150 Things to Know on Canada’s 150th Birthday – HuffPost
On the occasion of Canada’s 150th birthday here are 150 things to know…
1. Today, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is one of the world’s most popular political leaders.
2. Justin Trudeau emerged out of the shadows and into the political spotlight when delivering the eulogy at his father’s funeral, the late Pierre Elliot Trudeau in September 2000.
3. The four pallbearers at the funeral were Justin Trudeau, the Aga Khan, former President Jimmy Carter and…the late Cuban autocrat Fidel Castro.
4. Justin Trudeau’s brother, Alexandre Trudeau, is a fearless filmmaker, who was Embedded in Baghdad before, during and after the U.S. invasion in 2003.
5. While Justin is a social media star, his father was the true showman, who once famously pirouetted behind Queen Elizabeth’s back.
6. In fact, this was just one of many colorful moments. To this day in Canada to give the ‘Pierre Trudeau salute’ means something, very interesting…
7. And who can forget the moment featuring the Rolling Stones, the paparazzi and the Prime Minister.
8. However, the elder Trudeau also did some amazing things for Canada. For starters, until 1982 when he brought it back to Canada, the constitution was effectively governed by the Queen of England.
9. That same year he pushed through the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms.
10. This protection of Canadian rights and diversity did not emerge overnight. Back in 1971, the elder Trudeau declared the new Canadian multiculturalism policy.
11. Four years earlier, in 1967, Pierre Trudeau uttered these famous words: “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation,” when he decriminalized homosexuality in sweeping changes to the criminal code.
12. It took Canada until 2005 to legalize same-sex marriage, being the first nation outside of Europe and fourth in the world to do so.
13. However, while things were eventful under Pierre Trudeau they were also turbulent. He suspended civil liberties during the ‘October Crisis’ in 1970, when he invoked the ‘War Measures Act’ after a provincial cabinet minister was kidnapped by separatist militants.
14. He also enacted the National Energy Program in the 1980s which effectively federalized revenues from energy resources in Alberta, creating long-term hostility towards the federal Liberal Party in the years to come in Western Canada.
15. Trudeau was also an antagonist to separatist ambitions in Quebec, delivering two fiery speeches, one in 1980, and another in 1995 to thwart referendums for independence.
16. All in all, the elder Trudeau served for 15 years but he wasn’t the longest serving Prime Minister. That would be William Lyon Mackenzie King, who served for 21 years.
17. In second place was the founding Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald, who served for 18 years – and who also had a bit of a drinking problem.
18. When Canada was founded in 1867, there were only four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
19. In fact it was not until 1949 that the last province, Newfoundland joined Canada, and that was only after a barely won referendum.
20. Canada also has three Territories: the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavat, the latter being formed in 1999.
21. The country is extremely ‘big’, the second largest in the world with over 2 million lakes, among other things.
22. But, 75% of Canadians actually live within 100 miles of the U.S.-Canada border.
23. This may be one of the reasons why the U.S.-Canada economic relationship is the largest in the world, estimated to total US$630 billion in 2016 alone.
24. Close to 30,000 trucks cross the border every single day between the two countries.
25. While things are rosy today, it wasn’t always so. During the War of 1812, the Canadas, as the British colonies were known then, went to battle with the U.S., ultimately burning down the White House on August 24, 1814.
26. War was quite frequent back then due to competing French, British, and American ambitions. After fierce fighting, the 1763 Treaty of Paris essentially gave the British control over much of French Canadian land.
27. In addition, one cannot forget that much of Canadian land belonged to the First Nations, who have been marginalized, ostracizied, occupied and colonized throughout much of Canadian history.
28. During Canada’s first years, a group of people called the Metis who were ethnically mixed between First nations and European descent, rose up in rebellion, ultimately establishing a short-lived provisional government in 1870.
29. The leader of that rebellion Louis Riel was ultimately ranked as the 11th Greatest Canadian.
30. That battle was only one of many for the acknowledgement of the rights of First Nations. One of the worst stains on Canadian history was the residential school system that at one point put a third of all First Nations children under the care of the state.
31. Thousands of students died, and many more were subject to emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.
32. While today, people acknowledge some of these aspects of history, the fight is not over. One of the scandals that was a campaign issue for Justin Trudeau, was the plight of up to 4,000 missing or murdered aboriginal women.
