[an error occurred while processing this directive] FactsCanada.ca — Sunday Newsletter 2001-37Su
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Sunday Newsletter 2001-37Su.

September 16, 2001.

[John] It has now been five days since the act of treacherous and cowardly behaviour that was perpetrated on our neighbours to the south. In my mind I can only compare what happened in New York City, Washington DC, and a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, to the death camps set up during World War Two. Although the portal into which the human race was forced to cross during that time was the most evil, baneful, depraved, grievous and unforgivable event in my experience as a living being on this planet, those events do not, in my evaluation of the time period, include a word from my opening sentence; cowardice.

If I may borrow some of the words spoken by US President George W. Bush: "Today, we feel what Franklin Roosevelt called, 'the warm courage of national unity'. This is a unity of every faith and every background. This has joined together political parties and both houses of Congress. It is evident in services of prayer and candlelight vigils and American flags, which are displayed in pride and waved in defiance. Our unity is a kinship of grief and a steadfast resolve to prevail against our enemies. And this unity against terror is now extending across the world."

I particularly want to address his last sentence. The unity Mr. Bush spoke of is happening. People from all denominations and walks of life, from all countries, religions and beliefs, are going to begin to close the fist, fused together by these events. They are going to weave together a blanket used to both comfort our mourning masses and slowly suffocate those responsible for so much grief. The blanket will be so ethereal in its nature that it will asphyxiate any other individuals in the coming years who are caitiff enough to feel they can even consider similar actions. This will be the result of the unified actions, whatever they will be, of an overwhelming worldwide strength of resolve to which our race has never been witness.

Although I write these opening remarks to our newsletter only five days after these barbaric incidents, I truly hope my wishes become a reality, and that our complex existence allows it to happen. I believe that my feelings are similar to those felt by all of the individuals in power around the world. Patience, fortitude, planning and unity can eradicate this hidden opponent, and open the door for true world peace. A United Nations can truly become a "United Earth", but we must harbour our deepest primordial feelings and let our intelligence dictate the direction of the future of civilization.



\ Biography — John George "The Chief" Diefenbaker
\ Operation Morning Light
\ Place names — Kaslo, British Columbia
\ Quotes of the week
\ Also born this week
\ Words of the week
\ It happened this week in history
\ Preview
\ Links and resources
\ Legal and subscription information



John George "The Chief" Diefenbaker

The 13th person to become prime minister of Canada started his life in Neustadt, Ontario, on September 18, 1895, born to William and Mary (ne Bannerman) who were of German and Scottish descent. In 1903 he and his family moved to the Northwest Territories, and in 1910 they moved to Saskatoon. Diefenbaker attended the University of Saskatchewan, studying political science, economics and law and, in 1919, was called to the Saskatchewan Bar. (In 1916, in between a couple of his degrees, he also enlisted in the army and served as a lieutenant with the 105th Saskatoon Fusiliers in the United Kingdom for a year.) Initially Diefenbaker practised law in Wakaw (northeast of Saskatoon, about half-way to Prince Albert) but he moved to Prince Albert in 1924. During his law career he successfully defended 18 people against the death penalty (which he opposed).

In 1929 Diefenbaker married Edna Mae Brower. However, she died in 1951, six years before he was to become prime minister. They had no children. In 1953 he remarried, this time to Olive Freeman Palmer, an employee of the Ontario Department of Education. They remained together until her death in 1976. They too had no children, although Olive did have a daughter from a previous marriage.

Diefenbaker's ascent to Canada's top political office is a model of Sir Winston Churchill's famous admonition, "Never give up!" He first ran for public office in 1920 and was elected an alderman in Wakaw. However, that was to be his only success in 20 years as he ran federally, then provincially, then again in municipal elections, and then once again provincially, but was defeated every time. In fact, in 1938 he presided over the complete defeat of the Saskatchewan Conservative Party of which he had become leader in 1936. Finally, in 1940, he was elected the member of Parliament for Lake Centre, and served as a back-bencher for the official opposition. During this time he criticised the Liberal government for their treatment of Japanese-Canadians in World War Two. He was re-elected in 1945 and 1949, but seriously considered quitting politics when redistribution substantially altered his constituency. In 1953, however, he did run again and was elected to represent Prince Albert.

