Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Federal Officials Wanted to Highlight Aboriginals, Women as Part of Canada 150

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Federal Officials Wanted to Highlight Aboriginals, Women as Part of Canada 150

Article excerpt

Feds expand list of Canada 150 milestones

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OTTAWA - Newly disclosed documents show federal officials wanted to mark key contributions by aboriginal people and women to Canadian history as a way to expand Canada 150 celebrations that had largely focused on military events.

A list of potential milestones that could be celebrated on the road to 2017 was delivered to the top official at Canadian Heritage in mid-March and included 17 pages of lists and details for potential commemorations leading up to, and beyond, the country's 150th birthday.

The list includes the centennial of when women received the right to vote in federal elections, legislation almost 200 years old that ended slavery in Canada and the births of key aboriginal figures, including the late Tommy Prince, one of Canada's most decorated aboriginal veterans.

Combined, the extra milestones would highlight "accomplishments of minority ethnocultural groups, recognize the contributions of women and celebrate the role of Aboriginal Peoples have and continue to play in our country," reads a report accompanying the list of recommended milestones.

The Canadian Press obtained a copy of the list and accompanying report through the Access to Information Act.

Canadian Heritage declined an interview request about how the milestones were chosen.

The department says no decision was made to add these milestones to the Canada 150 plans and any anniversaries beyond 2017 "will be identified and communicated in due course."

University of Guelph history professor Matthew Hayday says the list glosses over much of Quebec's contributions to Canada and Confederation, while celebrating aboriginals who challenged government programs of assimilation. Officials suggested marking the founding of Montreal, the anniversary of a museum built for Canada's centennial and the passage of the Official Languages Act. …

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