April 23rd, 1945

My dearest Michael,

I am writing this letter with the deepest and most solemn intentions. What I wish to tell you cannot be confined into words, and I hope you take my words, but most importantly my feelings to heart. I wish to tell you a bit about my life, and the cause that I fought for, and with all my mind I hope I can live through tomorrow to see you at home.

It is now the April of 1945, and we have been at war for the past 5 years. I serve now in the RCN, on HMCS Brantford, and I know firsthand the perilous conditions we face every single day on the Atlantic. What a miserable, rotten hopeless life, an Atlantic so rough it seems impossible that a sailor can continue to take this unending pounding and still remain in one piece. Over the course of the battle so far, more than 3,600 Canadian sailors lost their lives in the seas, and more than 752 air men passed away. Canada and our allies, the USN, RN and FFN, stand together in the fight, but no one is safe from the U-boats, and nowhere can we find refuge. Stretching from the cold water of Labrador Sea or the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the waters sailed by the Home Fleet, the allies have been racing to transport materials to Europe, escorting convoys of more than a dozen ships. In the longest battle of the War, the Battle of the Atlantic, we have suffered more than 4000 allied ship loses so far, and millions of tonnages of goods. The imminent victory to the Allied Forces did not come at a small cost.

Canadians are peacekeepers and non-aggressors for the most part, but we are also loyalists to our allies. I have said this in disregard for the French, which you know I am not a part of. I believe that they have made a mistake by going against our war efforts like conscription, and their recalcitrant attitude hinders our support to the rightful cause. Anglophones like me cannot understand their decisions now, but at least they cheer with us when we secure a U-boat kill. The success of the Navy and Air Force united Canada for short bursts, but looking back at the Great War, I doubt its longevity. I do hope that in your time the French Canadians will stand at the same front as the English, and Canada can stand united in a time of global conflict.

The war is affecting Canada on many fronts, many dear to your own family’s lives. Your parents, who are young children at this time, live conservatively with limited supplies. Even the dress of women changed to a simpler outfit. As result of millions willingly contributing to the war effort, Canada has built more than a million tonnages of cargo ships, and more than 200 worships. This has been called “remarkable,” “astonishing” and “magnificent” by an English official, and Canadian strength and economic stability is just starting to shine through the horizon. Canadians are also starting to get together to hear the news and bond with their neighbors, and new job opportunities industrialized many towns. Through the French may realize that their voices are not being considered in this country, bringing some degree of political separation, the war so far has changed Canada’s economy and social identities for the better. This, in no way, mean that the War is beneficial to us, and you must remember that one life lost is one too many. We can only look back blessed that we were not hit as hard as others are.

The Battle of the Atlantic is the turning point of the entire War, even if you take my personal bias out. Without the support of hundreds of Canadian warships, Britain and the Soviet Union could not have continued fighting, and we would have lost the war in Europe. Canadians entered the War with less than twenty serviceable warships, and the number now exceeds three hundred. Canadians are now respected worldwide for their valiant fighting and their industrial power, and we are gaining speed economically and politically. The industries that were built up will continue to power Canada, and our international relations are never stronger. I see a bright future for Canada, one in which it is considered an equal to other world powers.

This is both a testament and a memoir from a sailor, documenting the experiences of the terrible War. I write in a perilous situation, facing a last, desperate attempt by a U-boat wolfsrudel. I write this so that you may know how war changes everything, from the perspective of one who has gone through it all. History is written by the winners, and I hope that you can learn it first hand and never repeat it again,

 

Your grandfather,

Sherman Scheer

boatbackground
Convoy assembled in the Bedford Basin, Halifax N.S., in April 1942
HMCS Brantford covered with ice at February 1944
HMCS Brantford covered with ice at February 1944

Anti-submarine grenade launched into the air by our corvette

Anti-submarine grenade launched into the air by our corvette

THE DAILY SUN – JUNE 5, 1866

Dear citizens and voters of New Brunswick,

As your Premier for the greater part of the past 5 years, I would like to thank you, the hardworking and steadfast people along the banks of St. John, for supporting me with your voices and ideas. I stand firmly behind the ideas of a confederation, a union of the British North American colonies, and a Dominion of Canada. As I stand as Premier with a majority, I will represent New Brunswick in the conferences to come that will determine our place in the Dominion. A strong nation in the North has been a part of my dreams for almost 20 years now, and hopefully, it will be yours as well.