In 1956 Diefenbaker succeeded George Drew as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, and became prime minister in 1957 when the party swept into power. There he remained for the next six years, but not before leading the Party to the biggest majority in Canadian history in 1958.

During his term as the prime minister, Diefenbaker's government brought into law the Canadian Bill of Rights (a landmark bill guaranteeing numerous rights which we now take for granted), reformed and revitalized agricultural Canada, and enfranchised aboriginal people. Diefenbaker also appointed the first female cabinet minister (Ellen Fairclough) and the first aboriginal senator (James Gladstone). His government also annoyed the Americans by refusing to allow them to base nuclear missiles on Canadian soil, and to support actions against Cuba. Their record is not without spots, however, as their term also saw the Canadian dollar become worth less than the American dollar, and the highly-controversial and short-sighted cancellation of the Avro Arrow project (the most advanced fighter aircraft of its time).

"The Chief", as he was known, was defeated at a Party leadership convention in 1967 by Robert Stanfield, but he remained in politics (never losing his seat) until the day he died. In fact, he died of natural causes on August 16, 1979, in Ottawa, less than three months after being elected to Parliament for the 13th time. His state funeral, train trip back to Saskatoon, and burial beside Olive on the grounds of the University of Saskatchewan by the John G. Diefenbaker Centre were all apparently carried out according to his own plans.

Lake Diefenbaker (actually a reservoir) in southern Saskatchewan was named after John George Diefenbaker.

Picture of John Diefenbaker
National Library of Canada on John Diefenbaker
Parks Canada on John Diefenbaker's grave site
CanadaInfo on John Diefenbaker
Diefenbaker Canada Centre
Arts, Culture and Heritage Network on John Diefenbaker
Diefenbaker Web
National Film Board's film "Dief" on his funeral



On September 18, 1977, a nuclear-powered Soviet satellite named "Cosmos 954" was launched. However, things didn't go so well right from the start and, on January 24, 1978, the satellite re-entered the Earth's atmosphere over the Queen Charlotte Islands off the coast of British Columbia. It did not completely burn up in the atmosphere, and radioactive debris was spread over a wide area of the Northwest Territories. Before it crashed, residents of Yellowknife saw a bright, white object streaking across the sky from the southwest to the northeast.

Immediately an Air Command (as Canada's air force was known back then) squadron of Argus aircraft from Summerside, Prince Edward Island, usually used for anti-submarine warfare, was pressed into service to map the area where the debris was thought to be located. This turned into a joint operation between Canada and the United States, and was named "Operation Morning Light". Canadian Forces Base Namao, just outside Edmonton, Alberta, was the base for this operation not only to locate the debris, but recover it and clean up the contaminated areas in the dead of an arctic winter. The area covered in the search stretched from Yellowknife to Hudson Bay.

Once Air Command Hercules aircraft, which were equipped with cameras and special equipment, had located the radioactive debris, helicopters were dispatched with crews to recover the debris and clean up the area. As one participant noted, the military solved the problem of marking contaminated sites in a rather unique way; "An order was placed for several thousand condoms and a production line was set up with people filling them with coloured dye. When these were dropped from the helicopters over the site, they burst open on contact with the frozen snow making a highly visible splash of colour which could be seen by the recovery teams."

Material recovered was sent to laboratories for analysis and storage, and Operation Morning Light came to an end on April 20, 1978, as spring break-up had started. By that time more than 124 000 square kilometres had been searched and over 4500 hours of flying time had been logged. It was determined that the core of the nuclear reactor which powered the space craft had burned up in the atmosphere, and the worst fears of radioactive contamination were not, thankfully, realised. Between July and October of 1978, further searches were conducted, some more material was recovered, and contamination was cleaned up.

The total cost incurred by Canada during the first phase (Operation Morning Light) was $12 048 239, of which $4 414 348 was included in Canada's claim to the USSR under the 1972 Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects. The total cost incurred during the second phase totalled $1 921 904, of which $1 626 825 was included in Canada's claim. The USSR made payments of approximately $3 000 000.

For a lengthy, but excellent, first-person account of Operation Morning Light, I suggest you read "Operation Morning Light: A Personal Account", linked to below.

