The Second Battle of Ypres… A DOL, and a battle to be remembered

After a large push from the Canadian government looking for troops, Canada joined the second world war with a bang, on April 22nd 1915, during the second battle of Ypres. Just over six months previously, on October 3rd, 1914, Canada sent their first 30 troop ships to England for training, before ultimately going to join world war I. The Second battle of Ypres, in Western Belgium was the first battle the Canadians fought in during world war I, and it was also the first large scale poison gas attack in modern history. The Germans were fighting the British, who brought Canada along with them, but the Germans were the ones who released the poisonous gas, chlorine which led to an extremely painful death if inhaled in large quantities. Poisonous gas was a rather brilliant idea for the Germans, as it immediately cleared the battlegrounds of all opposing soldiers by either killing them, or having them run in fear. Unfortunately (for them) however, the Germans didn’t take advantage of that space they’d created, as they were afraid to enter the space the gas occupied after seeing so many deaths, despite wearing gas masks that would protect them from the fumes. This allowed the few remaining Canadian troops who had entered that battle, to gain back this land once the gas cleared. They stood their ground, and it ultimately led to the outsider view on the Canadian army, as resilient, and not a force to be reckoned with. 

Some Germans during the "Second Battle of Ypres"

In 1914, majority of Canada was made up of citizens with British roots, people who wanted to fight for England. People thought of the war as an adventure, which would benefit their motherland; they also thought the war would be short lived. This made it fairly easy for the Canadian government to find an army who was willing to join forces with England. The government still put alot of time and effort into advertising the war though, as they were still attached to Britain in terms of their foreign affairs, and were thus somewhat obliged to join their fight. 

When World War I first started, Canada was in the middle of a sour spot economically. Since the railway was finished, there was a huge number of individuals who were now unemployed. Canada had also been experiencing a drought, so farmers struggled to grow their crops, and sell them for profit. The war was an opportunity for employment for all as they paid troops $1.10 per day, and they hired women as nurses and ambulance drivers. The war was also an opportunity for adventure. After the war, Canada’s economic success raised slightly, but then came the great depression. I am only studying the second battle of Ypres though, not the entirety of World War I. It is just important to note that this first battle involving Canadians had a huge impact on us. We were seen as resilient people after holding our ground at Ypres, and that affected how we fought in numerous battles to come. It was also considered one of Wilfred Laurier’s greatest successes, as he asked for volunteers, which solved the fight erupting between francophones and anglophones, who were on opposing sides regarding joining the war or not. 

The Second battle of Ypres was a turning point both for Canadians, and the rest of the world’s view on Canada. We were suddenly more of a country due to our success, which is probably a big reason the united states didn’t keep their promises of taking over. If we had waited even a week longer, Britain may have lost the battle at Ypres, and that may have led to Germany winning the war. Our role even in that first battle, has defined our success ever since. 

Is Justin Trudeau the true successor to Wilfred Laurier?

Just a quick t-chart of Justin Trudeau vs Wilfred Laurier for my academic controversy preparation. Sorry if the spacing is weird, when I copied and pasted it over from word, it was altered a bit…

Justin Trudeau Wilfred Laurier
Liberal Liberal
Replaced Stephen Harper— long standing conservative Replaced John A. Macdonald— long standing conservative
Advocates for “national unity” over divisiveness. Claims changing voting system would break us up Used compromise to fight for “national unity” with support to Canada’s independence.
Believes persuasion beats power “sunny ways” Believes persuasion beats power “sunny ways”
Tries to create compromise between indigenous, anglophones and francophones Tried to create compromise between indigenous, anglophones and francophones
Supported NAFTA free trade agreement Wanted free trade with U.S. (failed in the end)
Supports immigrants, claiming it is Canada’s duty. 25,000 from Syria within four months of election

He believes that immigrants will help Canada’s economic growth

Supported influx of immigrants to Canada West (especially those who were white) as they would help farm, boosting Canada’s economy. 
Promised increased infrastructure and affordable housing through technological advancement