I believe that you are all well aware of the benefits of a united nation, that of increased trades, better defences, and most of all, a great railway that will connect all of the previously separated provinces. Our beloved home is, unfortunately, not the best in terms of financial debt, but a union can bring new trade and work opportunities to a deprived economy. Our trade deal with the Americans had ended and Britain had long resorted to free trade, so the only and best option left to us would be to look around us. We have all of our colonies, each with different wants and fears, which a mutual trade relationship could satisfy. And any commercial union will inevitably lead to some kind of political union, one in which I now support. With the trans-colonial railway, we will have an influx of new cultures and produces, and we may freely travel to a place of our choosing. Our industrial settlements will boom from the construction of the railway and the resultant effects, and New Brunswick can then lift itself up as a powerful and responsible province.

The recent Fenian raids on the Indian Island may have hit most of you as an alarming call to get our defences up. For those who are blissfully ignorant, the civil war has just ended in the South, and the States are eying us with pity and dominance. Their “Manifest Destiny” threatens to annex our lands. Fenians are small threats compared to the armies of the Union States, and Great Britain is unable to defend us over such great a border. Only the combined power and statue of a united Canada can stop us from being robbed of our beliefs and cultures. United, we are stronger than any single province fighting on its own. It is necessary, therefore, to bind together the Atlantic and Pacific by a continuous chain of settlements and line of communications, for that was the destiny of this country and the race which inhabited it.

I had owned a pharmacy and I know firsthand the needs of the people and the province. I promise to fight for financial security and the great railway with all of my power. You need not worry about the position of New Brunswick in the new union, as I myself am a loyal citizen of this great province. I have and will advocate for strong provincial governments and equitable distribution of federal money, and the rights and autonomy of the citizens. You know me as one who speaks with logic and numbers, and I will not fail you in ensuring Maritime rights. Our independence is inevitable and nodded on by Her Majesty Queen Victoria, and it will only serve to strengthen our relationship with the Great Empire as more of a friend and less of a servant. Therefore, support me and my government, and we will build a strong country together.

I will soon depart for London to negotiate the terms for the first great country to be on this land, one proclaimed to be “inhabited by barbarians, bears and beavers” only, and in a few months time, we might finally call ourselves with the proudness of one belonging to a free and mighty nation – Canadians. Once again, I wish to thank you deeply for your support, and I will continue to uphold a responsible government serving its people.

 

Yours sincerely,

S. L. Tilley

1866

“He shall have Dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.” -Psalms 72:8


Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 7 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

Wallace, C. M. “Biography – TILLEY, Sir SAMUEL LEONARD – Volume XII (1891-1900) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography.” Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol. 12, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 1990, www.biographi.ca/en/bio/tilley_samuel_leonard_12E.html.

“Quebec History.” Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley Father of Confederation, Marianopolis College, faculty.marianopolis.edu/c.belanger/quebechistory/encyclopedia/SirSamuelLeonardTilley-CanadianHistory.htm.

 

A Double-edged Sword: J. A. Macdonald’s Soul Soup

Mr. Morris

Humanities

April 19, 2018

Canada’s first prime minister Sir John A. Macdonald once remarked, “let us be English or let us be French . . . and above all let us be Canadians,” leading the two opposing cultures to unite as Canada.  John A. Macdonald’s efforts in bonding the North and giving birth to the Confederation has long granted him a place as one of the greatest prime ministers in Canada, but recent reformations and value changes shed light on his not-so-great acts. Like the much loved and scrutinized fast-food chain Mcdonald’s, John A. Macdonald is under debate of whether his physical presence is a healthy contribution to the society. Many critics urged for the removal of his figure and likeness from the public sphere, but due to his indispensable contributions the newborn Canada and the influences his legacy still have on us, I firmly believe that John A. Macdonald’s name should remain in the public sphere.