33. Canada’s history has not always been one of inclusivity. The Chinese Exclusion or Immigration Act of 1923 effectively banned immigrants of Chinese origin.
34. This was a culmination of violence and protests against immigrants from East and South Asia, including riots in 1907 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
35. Today, whites are expected to become a minority in Vancouver by 2031 (although I suspect this has already happened).
36. 20.6% of Canadians are foreign-born today and 19.1% identify themselves as visible minorities. 3% of the population identifies as Muslim.
37. There are more Sikhs in the Canadian Cabinet than there are in India’s government (4 versus 2).
38. It was not until the 1940s, however, that Sikhs truly received voting rights.
39. Canadian women achieved the right to vote around the same time as women in the U.S. in the late 1910s.
40. Canada also became home to a number of Black Canadians due to the Underground Railroad, although racism has reared its ugly head in Canada as well.
41. While ethnic and racial struggles have been real, so have class struggles. A lot of this culminated in gained labor rights and ultimately universal healthcare.
42. The ‘grandfather’ of universal healthcare was actually New Democratic Party leader Tommy Douglas, who was named the Greatest Canadian in that (in-)famous poll.
43. Tommy Douglas is also the grandfather of prominent Canadian actor Kiefer Sutherland.
44. Kiefer Sutherland’s father is Donald Sutherland, who married Tommy Douglas daughter, prominent public figure, Shirley Douglas.
45. While living in the U.S. Donald Sutherland retained only Canadian citizenship but lost the right to vote due to the Conservative Party’s new laws in 2015.
46. This also led to a rallying cry by then candidate Justin Trudeau, that “A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.”
47. There are almost 3 million Canadians living abroad but many retain a vibrant Canadian identity.
48. For example, the Terry Fox Run, a hallmark of Canada, has been held in over 60 countries by countless millions over the years.
49. Through these runs over $650 million has been raised for cancer research.
50. And it is all inspired by Terry Fox, who ran the Marathon of Hope in 1980 after losing one leg to cancer.
51. He ended his run after reaching 5,373 kilometres over 143 days.
52. Inspired by Terry’s courage, a fellow West Coaster, Rick Hansen embarked on a Man in Motion World Tour for two years in 1985.
53. He criss-crossed 34 countries raising $26 million along the way.
54. It also inspired the song St. Elmo’s Fire, which reached #1 on the Billboard Charts.
55. The best-selling Canadian artist of all time remains Celine Dion, who has sold over 200 million albums worldwide.
56. It appears though that fellow Canadian Justin Bieber may soon beat her on the charts.
57. There are a lot of Canadian singers, that are quite prominent, but they often live abroad, like Bryan Adams.
58. In fact, Bryan Adams and Beverley Hills 90210 star Jason Priestly went to the same high school, Argyle Secondary School in Vancouver.
59. And while Bryan Adams is known for his singing, he once mixed up the lyrics of the Canadian national anthem.
60. The Canadian national anthem, ‘O Canada’, was itself composed in 1880.
61. However, the lyrics of the anthem were originally French and were then translated into English.
62. The final English version emerged two decades later, which remains with us today.
63. Like many things marking Canadian identity, the flag also was developed after Confederation – in 1965!
64. Until that point the Canadian flag always had the Union Jack.
65. It was the government of then Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson that adopted the new flag.
66. He was inspired earlier to move on this when Canadian peacekeepers were not accepted in Egypt due to the presence of the Union Jack on their flags.
67. He had a lot of legitimacy because PM Pearson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for his efforts to stop the Suez Crisis.
68. He remains the only Canadian to win the Noble Peace Prize.
69. 17 other Canadians have won Nobel Prizes.
70. Probably the most prominent was Frederick Banting in 1923 who co-discovered insulin.
71. While Canadians are known for peacemaking in recent years it has been a troubling area.
72. It was a Canadian lieutenant-general who commanded the peacekeeping force that failed to intervene to stop the Rwandan Genocide in 1994.
73. Romeo Dallaire’s outspokenness after, however, helped empower the Responsibility to Protect movement.
74. Today, Canada has a Centre dedicated to humanitarian protection as a result.
75. Canada often fights alongside the United States, but refused to join the Iraq War in 2003 and the Vietnam War decades earlier.