     -which put us in debt

Promised building of towns and railways

     -Put Canada in debt, and citizens had to pay it back with high taxes

Sociable personality Sociable personality
Supports indigenous relations, and believes that they are currently in a state of discrimination Supported Metis peoples (the division between cultures extended the period of time before national unity) and believed their rights were violated
Promised to fund new ships and materials for navy, hasn’t yet Created Canada’s navy in 1910
Cut down spending on Canada’s defence in 2016, and stopped sending fighter planes to middle east Volunteered troops during Boer war, and advocated for more during WWI
Had his father’s name tainting his record His family name had not entered politics previously
Created a cabinet divided equally between women and men; he led the first equal cabinet in history Supported women’s right to vote, encouraging it to be a provincial decision, as he knew that it wouldn’t pass federally, but had a chance in individual provinces
His family took a vacation to a private island in the Bahamas, whose owner caused a conflict of interest. Took over as PM after JAM who was accused of accepting money in exchange for deals with railway companies. 

Dear Diary — love Mercy Coles

Mercy Coles

Tuesday, August. 2nd 1864

Dear Diary,

As with everything mildly intriguing, the past few weeks have been brimmed up with gossip and chatter of colonial union in the Coles’ house— rather my home. Father speaks non-stop of Prince Edward Island’s prospect of joining the colonies, with anyone who’s willing to listen. I’m not particularly interested in any political happenings, however I believe that confederation might just affect me personally. There is talk of a meeting with prominent people from each colony to discuss this possible union of colonies. The date is set for September 1st in Charlottetown I believe. While this isn’t all that exciting, the prospect of accompanying my mother and father, certainly is.

The wife and unmarried children of each man are to come along, and hopefully may be courted by the end of it all. Already, I’ve received letters from some gentlemen requesting my attendance at the meetings. I am nearing twenty-seven, and would really prefer to be married by the conclusion of ’65. Twenty-eight is a ghastly age to be unmarried, unless a widow, which I suppose is even more dreadful.

Father has been preparing me for what may come of the meetings for us ladies, and I am simply enthralled in the— dare I say magic of it all. He warns me that many men will approach me to attempt to sway my political standpoint, and in hopes reproach father’s as well. I highly doubt that these men might have an influence over my standpoint, that is worth conveying to father, but we shall see. Father never allows me enough time or breath to share my political views, as it is truly unearthly for a lady such as I to have an opinion on the matter. And I suppose it doesn’t really matter, as I don’t have a solidified view on the ordeal. I just sometimes wish the freedom to say what I think.

So you, diary, will have to listen to all the gib-gab political nonsense I may utter at this moment, simply to clear my chest of the wrongdoings. I suppose that all my views come from my father, and are thus tainted fragments of evidence, but they exist nonetheless. I do believe that a union is destined to come for us, as we are simply too small and meaningless as of where we currently stand. Prince Edward Island can’t do much in terms of disobeying royal orders, although I suppose we wouldn’t wish to do so either way. But if we joined with the other colonies, wouldn’t we still be rather miniature in the scheme of things? I think I’ve heard father speak of this as “rep by pop” but I am unclear on what the terms truly outline. If it means that PEI has the same representation as the other colonies, I guess it’s a good thing, as we have such an important culture here. It’d be a shame to lose everything to the colonies.

Here we have the shore, and the natural ebb and flow of the tides that are so distinctly PEI. Accompanying this, is our fame for a delectable table, with the seafood availability. To give this up, we would be forced into trade, eliminating our resources. Also, the whole prospect of union means no more trading with the Americans essentially, as they are attempting to invade us. I suppose in this regard, union is a good idea in terms of defence, but not a great one for the economy. That’s the word father uses to describe the money we have collectively I believe.