Throughout the history of mankind, many notable people have come and past, their best ideas and contributions engraved in our brains and our society, and Macdonald is one of those visionaries and missionaries. There can be no denial of his part in founding Canada, from solidifying the notion of two official languages, to building and expanding the confederations, Macdonald is someone who deserves to go remembered. Macdonald believed that “[Canada is] a great country and shall become one of the greatest in the universe if we preserve it; [but] we shall sink into insignificance and adversity if we suffer it to be broken,” and held on to his beliefs with the National Policy to insist on an independent and free Canada (Gwyn; Crane). That was a time when “one in five Canadians left for a better life below the border” (Gwyn). Canada is forever changed for the better with Macdonald’s contributions. While he did make some mistakes, “so did [all] Canadians, collectively,” and it is unjust to impose our current criticisms on someone who is irreplaceable in Canadian history (Gwyn). Macdonald deserves to be remembered by not just those who can afford to learn history in the private sphere, but everyone who have the right to walk the streets. Removing his name and figure not only removes his contributions, but also an opportunity to connect with the past.

Many critics argue that having John A. Macdonald’s representation in the public sphere show that we as Canadians support racism and all of Macdonald’s values, and that keeping the values of the past discourages change. However, change does not occur through a removal of the past, but instead through knowledge of mistakes and admittance of what is wrong. John A. Macdonald’s statues highlight his contributions while shedding light on how we as Canadians have changed, not the deeds of the past that reflects old values. Macdonald is known for “preserving the larger half of North America as a country of its own” and maintaining multiculturalism to a degree unheard of in his time, and his statues illustrate just that (Symons). The statues are not made to glorify Macdonald as a saint, or to show endorsement for every single idea of his. Just like how a war general would be portrayed in uniform, highlighting military talents and nothing else like his drinking habits or temper; John A. Macdonald is portrayed as the founding father of Canada, a respectable political figure, and not much else. It would be irrational to treat every representation of Macdonald as supportive acknowledgement for his not-so-great ideas, just as regarding statues as idol worshiping is silly. Erasing Macdonald from the public sphere will remove his legacy from most of known history, encompassing not just the contributions worth praising, but a bit of the past values worth reflecting about.

Although many have argued for the removal of John A. Macdonald’s figure from the public sphere due to changing values, he remains the founding father of Canada that shaped us like no other. When considering the effects of Macdonald’s figure on current Canadians, we conclude that his’s deeds not only deserve to be remembered and nodded-to, but reflected and act upon, both important reasons for his name to be in the public sphere. Through Macdonald’s figure, Canadians can wonder about the political, social and economical challenges of early Canada, review and learn from discriminatory actions committed from arrogant and self-righteous societies, and cheer about how far the social values have progressed to be more inclusive and supportive. Macdonald always had his nation in mind, and his ideas outshone and outpaced other ideas then, a strikingly similar attribute to Canadians now, who are progressive and empathetic. Macdonald’s case will prove Kelly Clarkson’s famous line, “what doesn’t kill [us] makes [us] stronger,” as Canadians have walked out of discrimination strong and free. Sir John A. Macdonald would be proud looking from above.


Crane, David. “Canada–US Economic Relations.” The Canadian Encyclopedia, Historica Canada, 3 Sept. 2009, www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/economic-canadian-american-relations/.

DOL #2: CPR

To what extent did John A. McDonald’s decision to build the CPR influence Canada as seen now?

  • Historical Significance: 

Outline the focus of your inquiry and provide background knowledge. Why is this an important and significant question to ask about the past? Provide evidence from primary and secondary sources.

The CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) was a transcontinental railway system that would connect the west with the more developed and populated east. It was promised by John A. MacDonald, our first prime minister, when he rose to power in 1867, leading to the entry of British Columbia into Confederation. The railway came under many critics’ attack, and the Pacific Scandal threw MacDonald off the seat of power. When MacDonald came back to power in 1878, he was determined to make the railway happen. The Canadian Pacific Railway company was incorporated in 1881, and construction finished late 1885. Soon, the first passenger train arrived transcontinental into Port Moody from Montreal in 1886.