Operation Morning Light: A Personal Account
Canadian Air Force on the Argus
Canadian Air Force on the Hercules



Kaslo, British Columbia

The Village of Kaslo is located in the Kootenay area of southeastern British Columbia, on the western shore of Kootenay Lake. Its population in 1996 was 1063. The word "kaslo" is the Anglicized version of a Kootenai expression for "place where the blackberries grow".

The original settlers of Kaslo were G.O. Buchanan and brothers George and David Kane. They were there to exploit a timber licence, but soon found themselves building a town to serve the needs of silver miners. The population reached its zenith of about 3000 in 1893, which was also the year that Kaslo incorporated. The very next year was a bad one, as fire, floods and high winds destroyed most of the town. However, it was quickly rebuilt, and services such as electricity, running water and telephones were also introduced. As mining in the region declined (due to falling silver prices and rising mining costs), fruit growing became more prominent. Today the region's most lucrative industries are forestry and tourism.

FactsCanada.ca map of Kaslo, British Columbia



I had about 17 quotes from John Diefenbaker picked out, some funny and many revealing how some issues that were hot in his time are still hot today. However, I have pared the good ones down to just ten. (I was aiming for three, honest.) There are plenty more on the Diefenbaker Web site linked to below.

"For an average Canadian, being chosen as leader of a nation gives one a feeling impossible to describe. You feel a sense of loneliness." —1958.

"The acquisition of Newfoundland will take its place, in strategic importance, with the acquisition by the United States of Alaska and Louisiana." —February 8, 1949.

"We shall never build the nation which our potential resources make possible by dividing ourselves into Anglophones, Francophones, multiculturalphones, or whatever kind of phoneys you choose. I say: Canadians, first, last, and always!" —June 4, 1973.

"There cannot be friendship and understanding between the continents if the Western world arrogantly assumes a monopoly of skill and wisdom or that we must try to make all other peoples conform to our way of thinking." —June, 1958.

"Some say to me: 'History? What does it mean? What are you concerned about the past for?' And my answer to that is a simple one — he who does not know the past can never understand the present, and he certainly can do nothing for the future." —November 1, 1971.

"I cannot visualize Canada without French Canada. I cannot visualize French Canada without Canada. National unity based on equality must be the goal." —1965.

"Apparently I just can't pronounce French well while talking. An English-speaking friend joked to me, 'I love to hear you talk French on television. When you do, every English-speaking person in the audience, who doesn't know a word of French, can understand every word you say.'" —April 1960.

"Satan saw my picture in 'Newsweek', and said he never knew he had such opposition in Canada." —March 22, 1963.

"I was even reviled for having had the completed Arrow prototypes reduced to scrap when I had no knowledge whatsoever of this action." —From "One Canada: Memoirs of the Right Honourable John G. Diefenbaker".

"I love to make Paul [Martin, Sr.] mad. You can do it by saying, innocently, that no other member has the ability to compress such small thoughts into so many words." —September 2, 1967.

Diefenbaker Web



Charles Fisher, lawyer, judge and premier of New Brunswick (1854-1861) prior to the formation of the Dominion of Canada, born on September 16, 1808. There is some confusion about his date of birth, as some sources suggest he was born on August 15, 1808.

Andrew Bonar Law, statesman, and the first and only Canadian-born citizen to become prime minister of Great Britain (1922-1923), born in Kingston, New Brunswick, September 16, 1858.

William "Scotty" Bowman, hockey coach and executive, born in Montreal, Quebec, September 18, 1933.

Sir George William Ross, premier of Ontario (1899-1905), born near Nairn, Ontario, September 18, 1841.

Bertha Wilson (ne Wernham), lawyer, judge and the first woman elected to the Supreme Court of Canada (1982-1991), appointed a Companion to the Order of Canada (1992), born in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, September 18, 1923.

Sylvia Tyson (ne Fricker), part of the Canadian folk-music duo of Ian and Sylvia, born in Chatham, Ontario, September 19, 1940.

George Coles, businessman, politician and first premier of Prince Edward Island prior to it joining the Dominion of Canada, born in Prince Edward Island (no place listed) on September 20, 1810. He served as premier three time between 1851 and 1868.