I guess I am a rather loose fish, although I wouldn’t ever dare tell father so, after all of the work he has done to sway PEI, and myself towards his ideals. I guess that father is right though, in saying I’ll be an easy target for the men at the parties, balls, and meetings. He wants to drill his political ideals into me, to ensure this doesn’t occur, but I wouldn’t mind being persuaded by the right gentleman, especially if more conversation ensued from that particular chatter.

For now, I am forced to lie in anticipation of the upcoming meetings, and pray that loyal suitors await my presence. Oh this is all too dreadfully exciting. I shall put my writing utensils down now, and aim for a wink of sleep before father’s lectures tomorrow!


Some interesting websites to check out in your free time

My Autobiography Check In — The PEI years

For the past few weeks, I have slowly been making my way through “The Complete Journals of L.M. Montgomery The PEI years, 1889-1900” published by Mary Henley Rubio and Elizabeth Hillman Waterson. I find this autobiography surprisingly interesting, and not nearly as dry as I had initially expected. I am currently reading year 1894, and am just over halfway through the book, with a goal of 22 pages per day. Some passages specifically resonated with me as a young Canadian, which is the perspective her journals are written from, since they started when she was just 15. 

1. a) “We are in a rough country— all woods; but oh, it does my heart good to see the spruces again” (93). 

    b) “A glorious day— fresh breezes, blue skies, blue waters” (95). 

    c) The maples and birches that met overhead were pale yellow and green and the field beyond was encircled by little, fairy like yellow birches” (103).

Montgomery was an extremely sentimental person, and she spent a great deal of time contemplating the natural romance of the outdoors. During her first trip on the CPR, she wrote extremely intricate details about the scenery, and how it affected her mood. Within twenty pages, the reader is transported across the country, along with it’s beautiful landscapes. Throughout the course of just ten pages, Montgomery writes about all three scenes found above. As a young Canadian who has travelled through quite a bit of this country, it is interesting to read about how much it has changed. She never once talked about the big skyscrapers of Toronto, or mentioned the congested traffic along the number one. The change which our world has experienced in terms of technology, is truly brought into perspective through Montgomery’s writing. I have also experienced similar sensations when overwhelmed by nature. I have basked in the sunlight, and pretended that I was entirely alone in the world, and Montgomery did the same, only she needn’t pretend. 

2. “Non scholae sed vitae discimus” which is Latin for “we learn not for school, but for life” (109).

This is the Latin motto which her school’s banner proudly displays. She mentions that her friends don’t like the motto, as it implies that they enjoy learning. Montgomery however, confides that she truly believes it and it’s implications. She, as do I, enjoys learning. She also however, finds that school can sometimes make learning a task, and that one could learn the same amount by simply venturing into the world on their own. This is the most relatable piece of content that Mongomery ever uttered as far as I’m concerned. I believe that the people who are meant to do great things, could and should learn those things on their own. If one is truly destined to do something amazing, I feel that they could do that with passion and devotion. Montgomery expresses similar sentiments, that perhaps school is designed for those not destined for greatness, but so that they can catch up to those ahead. This argument has strong political ties as well. Montgomery mentioned that none of her classmates agreed with her, or if they did they simply were saying so to get out of going to classes. This is interesting, as it leads me to believe that historically, Canada has been consistently left leaning in terms of politics. Our current prime minister represents the liberals, and Montgomery’s classmates express a left leaning bias, where school is necessary so that everyone can succeed. She would be an outlying thinker, with the belief that people should suffer on their own. 

3. “Dear old world you are very lovely and I love you. I am glad to be alive in you” (125).

Montgomery only ever thanks the world so openly like this when she fears that a good thing is to soon end. She says this on the last day of a summer vacation with her friends, with the uncomfortable looming energy of home responsibilities. I always feel this slightly subdued emotion of gratitude, in similar scenarios. I tend to take my time and saviour freedom like this during the last few days of a school break for example. I find it interesting however, that she thanks the world for her existence, as she is struggling internally while writing this. The possibility of moving away for college looms above her head, and her grandfather had just passed away. This represents the resilience that Canadians tend to demonstrate in times of recovery. We bounced back from many darker parts of history, in the same way which she does from her mental states. 

