Pride and Prejudice: Canada's international legacy
Moments that Shaped Canada
Canada is a vast country, with fascinating geography, culture, and most importantly history. Though not as long as countries such as England, Canada’s history is extremely interesting. Our history has many events that helped shape Canada into what it is today- some bad and some truly amazing. Of the many aspects in Canada’s history, its events in the 20th century was fundamental in making Canada the country it is today. It’s success at Vimy Ridge, interment of the Japanese, and association in NATO, its help in the Suez crisis, the Kogmagata Maru incident, and the separatist movement in Quebec. These were 6 crucial moments in Canada’s history that have left impressions on Canada today, all of which will be examined in depth.
Canada’s military involvement at Vimy Ridge was a significant moment in Canadian history. Vimy Ridge was a highly fortified, ridge the Germans controlled, which, despite countless attempts, the French and English had failed miserably at seizing control of. Though, on April 9th, 1917, lead by the careful planning of General Arthur Currie, and with plenty of training behind them, the Canadian’s attempt at capturing Vimy Ridge was a success. Canada managed to capture more land than the English, and French had ever managed, and only “lost about 4,000 men,(compared to the 150,000 casualties experienced by the French, and English)”3. This great triumph at a task that global powers like Brittan, and France, had failed so terribly at drew the world’s attention to the relatively new country of Canada, (which at that time had little reputation). It gave Canada much respect military wise, and portrayed it as a strong, new country, with much potential, and much to prove. In the words of Brigadier-General A.E. Ross, Canada’s success at Vimy Ridge was the ‘birth of a nation’. In memory of these events and the soldiers that have died a memorial statue has been erected in their honor at Vimy in France.
A more defining but darker moment in Canada’s history was the internment of Japanese Canadians. During WWII, Japanese Canadians were put into internment camps. The government stated it was for military safety, in case they were possible Japanese allies, though the real reason was prejudice of the Canadian people. “Approximately 23, 000 Japanese Canadians were put into internment camps, between 1942, and 1949 (when they were released). Families were separated, men taken further east to build roads, and, women and children were sent to camps to live. These camps were crammed and confined, with poor hygiene, and little food”2. The saddest part of it all is that the Japanese Canadians had not committed, and did not commit any crimes, against Canada on behalf of Japan during the war. This was a horrible way for Canadians to find a reason to act on their racism, and discrimination, against the Japanese. Over the years Canada and the Canadian government have come to realize the injustice that was committed so many years ago. “In 1988, the Prime Minister Brian, Mulroney finally, formally apologized on behalf of Canada for the harsh treatment. The government paid for several Japanese Canadian cultural centers to be built, and issued compensation packages for everyone directly wronged”1. Still today many Canadians feel regret for what had happened so long ago, and there is still memory of the event with some Japanese Canadians. This is a major scar left from Canada’s past military actions that acts as a reminder of our wrong doings, and teaches us for the future. shown below is the terrible picture of the declaration of the start of the internment.
On a much more brighter note a significant and proud moment in Canada’s action in the 20th century is the joining of NATO. In 1949 after the end of WWII, Canada signed the North Atlantic Treaty, making them a part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, alongside, Brittan, the U.S., and several other European Countries. The Treaty meant that if one nation was attacked, all other nation’s militaries would defend it. “Canada was extremely instrumental, and created, articles, 4, 5, and 2, (which stated that members had to strengthen ties in order for NATO to be a success)”4. Canada’s participation in NATO helped Canada strengthen ties globally, especially with America, which made trade in future years easier. Also, by being so influential in creating the treaty, Canada was recognized globally as a new global power, a leader, and a nation seeking to strengthen ties with others. NATO helped distinguish Canada globally, and created stronger bonds with its fellow nations. Shown below is the proud flag of NATO.
In addition to the proud moment in Canada's history is the help Canada provided in the Suez crisis which lead to a peaceful alternative to a escalating crisis. In 1956 a crisis broke out in the middle east between Israel and Egypt over the control of the Suez canal, which was and remains to be a main trading route for many countries. As the crisis escalated the USA and Russia became intertwined in this conflict which was now getting bigger and bigger every moment. Eventually our courageous and fine prime minister Lester B Person came up with the idea to send troops to each main country to find a peaceful alternative. This idea lead to the camp David accord which was an accord that was signed by both Israel and Egypt and ended this crisis. Below is a picture of the Suez canal the main point of this crisis, and below that is a picture of the great man who solved the problem Lester.B. Person.
A more darker moment in Canada's history is the Kogmagta Maru incident. This incident happened in 1906, at this time the Canadian created a law that stated that every immigrant would have to take a continuous voyage to Canada in order for them to be allowed in. This meant that it was impossible for east Indians to reach Canada. With the attempted immigration of 354 Sikh to Canada the law was changed in 1914. When these immigrants arrived they were blocked by a ship that prevented them from coming to Vancouver. They were kept off shore for three months until they decided to return to India where they met up with police and most were locked up due to our rude choices that we made. below is a photo of the boat of eastern Indians that attempted to reach Canada
The most disgraceful past event of the 20th century is the Quebec separatist movement. This was very disgraceful for Canada because never in our history did we experience a more disgraceful inner hatred towards our own country. During this experience many lives were lost but the very tragic deaths was the deaths of of Quebec’s Minister of Labour and Deputy Premier Pierre Laporte and British civil servant James Cross, they died due to the severe and terrible decisions of an extremist separatist group called the FLQ which killed these two fine men because their ransoms weren't met. These deaths lead to more inner chaos and conflict in Canada with the war measures act instated by prime minister Trudeau. and this the most disgraceful because this event showed a darker more hateful side of this amazing and most gracious country Canada. Below is a picture of the protest that happened to help remind us of the pain and suffering we went through.
Canada’s actions in the past century without a doubt played an important role, in Canada’s history, and foundation. Canada proved its self at battles like Vimy Ridge, made military mistakes that have left scars on Canadians with the internment of the Japanese, the Kogmata Maru incident, and the separatist movement and strengthened ties, and reputations, by joining NATO, and the resolution of the Suez crisis. If it weren't for these six major moments in Canadian History Canada would not be the fine country it is today. All in all Canada is one of the best countries to be a part of and we all should be proud of it and embrace our victories and learn from our mistakes.