Leslie Miscampbell Frost, lawyer, war veteran and premier of Ontario (1949-1961), born in Orillia, Ontario, September 20, 1895.

Guy Damien "The Flower" Lafleur, hockey legend and Hall of Fame member (1988), born in Thurso, Quebec, September 20, 1951.

Ernest Charles Manning, premier of Alberta for 25 years (1943-1968), Companion of the Order of Canada, first recipient of the Alberta Order of Excellence, father of Ernest Preston Manning, born in Carnduff, Saskatchewan, September 20, 1908.

Leonard Cohen, poet, novelist, songwriter and singer, born in Montreal, Quebec, September 21, 1934.

Howarth "Howie" William Morenz (aka "The Stratford Streak"), hockey pioneer and Hall of Fame member, born in Mitchell, Ontario, September, 21, 1902. He injured himself in a game on January 28, 1937, and died of complications at the age of 34 on March 8, 1937.

Gail Bowen, novelist, born in Toronto, Ontario, September 22, 1942.



By Craig

It has been a while since I included this feature, so I'll do so this week since I am the one working on this week's newsletter. I haven't picked a word from this week's newsletter, but one that I found somewhere on the Web and kept aside for a friend who is also a subscriber. I don't remember exactly where I found it, but a search using the handy FactsCanada.ca Web search page will turn up some "interesting" sites. I need not say any more — you have been warned. By the way, it's not in the Gage.

oculolinctus — (noun) a fetish whereby people are sexually aroused by licking a partner's eyeball. (A word of caution if you want to try this: Oral herpes can be transferred to the eye.)



September 16, 1868 — The British Columbia gold-rush town know as Barkerville (named after William "Billy" Barker, a Cornish sailor who made a huge strike there) burned to the ground. What tourists see there today is a recreation of the original site.

September 16, 1948 — Ryerson Polytechnic University in Toronto, Ontario, was founded as the Ryerson Institute of Technology.

September 16, 1973 — Although it was November 1, 1971, that the first issue of the "Toronto Sun" newspaper was released, it was on this date that its Sunday edition was introduced.

September 17, 1949 — The cruise ship "Noronic" caught fire and burned in Toronto harbour, claiming 118 lives.

September 17, 1970 — Conceived by Walter Gordon, Peter Newman and Abraham Rotstein, The Committee for an Independent Canada (CIC) was launched as a citizens' committee to promote Canadian economic and cultural independence.

September 17, 1984 — Prime Minister John Turner's tenure ended and Brian Mulroney's began.

September 18, 1759 — A few days after the crucial battle of the Plains of Abraham during the Seven Years War, Quebec City surrendered to British forces. "The Conquest" (La Conquete) was the term used to describe the acquisition of Canada by Great Britain and, by extension, the resulting changes in the lives of Canada's 60 000 to 70 000 French-speaking inhabitants and numerous native groups. (You can read about the Seven Years War in FactsCanada.ca issue 2000-19Fr.)

September 19, 1839 — Four kilometres of track were opened by the Albion Mines Railway of Pictou County in Nova Scotia. It was the second steam railway in Canada and the first to use standard gauge and split-switch movable rail.

September 19, 1889 — A massive rock slide struck the Lower Town in Quebec City, claiming 45 lives and damaging much of Champlain Street.

September 20, 1987 — Pope John Paul II visited the village of Fort Simpson (population 1300) in the Northwest Territories.

September 22, 1818 — Believed to be the oldest continuing sporting event in North America, the St. John's Regatta had its first formal race on this date on Quidi Vidi Lake, which lies just north of St. John's harbour and Signal Hill.

Toronto Sun
FactsCanada.ca map of Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories



On Sunday John plans to profile Glenn Gould and the Belcher Islands, and introduce a new feature entitled "Facts of the Week".


[Craig] Well, we've certainly set a new record for tardiness. We are not a day late with this newsletter — we are a week and a day late. I told John I would write this newsletter to allow him to catch up but, the truth be known, the timing could not have been worse for me. I apologise to you, our subscribers, but John and I do our best. Around the middle of this week I will send issue 2001-38Su (this is 2001-37Su) and, hopefully, we'll get back on track yet again next week.



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