Map of Canada with BC, Canada, and the other provinces. Image from cpconnectingcanada.ca

The CPR is a massive operation at the beginning of Canada’s history, and in the process of making it happen, many mistakes and sacrifices were made. It is undeniable, however, that it profoundly changed the course of Canada and its people. By weighing the pros with the cons, we can judge the value of the CPR and MacDonald’s decision in retrospect.

  • Cause and Consequence:

Why did your researched events happen the way they did and what were the consequences?

  • Perspective

The first intentions of the railway were to prompt BC to join the Confederation and grow the feeble Canadian economy independent of the US (who refused all trade with Canada at the time). The two goals were certainly met, as BC joined the Confederation soon after the railway was promised with the condition that it must be built in a decade, and businesses sprouted all along the western provinces. The addition of British Columbia further diversified Canada both socially and environmentally and provided a place for people to settle. Canada’s increasing land mass supported its growth politically and economically too, gaining more voice as its assets increased. The railway also fueled new corporations to develop and flourish. The communities started from scratch to provide necessities of life. The new environments also demanded new industries different from the ones Canadians are used to. Fur trading companies became farming and logging ones, and farm forks replaced snowplows. The west and the east could trade local goods, and everyone was happy – the people, who had the commodities they wanted, the companies, which lowered expenses in transport and increased sales, and the government, which sees increased nationalism and a better self-sustaining economy. The brand new Canadian settlements needed much, and the revenues generated by the new industries meant better economy. It is a positive influence on Canadian development as seen from the eyes of mainstream Canadians.

The Last Spike being laid by Donald A. Smith on Nov. 7, 1885. Image from Library and Archives Canada

There are more unintended and unthought of consequences of the CPR though. The railway was built on the 10 million hectares of land provided by the government, but one might ask: where did that land come from? To make way for the railway, thousands of indigenous people are forced to leave the land that they have resided on for many hundreds of years. MacDonald even resorted to using hunger to stave off the people, killing many with starvation. These inhumane acts reflect values then and even values now, when indigenous people are on many fronts not equal to non-indigenous Canadians. The Canadian “victory” over the indigenous may even have served to ridicule Louis Riel’s efforts to keep the Metis’ land. Discrimination had only grown with the CPR. Even now, those communities of indigenous people may remember how they lost their ancestral land because of the construction of a railway profiting white people.

Image Courtesy of The Globe and Mail; Indigenous people forced to leave

To the early Chinese in Canada, the CPR did not bring much hope at all. Forced to work in danger with very little pay, the Chinese workers often died on the job. The Canadians found that the Chinese can be paid very little, expected to work on hard jobs, and more of all be bullied around without care of their lives. Subsequently after completion of the railway, a head tax was introduced for Chinese immigrants, and they were denied the right to vote. The building of the CPR did not do much for the Chinese, who only suffered more because of the labor and discrimination. The history and culture of maltreatment for the Chinese and Asian minorities may have influenced as far as Canada’s treatment of the Japanese in WW2. Looking at the present society, few of the evidence from that period of maltreatment can be seen as apologies are made, and history avoided. However, we need to remember that the same event can be great to one community, race or even country, but the back side of the story is often either untold or drown out in a sea of chants coming from the majority in the front rows.

It is important to mention that although John A. MacDonald did many things unacceptable by today’s standards, we are judging him from our perspective. Many of his policies contained acceptance not found in his era. We should not blame him for his actions extensively, but to properly criticize his actions, we need to look at a different perspective from his own time.

  • Social Studies Inquiry Process

What conclusions can you reach about your question, based on the research you conducted?

Through an investigation into the influence of the CPR, it becomes evident that many actions, even ones that are celebrated by something as large as a nation, can have darker sides. While something may have tremendously positive influences, the negative influences could also be far-reaching and extensive, as is the case with the CPR. As all humans are equal, we cannot just shout “for the greater good” and only look at the big picture. It is necessary, especially in the case of multiple identities (Indigenous Canadian, etc.) to investigate every possible perspective to assess a fair picture of the consequences of an action. The negatives can be hard to find in a sea of praise, but it is just in fairytales that “all lived happily ever after” exist.


 

Sources:

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/canadian-pacific-railway/

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/national-policy/

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/when-canada-used-hunger-to-clear-the-west/article13316877/

https://www.library.ubc.ca/chineseinbc/railways.html

http://www.cpr.ca/en/about-cp-site/Documents/cp-history-for-students.pdf

Images are linked.

