News, Politics

Inspirational Canadians, Proud Deeds

Pierre Trudeau in 1968. image: Mickie Boisvert
Pierre Trudeau in 1968. image: Mickie Boisvert

There’s an old saying: careful what you ask for—you might just get it.

When the federal government asked Canadians recently who they consider to be Canada’s most inspirational heroes, the answer was probably not what Prime Minister Stephen Harper expected.

Prime Minister Harper is the leader of Canada’s Conservative party.

So who did Canadians say where their greatest heroes?

Pierre Elliott Trudeau took the number-one spot. Trudeau was Canada’s 15th Prime Minister and he was the leader of the Liberal Party. The Liberals are a key rival of the Conservatives.

Other rivals were also mentioned on the list including Jack Layton, who was the leader of the NDP party (another rival of the Conservatives). And Lester B. Pearson, the Liberal leader who was the country’s 14th prime minister.

The list was put together to help the country celebrate its 150th birthday in 2017.

Canadians were asked, “Which Canadians have inspired you the most over the last 150 years?”

The top answers, in order, were:

1) Pierre Trudeau

2) Terry Fox (Marathon of Hope runner)

3) Tommy Douglas (NDP leader)

4) Lester B. Pearson

5) Chris Hadfield (astronaut)

6) David Suzuki (environmental scientist)

7) Jack Layton

8) Sir John A. Macdonald (Canada’s first prime minister and former leader of the Conservative party)

9) Wayne Gretzky (hockey star)

10) Romeo Dallaire (soldier and Liberal senator)
The list was put together by Canada’s Heritage Department.

The information was discovered when The Canadian Press (a news agency) did a bit of digging. They found the list through Canada’s “Access to Information Act” which lets Canadians get information from the government which may not otherwise be easily accessible.

Canadians were also asked to name things that have happened in the past 150 years that “make you most proud to be a Canadian.”

The answers included:

1) Medicare (free healthcare)

2) Peacekeeping

3) The 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms

4) Deeds done during World War II

5) Canadarm

6) Multiculturalism

7) Deeds done during World War I

8) Bilingualism

9) Space exploration

10) The Constitution Act of 1982

The celebrations for the 150th haven’t been finalized, the Minister of the Canadian Heritage Department, Shelly Glover, told reporter Dean Beeby of The Canadian Press.

She said the government likely won’t publish a top-10 list but merely wanted to consult Canadians about these issues.

She also said the information is not representative of the entire population—more than 1,100 inspirational Canadians were mentioned by people who responded to the survey.

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
The Ministry of Heritage asked Canadians to name an influential Canadian and a Canadian achievement that makes you most proud. What would your answers be to these questions?

Reading Prompt: Text Features
Today’s article contains two lists. How do lists help a reader understand different types of information? When is it a good idea for a writer to include lists in their writing?

Primary & Junior
Identify a variety of text features and explain how they help readers understand texts (OME, Reading: 2.3).

Identify a variety of text features and explain how they help communicate meaning (OME, Reading: 2.3).

Language Feature: Capitalization
All proper nouns (the name of specific people, places, or things) are capitalized. For this reason, the proper nouns: Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Canada, and the Canadarm are capitalized in today’s article.

Underline all of the proper nouns in today’s story and circle its capital letter