“Let us be English or Let us be French… but above all let us be Canadians.” - John A. MacDonald
May 13, 1990
My symptoms were growing worse so I had to finally visit a doctor. He did a usual thing every doctor does; prescribing huge dose medicines and huge amount tests. I did what he said but I knew, not a single dose of a drug would relieve me of what was going inside me. I was terrified, what could happen to Carter if I no longer exist. So, I must have had to make him believe that I was absolutely alright. I cheered him up and faked to sound perfectly normal. He somehow accepted it as true. Because I knew the time was short and the story was long…
Who were the Fathers of Confederation? They were the real men who changed the face of Canada and brought it to stand w.r.t to the current world scenario and provided the provincial and federal government. It was the time of 1864-1867. These people were from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Province of Canada, in collaboration with British, they succeeded in their cause. They even helped to divide the Province of Canada into two provinces: Ontario and Quebec. By then, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick Ontario, and Quebec constituted a new Canada called the Dominion of Canada, each of which could make their own legislature with a view to health and education also.
The term Dominion of Canada was the idea of Sir Leonard Tilley, Father of Confederation from New Brunswick. He had in his mind Psalm 72 of Bible which means “dominion from sea to sea and from the river to the ends of the earth.” It easily depicted the vision of having a continental country where strong unity, wealth, and freeness prevailed. It was written in the constitution for 100 years but still is a part of our heritage. British North America Act was passed in 1867 under the British Parliament, officially making it the Dominion of Canada on July 1st, 1867. Until 1982, people celebrated this day as the Dominion Day to prove the country as a self-governing dominion. But today, it is officially called as the ‘Canada Day’.
“Take a little break, Grandpa,” said Carter in a very elderly tone, making me believe in the power of time that it can teach greatest lessons.
“I am okay,” I assured him with a smile. That’s the only thing I could do.
Sir John Alexander Macdonald (Father of Confederation) was elected as our first Prime Minister in 1867. He was from Ontario, a lawyer and great politician altogether. The parliament suggested seeing January 1st as his day. Our $10 note has his portrait. Thanks to Sir George-Étienne Cartier of Confederation of Quebec, a patriotic Canadian, railway lawyer, and closely connected with Macdonald, who worked to add Northwest Territories, Manitoba, and British Columbia into Canada.
The tough time of Canada was yet to begin. After the addition of great west region from Hudson’s Bay Company in the Canadian territory, 1869, Canada came at greater risks because the presence of the 12,000 Metis of the Red River wasn’t taken into consideration. Louis Riel (political leader of the Metis people) charged rebels and closed Fort Garry. However, in 1870, Fort Garry was regained by the help of Ottawa soldiers. Riel ran away to the US while Canada got Manitoba – its new province. Riel was elected as a parliament body of it but he never took his position. When again the rights of Metis and Indian peoples were violated, a second rebellion happened in Saskatchewan in 1885 but because of what Riel had done, he had to go through trial and execution period.
After the settlement, Prime Minister Macdonald founded North West Mounted Police (NWMP) with Regina as its headquarters in 1873 for the west people. This brought Fort Calgary, Fort MacLeod, and other centers into existence that now are different cities and towns in Canada. today, we have Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP or “the Mounties”) as our national police force from where Canada’s wonderful heroes, such as Major General Sir Sam Steele, came into limelight.
British Columbia also joined Canada in 1871 and then finally, after a hard work of different Chinese and European labors under the supervision of British and Americans investors, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) came into life by a Scottish-born director Donald Smith (Lord Strathcona). Chinese, then, encountered a discriminatory force of head tax, but soon, The Government of Canada felt sorry of this discriminatory policy in 2006. The heroic works of many came as the CPR’s “ribbons of steel”.
Carter said as I paused, “Why are you going so fast today?”
I didn’t know what to say instead I proclaimed, “Oh, I was just lost in the memories, couldn’t perceive that it is already late.”
Carter gave a cunning look and I quickly overcame it by saying, “Let’s go.”
To be Continued…
What more struggles Canada had made to gain its freedom and liberty? And, is grandpa hiding something from Carter? Keep thinking and keep waiting for the next chapter.
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