Sunday, 16 May 2010

Report on Sir John A. MacDonald event

From Graham MacDonnell of the Great Glen Genealogical Research Centre:

The event commemorating Sir John A. Macdonald's Highland roots and contribution to the development of the Dominion of Canada that held in Kincraig and Dalnavert Farm (near Feshiebridge) was well attended on Wednesday, May 12 with over 60 people.

Fergus Ewing, Minister for Community Safety attended and spoke briefly at the Kincraig Community Hall. Needless-to-say, the Scottish Government Communications Department had their machine well-oiled as the event got both pre- and post-event publicity in a wide range of newspapers and television news outlets.

While the event, conducted by the Badenoch and Strathspey Local History Group, was designed to emphasise the Scots-Canada connection, focusing on Sir John, the media picked up on his role in the creation of the "Mounties", otherwise known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which was formed in 1885 and then known as the Northwest Mounted Police, whose mandate was to put down a rebellion by the Metis people, led by Louis Riel, who only wanted rights like the white, Anglo-Saxon males that led the country. That undertaking was a very small part of Sir John's contribution to the development of Canada as we know it today. Due to media simplification, most summarised the venue as being the home of Sir John's parents, when it was the birthplace of his mother (1778)and birthplace of his first wife (1809).

Yours truly met Minister Ewing, the Deputy High Commissioner from Canada - Claude Boucher - and retired University of Edinburgh Professor Ged Martin, who is the foremost academic expert on Sir John. James Hunter from the Centre for History, UHI Millenium Institute in Dornoch, was there with some of his staff, who gave a number of presentations on lesser-known Scots who have contributed to the development of the American west as well as to the Canadian west. Insights were presented in the extent of Gaelic in Nova Scotia and the Scots culture throughout the Maritimes.

(With thanks to Graham)

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