 

Document of Learning 1: Postnationalism

“There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada. Those qualities are what make us the first postnational state.”

-Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (2015)

  1. Choose an event from Canada’s past or present (social, political, environmental, or economic) and describe/illustrate (show cause and effect) how this event influenced / influences all four of the quadrants. Provide images / primary source evidence where possible.
  2. Does your event represent a step towards creating and maintaining a coherent Canadian identity, or does it move Canada more clearly in the direction of Trudeau’s discussion of a “postnational” state?
  3. In your opinion, is there any value in trying to define a specific Canadian identity, or should we abandon this idea towards a more open and global idea of nationhood? Why?

 

One of the key events that has shaped Canadian identity and affects all aspects of our lives is the right to universal health care. Tommy Douglas (NDP) first proposed it as premier of Saskatchewan in 1947, urging for free basic hospital care. All of the provinces and territories soon followed, helping Canadians across the country live without fear of health issues regardless of their wealth. The medical program soon expanded and improved to include more treatments covered, leading to the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act in 1957 and the Medical Care Act in 1966. This is a political event, but its far-reaching consequences are definitely affecting all four quadrants. This decision definitely affected the social aspect of Canadians, helping equalize people to make sure they have the same access to important social services. It is also an important step forward in making Canada the accepting, unbiased nation that it is now. It is a statement made by the government that symbolizes their determination to support all their citizens and provide them with the same fundamental rights regardless of poverty or social standing. On the economical side, the government’s decision to “reimburse, or cost share,

one-half of provincial and territorial costs for specified hospital and diagnostic services” will have an impact on the other expenses of the country. The free medical services are, after all, not cheap, knowing that the average household pays $11,320 per year in tax money. The money spent on providing care may be withdrawn from important funds, like ones set up for the environment. The Conservative party is not known for renewable energy and the like, so the health care funds may reduce environmental funding not supported by the government. Also, the fact that people won’t have to pay for healthcare will mean that a lot more people will use the system, increasing strain on the system and usage of medical supplies, creating more waste that may harm the environment.

This act has moved Canada closer as a nation by emphasizing to the world the values that Canadians are proud of. Even today, free universal health care is not the case in many countries in the world, and the fact that Canada is part of this group says something about our stand regarding human rights. From the women’s rights movements in 1929 to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982, Canada has shown itself to be a nation that embraces change to accept all races, genders or social classes. Canada’s decision to spend valuable funds on the universal health care system to provide access to a healthy life for everyone states its priorities to the world. At that time, not many countries would use big sums of money to help the poor, but we did, and that action at the time made millions of Canadians proud. It is actions like this, ones which distinguish Canada from the rest, that shapes Canadian identity, and I believe that everyone, whether then or now, would see us Canadians as open and tolerant people.

I firmly believe that we, as Canadians, should have a collective identity that overarches on the sea of different values and beliefs. It is only through this sense of being “Canadian” that we could be united as a nation and a country. Canadians in this country may have distinct values and beliefs, but just like how Americans are united by the idea of “freedom and ideas”, we should be people drawn together by something as well. This something, I think, is the strive for equality. As a nation, the Canadian identity is gender equality (LGBTQ + as well), immigration and refugee help, First Nations support, and multiculturalism. Regardless of whether the government is doing well to actualize those things, they are the things that Canadians care about and believe in. This is what makes Canada the nations that it is, huge ideas that support and protect the multitude of small, individual ideas, knowing that our differences can’t break us, but only unite us.

Historical Thinking: What is Important in SS 10

Based on our conversations in class today, your prior experience, and the “Guideposts to Historical Thinking” handout, which historical thinking question do you believe is the most important to consider for a vibrant and challenging Social Studies experience this year? Why?

