George Henry Murray, Jacque Cartier, and Sir John A. MacDonald


A History Rich in Insight and Humour

Edmonton - Wednesday, April 17, 2002 - by: Ron Thornton

a clue

The heavy thinkers at the Dominion Institute did not exactly shock us with their recent report that Canadians basically haven't a clue as to their own history. Yet, it is sad so many are ignorant as to the events that formed this land or even the human qualities of its architects, including our colourful first Prime Minister.




It was a well lubricated Sir John A. Macdonald who once tossed his cookies upon the speaking platform as his Liberal rival spoke, saying it was a reaction for having been
"forced to listen to the rantings of my honourable opponent."



43 years

Imagine the reaction of "unite the right" proponents to Nova Scotia politics between 1882 and 1925 when the Liberals ruled for forty-three consecutive years, almost twenty-seven of them under the stewardship of George Henry Murray.


There was the great western scout Jerry Potts who, confused by the use of chamber pots by settlers, once asked a Mountie
"why would anyone (urinate) in a perfectly good eating bowl when the entire prairie lay before him?"


Though history shows Quebec has existed longer under the British monarchy than the flag of France, it is a chronicle that began nearly 470-years ago with Jacques Cartier searching for a route to China along the St. Lawrence. Long before him, aboriginal peoples fished Canada's waters; hunted its plains and tundra; grew crops; and fought and died in its defense.

where are
we going?

It is a rich heritage upon which a united people can continue to build a modern nation. Still, without knowing how we have arrived at this place in history, I wonder how can we possibly figure out where we are going?


Ron Thornton

  What sparked this story
  Ipsos-Reid poll that discovered Canadians lack of knowledge published January 11, 2002
  Dominion Institute web site
  April 15, 2002, Mandatory history classes urged Results of poll on Canada alarm, professor
Emma Poole Calgary Herald (The problem with archiving and lack of specific URL makes it necessary to put the article into a PDF so that you can see it in its original form)
  Monday, September 10, 2001 Canadians embarrassed by ignorance
  Toronto Globe and Mail, April 17, Political History Not Our Forte
  Find out about Jerry Potts at the Fort McLeod web site.
  A biography of Jerry Potts
  Another biography of Jerry Potts dealing with him as a Native North American
  Ted Meyers' story about Jerry Potts
  A biography of George Henry Murray
  Excellent information on Jacque Cartier including a list of links to other Cartier sites