Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

A national dream

  • Print

Canada's first prime minister, John A. Macdonald, had a national dream. He wanted to forge a nation that stretched from coast to coast. We need a government today that wants to include our northern coast in that vision.

It is worthwhile to compare the challenges facing Macdonald and those of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Following Confederation in 1867, the residents of British Columbia were divided in their loyalties, with some favouring the new government in Ottawa, while others preferred union with the great republic to the south.

Macdonald's vision was at stake, so he built a railway to link the two coasts, the most significant infrastructure project in Canadian history. It was enough for British Columbia, which joined Confederation in 1871, forever ending the American threat.

Today, Canadian sovereignty in the north is facing challenges from several countries, including the United States. The Northwest Passage in particular, a phrase that is almost synonymous with the discovery of Canada, is a contested area. Mr. Harper is on a tour of the Canadian North to emphasize the government's commitment to the Arctic. He has promised to beef up our military presence and to support the northern governments and their aboriginal residents. It's all good, but it falls short.

Canada needs a new national dream for the Arctic. It doesn't have to be a northern railway or superhighway -- although that wouldn't hurt -- but there must be a more potent commitment to people who call the Arctic home. They are the most important representatives of Canadian sovereignty, but their voices might not be heard when the time comes if they do not feel part of the national experience.

As author Marie Wadden said recently: "Instead of soldiers guarding our Arctic borders, we should have Inuit citizens who feel truly part of this country, who are respected and given the necessary tools to succeed in the 21st century." The people of the North are the backbone of any plan to assert our sovereignty. Without them, there can be no national dream from coast to coast to coast.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Gerald Flood, Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 20, 2009 A10

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Family of Matias De Antonio speaks outside Law Courts

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A squirrel enjoys the morning sunshine next to the duck pond in Assiniboine Park Wednesday– June 27, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 090728 / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS White Pelicans belly up to the sushi bar Tuesday afternoon at Lockport. One of North America's largest birds is a common sight along the Red RIver and on Lake Winnipeg. Here the fight each other for fish near the base of Red RIver's control structure, giving human fisher's downstream a run for their money.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Now that the snow is mostly gone, what are your plans?

View Results

Ads by Google