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(Oleksandr Rybitskiy/Shutterstock)

Most people would probably agree 2020 has been a tire fire of a year. A lot of that comes from the coronavirus, but part of it also comes from issues that have been building for a very long time.

The federal government had to borrow a colossal amount of money as part of its relief efforts to keep people from losing their livelihoods and provide medical care. It’s also had to order and import a vaccine developed in a foreign country. I can’t help but wonder how much lower those deficits would be if previous governments hadn’t repeatedly cut taxes, especially for the purpose of “tightening the screws” and making it harder for Ottawa to do anything, as political scientist Tom Flanagan claimed. …

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(Golden Brown/Shutterstock)

This article is the second in a series of reviews of books I’ve read on Canadian politics and history, summarizing their contents and considering their relevance to modern Canada.

The first book I reviewed was Peter Russell’s Constitutional Odyssey: Can Canadians Become A Sovereign People? Just as this review is a sequel to the first one, Canada’s Odyssey: A Country Based On Incomplete Conquests is a sequel of sorts to Constitutional Odyssey.

Canadian Hero’s

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Blood Nation recruits of the 191st Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, posing at Fort MacLeod, Alberta (Photo and caption Glenbow Archives, NA-2164–1, photo provided by Veterans Affairs Canada)

Each November, Canadians commemorate Remembrance Day as a way to pay respects to the soldiers and veterans who fought and gave their lives for our freedom. The stories of many of the soldiers who fought for us are rightly known to most Canadians, but the stories and contributions of the Indigenous soldiers are often overlooked. It’s a shame, particularly when you realize the context in which those Indigenous soldiers enlisted and fought.

In her book Canada’s First Nations, A History Of Founding Peoples From Earliest Times, Métis historian Olive Dickason noted Indigenous people enlisted during the World Wars at a rate higher than that of the general Canadian population. They also worked actively to provide relief and support, raising money for Organizations like the Red Cross despite the poverty in most of their communities and the horrifying abuses they suffered from non-Indigenous society. …

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(Ufuk Zivana/Shutterstock)

After reading Ken Allred’s rant about how the West allegedly ‘wants out’, I just have one thing to say:

Speak for yourself.

Allred actually makes a number of valid points about the problems Western Canada faces, like our being underrepresented in Parliament, about how we’re shafted when it comes to our resources, and so on. He goes completely off the rails, though, when he raves about how Pierre Trudeau and his supporters accomplished the ‘francization’ of Canada.

What Allred forgets — or perhaps prefers not to mention — is that Quebec separatism and Trudeau’s bilingual policies in fact came from most of the English-majority provinces deliberately denying and repressing the rights of their French-speaking minorities. Meanwhile, Quebec has always made exceptions and exemptions of its Anglophone minority from its French policies. Allred seems to be promoting the bizarre, contradictory logic that Quebec should accommodate its English minority (which it should!) …

Is there common ground between supporters of Indigenous rights and supporters of resource development?

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Wet’suwe’ten hereditary chiefs and their supporters protest the Coastal GasLink photo in Smithers, B.C. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Pres)

A lot of Canadians are frustrated by the blockades and protests Indigenous people and their supporters have erected in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who are protesting the Coastal Gas Link pipeline in British Columbia. There have been a lot of calls for the police to enforce the rule of law by more forcefully dismantling the blockades. The police are accused of being derelict in their duties when they delay before acting, such as when the Ontario Provincial Police waited 18 days before dismantling the Tyendinaga Mohawks’ blockade in Ontario.

On the surface, the dispute seems simple. To many settler Canadians, the Wet’suwet’en chiefs and their supporters are violating the law by blocking a pipeline that was duly approved by the government. All the processes were followed, all the legal requirements fulfilled. …

I’m writing this on the morning of Canada Day 2020, thinking about all the fascinating things I’ve read and the people I’ve met.

For the past several years, I’ve written about various deep, philosophical Canada-related subjects. This year, though, I decided to try something different. Historians like Will Ferguson, J.L. Granatstein, Norman Hillmer and George Bowering have ranked Canada’s Prime Ministers, so I thought I’d try and do the same. I’ve mentioned where some of the Prime Ministers would rank in my previous writings, but now it’s time to show the full list.

The Greats

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(Library and Archives Canada, MIKAN 3218747)
  1. Sir John A. Macdonald

Time In Office: 1867–1873, 1878–1891. …


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A volunteer ferries a woman across a flooded road in Saint John, New Brunswick, on May 5, 2018. (Shutterstock/Doug McLean)

The fallout of the coronavirus is pretty much the only thing on many Canadians’ minds these days. People are worried about everything from their health to their livelihoods, as businesses remain closed and hundreds of deaths are projected even under the best-case scenarios. The federal and provincial governments are preparing massive aid packages for people and businesses alike, hoping to at least mitigate the worst of the damage done by the virus.

One of the bright spots in an otherwise grim time has been the response of many Canadian leaders. Justin Trudeau and provincial premiers like Doug Ford have been front and centre in the response to the COVID-19 crisis. Many of them have won praise even from their critics for their efforts to keep people updated on the crisis, ensure critical supplies are being delivered and enable public health officials to do their jobs. …

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Almost all of the blockades in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in British Columbia have come down. Many non-Indigenous Canadians angrily criticized the blockades, saying that the Wet’suwet’en band council chiefs agreed to the Coastal Gas Link pipeline and that governments and police should have enforced the “rule of law” by dismantling the blockades more forcefully.

There are three problems with that approach. I already touched on one of them in a previous Gazette letter, namely the danger of police forces going in too hard. The second problem is the conflict between the traditional form of Wet’suwet’en governance and the band councils. …


Jared Milne

Passionately devoted to Canadian unity. Fascinated by Canadian politics and history. Striving to understand the mysteries of Canada.

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