I believe that the most important question to ask in our Social Studies experience is that of how the history, on paper, relates to our lives in the 3-dimensional world. Anything that we learn in the classroom needs to be applied to our lives in order to make a difference. If history remains history and not experience, they are just stories to entertain, pedantic knowledge that does nothing except to showcase memory. It may sound easy, but it actually requires us to build connections with the text and to be careful not to impose current values on past societies. A guidepost to historical thinking states that “a fair assessment of the ethical implications of history can inform us of our responsibilities to remember and respond… [to] the past.” Understanding the context of why people did what they have done will present to us what has happened in its truth. It is important that we try to give credit to the wronged and shed light on the past, not just for history’s sake, but for our sake too. Our understanding of history can help us make informed decisions about issues in our own society, and that is what ultimately matters.

Socials Final!

Socials is over, and how fast time flies by when you are having fun… To give you more of a visual, I have included notes in my PowerPoint that I presented in class on Wednesday. So when you click on the link, just click on notes on the bottom right hand corner and you will see an explanation of each slide, which is also kind of my script for the presentation, altered a bit.

Some helpful links you may find helpful in additional:

My Midterm blog post

Socials 9 learning outcomes

pdf of powerpoint without notes

if the PowerPoint link don’t work, click this pdf notes-and-ppt

 

MY FINAL WORDS ON YOUR REVOLUTION

Refer to this page if you are confused as to why I am speaking weirdly. – Tony


 

During my long life as a philosopher, writer and playwright, I have stood on the far edge of human thinkers with my ingenious ideas. I wrote about the ideal world, with more reason behind our actions, less tradition like religion. Other countries respected me, trusted me for my work against tyranny, bigotry and cruelty, but France, you have always been hesitant. Looking back at this whole “revolution”, I see that you have strayed from the right path. Look at what that guy Robespierre did, committing murder in the name of public safety. And guess why he did that, gee, I wonder if that’s because he is hugely influenced by that creature named Rousseau? In any case, if you, had listened, all of this bloodshed and savagery could not have happened, and the misery you had forced upon your people would be lesser.        – Voltaire, past revolution

-1780s, My Final Years in Life

Refer to this page if you don’t get what is happening or why I am Voltaire from the French Revolution.


Hear ye, hear ye! I am François-Marie Arouet, or Voltaire, a French writer and philosopher. Here I present “Free Thoughts on the Proceedings of the Monarchy!”…

I am writing this pamphlet in comment of the situation right now. Among all this debating and rhetoric, I want to remind you all of what I have said, that monarchy, is indeed, the best way of government for a country as large as France. It would be just too time consuming to fully consult the opinions of the people with what ways of communication we have, for instance. Quoting myself:

“I would rather obey a fine lion, much stronger than myself, than two hundred rats of my own species.” 

Heed not the rabble who scream revolution, they had not the best plan for you. Chaos and bloodshed are not a solution, don’t let them led you astray. This monarch does not speak for me, nor does all these poor and dumb men. I pray the King will confess all sins, at last, at last. Inspired by Samuel Seabury.  I see the injustice, clerical abuses, prejudice, and fanaticism in France, and don’t get me wrong, I am not saying our monarchs are doing just fine. They are not, as a matter of fact, as you readers may have noticed. The thing that we need to do now, is to try to break the barriers of superstition and let reason guide us into a world with better policies like the ones in England (English religious tolerance and freedom of speech). What we will have, in the end, is an enlightened monarchy, full of wise men and led by reason instead of traditions like what the Church had imposed us with.

My obstacle could be you, reading this paragraph. Don’t be persuaded by rats in our society, and if you are one of them yourself, think of the idea of a revolution against one of the most powerful nation in the world. Where will you get your guns, or would you settle for a fork? What comes after the revolution, do you think that all you farmers and bakers can honestly set up a society?

Towards this issue, I am doing what I could to pass my ideas on to more and more people. During my stay in the King’s court, he found that he is already enlightened, just too authoritarian. I encourage fellow writers to speak up, not to harshly, and to influence the court if not the King.

Hamiltalons, A Theme From the best Musical EVER!!

Meet the latest work from the TALONS program,

I prob’ly shouldn’t brag, but, dag, it amaze and astonish!

The thing is that its got a lot of brains and has polish.

I don’t need to holler the thing speaks for itself.

With every word, it shines knowledge!                                            –Rewrite/parody of “My Shot”

Continue reading “Hamiltalons, A Theme From the best Musical EVER!!”