4. “Whenever I watch the spruces, especially in the dim twilight, they have a strange influence over me. All the happy memories of old days come back to me, all the vague, sweet hopes and illusions of childhood seem real to me once more” (128). 

While I don’t know that I could properly identify a spruce tree at first glance, I do know that I have similar destinations which represent childhood to me. Whenever I go to the creek behind my house, I am reminded of all the time I spent there exploring, and all of the memories I subconsciously created. I am reminded of a simpler time, when my most pressing concern was deciding what colour flower to garnish my hair with. This also applies to the way we look at history. Some people have the ability to see a primary source, and immediately empathize with the people from Canada’s history. Others don’t recall the “sweet hopes and illusions of [Canada’s] childhood, because they aren’t educated enough to understand the differing perspectives. 

5. “Oh, the world is so lovely now. It is the very prime of glorious springtide. […] Oh, it’s a dear beautiful world” (159). 

Again here Montgomery expresses a very blatant sense of gratitude for the world she was given. It is important to note that nearly a year later, she still believes that her struggles are worth it. She has this revelation right in the midst of spring, or in the changing of an involuntary clock. Despite her expressed favouritism for winter, Montgomery believes that she must accept the hurdles she’s been given and move on. Canadians are encouraged to do the same when faced with racism, sexism, or any other form of discrimination, as it will make them stronger. I related to this sentence, because I read it on a Friday night, and was extremely excited for the freedom of the weekend. It was also a beautiful day. 

From what I have read of this autobiography so far, Lucy Maud Montgomery is proof that every person has the ability to do great things, but also that not everyone has to do great things in order to be great. She was an extremely successful and inspiring person, because she wanted to be such. Some of her friends, who she writes about, are irrelevant to the course of history in the scheme of things. However, had Jack Laird or Pensie never existed, I highly doubt that Montgomery could’ve obtained such a status. While they didn’t become recognized, or do any “great things” they were still amazing people and should be recognized as such.

My JAM essay “Eey-I-eey-I-ohhh!”

Mr. Morris


April. 17 2018

Old MacDonald had a Country- but then Used it Mistakenly!

Why is it widely accepted that Canada’s father murdered his children, but hasn’t faced any repercussions? As with most big decisions, Canada’s opinion on the first prime minister is fairly controversial. Many Canadians believe that John A. MacDonald’s name, and statues should be displayed to remind people of the past, and prevent the same mistakes from being made again; others find what MacDonald stands for too painful, and wish for him to be removed from the public eye. In order to support all Canadians, statues and public buildings commemorating MacDonald’s name and face should be removed or altered so that everyone can feel safe in their own country, and so that Canadians can recognize the mistakes of their ancestors, and be willing to fix them.

MacDonald should be removed from the public sphere, because of Canada’s devotion to multiculturalism and acceptance of all people, while he stood for other ideas. Canadians come from all over the world, and it is the duty of every Canadian to make these people feel comfortable and welcome in their own country. The people of Canada “have a shared history, but [they] have more importantly a shared future, so let’s build a country on truth and honesty,” so that all Canadians can be included in the future, with disregard to the history (Bellegarde). There are people who live in Canada who are forced to visit a building everyday, which is dedicated to the man behind the murder of their ancestors; people are told to call this man father of the country they know and love. Removing the statues of MacDonald would begin to soothe the emotional burden which the indigenous peoples must struggle with everyday, and it would show that this country supports any and all.

Many people believe that by removing statues of MacDonald, Canadians are judging their past based on current beliefs, which is unfair if one considers the common values of the past. While this is true and fair, many outsiders judge with the belief that Canada agrees with its past decisions. This affects how people all over the world decide to live their lives. MacDonald’s opinions and choices however, are not representative of the majority of Canadian’s individual beliefs. MacDonald favoured one race over all others in a way which would not be accepted today; “[he] initially proposed to the House of Commons that [Chinese people] should not have the right to vote on the grounds that they were ‘foreigners’ and that ‘the Chinese [had] no British instincts or British feelings or aspirations’” (Stanley). Today however, the Chinese population makes up over five percent of all Canadians. So much of Canada’s current demographic, plus many more people who wish to live in Canada, are influenced by the widely accepted amount of support which Canadians allow their founding father.

