His special remedy, likely saved the expedition from destruction, allowing 85 Frenchmen to survive the winter. Recently, I learned of a lady named, Indian Mary, she was from the Athabasca region of Alberta, Canada. She lived through the time Canada became a county, and when Alberta became a province. Without either of these individuals, I wouldn’t be here today.
Now to go a bit further back, my ancestors experienced the worst mass murders, the world has ever seen. As the Europeans were taking over the land of the first nation peoples. Their women were raped, they were also spreading diseases, they introduced alcohol to them, they estimate anywhere from 17 to 25 million people were killed in total; and some sources say that number could be as high as 100 million people, during that era. They called it a genocide when 800,000 people were killed in Rwanda, a holocaust when 11 million people were killed during WW2, so what do call it when upwards of 25 million people are killed? I think what the first nation people were doing before alcohol was introduced, was a lot more peaceful. They must of forgot to leave that tidbit of information from our history books, when I was in school.
I try and picture what my ancestors would say today, if they could go forward in time. I few things come to mind, such as, “What the fuck is going on here?” Also, “The technology is amazing, but why are people so addicted to their phones, and why do people feel its necessary to share whats for lunch with the rest of the world?” The internet can connect us with the rest of the world, like nothing else before it, lets not abuse such a powerful resource. Let’s consider doing whats necessary to repair this beautiful country, make things right again. We should focus on re-creating a place we all can love and respect, not only the planet itself, but one another, and all other life forms.