While Canadians have an obligation to remember their past, they also must prevent forgotten ideologies from resurfacing. For the sake of comfort among all Canadians, and dismissal of judgement from other countries, it is Canada’s duty to remove the ideals of MacDonald from the public, and prevent the emotional pain he continues to induce. We cannot change the future by leaving our mistakes uncorrected.

Socials Studies Post #2 Sourcing a Significant Personal Object

fullsizerender-1An object that is significant to me, is my family’s totem pole. It was created for my great grandfather, when he stepped down from the position of chief of the Tsim Tsian tribe. The carvers who created it for him, spent years perfecting each animals expression. The animals on the totem pole, highlight spiritual parts of the tribe, and his leading style. The totem pole has a small note attached to it which is from various tribe members. They wrote in order to thank my great grandfather for his service, and for the respect he treated them with. I would consider this a primary source, as the letter is written directly from the people.

My great great grandfather was a caucasian man, who worked for the government. His mission, was basically to keep the indigenous people “in line” and watch over them. He treated the people with a great amount of respect however, and was well appreciated. When his son was born, the son was ceremonially elected as the Tsim
Tsian chief. He didn’t really take on the same responsibilities that a chief would, but that was his title. When he turned nineteen, my great grandfather went to the first world war, and had to step down from his position. When he arrived back from the war, unharmed, he was gifted the totem pole and the letter. The people appreciated my great granddad so much, because it wasn’t very common to be treated respectfully, by a caucasian person back then. The racism of the time, made him look like a saint, for merely treating the people with dignity.

What’s interesting about the totem pole and letter, is that the letter describes each animal, but never clearly says exactly who carved it, or what each animal means. Historians could guess, but never know ffullsizerenderor sure. My great uncle tried to recall to me what each animal meant, but even he couldn’t clearly remember, since his father told him when he was very young. This proves how much can be lost over time, in regards to history.

The creators of the totem pole were all part of the Tsim Tsian tribe, however I don’t know who they were individually, as their names aren’t ever acknowledged in the letter. They created the totem pole out of graciousness, and utter thanks.

I don’t personally know very much about Totem poles, so it alone doesn’t truly share the story of my great grandfather with me. The letter however, clarifies the kind of person my great grandfather was, as I never met him. I wish that I knew what each individual animal means. I also wish I knew what my great granddad’s relationship with these people was. All I know really, is his technical position. Unfortunately he died when he was very young, so his kids didn’t grow up hearing his stories. They therefore, can’t really be considered even secondary sources. So unfortunately, this totem pole represents a piece of history which has been lost in the fold of time, and my family’s memory loss.

Social Studies post #1: Historical Perspectives

How can we better understand the people of the past?

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIOne of the most important aspects of understanding the actions of the past, is to try and comprehend the reasoning behind those actions. In order to properly view the choices which historical figures have made, we must put ourselves in a situation where we might be inclined to make the same choices. Miranda Flicker believed that, “The proper standards by which to judge people are the best standards that were available to them at the time” in order to remove our personal bias. It would be interesting as a class to fully delve into the idea that every person of the past, had a different thought process, and therefore made different decisions. A person’s choices, are also directly influenced from their past experiences, and the environment they grew up in. We must understand that some of our current actions, may be considered immoral in the future, while they are completely acceptable right now. People of the past didn’t have the ability to condescend their actions, so we shouldn’t blame them for it. Instead, we should pay attention to the resources, and ideas circulating through the past, and try to at least sympathize with their judgements. In order to fully discern a decision made in the past, we must take into account the people behind the choices.