Canada's Defining Moments

By: Sahil Gandham

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From war victories to retirement plans, Canada has done many things to improve our legacy and help our population. As a country, we have dealt with many situations and have fought to get through these tough times. These times have helped Canada develop to be the wonderful country it is today.

The Battle Of Vimy Ridge- April 9-12, 1917

Canada's Most Celebrated Victory!

The Battle of Vimy RIdge took place during 9-12 of April, 1917. Vimy Ridge is a hill located in Nord, Pas-de-Calais, France. This is a northern region of France. The ridge was taken by Germans in October 1914. French armies tried to re-capture Vimy Ridge many times but were unable to obtain the whole area again. During this battle, four divisions of the Canadian Corps were seen working together to defeat the Germans and to take back Vimy RIdge. The battle first began at 5:30 on April 9, 1917 (which was Easter Monday) till April 12, 1917. The day the battle started was and still is called Bloody Easter.

The Plan!

The plan for Vimy Ridge was called "The Creeping Barrage". The plans were to fire shells ahead of the advancing Canadian soldiers to force Germans to back up and let the Canadians get closer to the ridge. During all this, underground tunnels that were made earlier were set with bombs ready to attack. These tunnels made by Canadians had many benefits such as running water, train tracks and even lights! Through orders by General Arthur Currie, shells had begun firing a week before the attack to make Germans confused and stressed before the attack. Finally, on April 9, 1917, 40,000 Canadian Soldiers left the trenches and they rushed but timed it perfectly. They fired shells before the soldiers and after two days of bombs and shells firing, Germans retreated giving Canadians a huge victory that went down in books as a amazing military achievement.
Vimy Ridge 100th Anniversary Tour 2017 | EF Educational Tours Canada

The Winnipeg General Strike - 1919

What was the Winnipeg General Strike?

The Winnipeg General Strike in 1919, was one of the most famous and influential strikes in Canada even though it failed. After Winnipeg companies gained huge profits with WW1 contracts, workers complained that the wages weren't high and working conditions were horrible so the workers had no place to voice their opinions.

The Strike!!!

In March 1919, Labor leaders met in Calgary to make One Big Union. The negotiations didn't go through so the WTLC called for a general strike. 30,000 workers left their jobs within hours of the announcement. All of the closed factories affected the retail trade and even stopped trains! Workers like policemen, firemen, utility workers, and even postal workers left their jobs to support the strike. After long days and more organizations joining in, the government finally tried to intervene but the committee refused all requests. Shortly after, the government took action by arresting the leaders of the Central Strike Committee and two of the propagandists from the newly formed One Big Union. A few days later, the Royal North-West Mounted Police charged a crowd of people, this attack resulted in 30 casualties and 1 death. After some of the leaders were released, the strikers returned to work on June 25. This strike was unique because for a long time, no matter what would happen, the strikers didn't give up to get what they wanted and it took a lot to finally end their strikes. This strike was significant because it truly shows the power of strikers on trying to prove their point and get a difference.
Bloody Saturday : The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919

Nunavut Becomes A Official Territory - April 1, 1999.

How did it become a territory?

In the 1976, the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (organization that represents 50,000 Inuits) and the Government of Canada started negotiations about creating a separate division of the Northwest Territories just for Inuit people. There was a plebiscite on division in 1982 and majority voted in favor but the creation of Nunavut wasn't done until almost 17 years later on April 1, 1999. Land claims agreements were set in 1992 and voters still voted in favor so the Acts were passed the year later on July 9. The creation was finally completed in 1999.

How did it affect the Inuit people?

This was a huge difference in the lives of the Inuit people. After many votes and negotiations, Inuit people finally got the change they wanted - a new territory for them-. Today, Inuit people take up approx. 83% while the rest are mostly aboriginal. This new territory helped the Inuit get their own land and own place for their own.

Canada Pension Plan - 1965

What is the CPP?

The Canadian Pension is a earnings related insurance program. This makes it mandatory that all workers over 18 to put a portion of their income aside to this program. This income goes towards a retirement plan.

When was it introduced?

CPP was introduced in 1965, by the Prime Minister at that time, Lester B. Pearson. The CPP helps retirees have enough support to live without working a job. Pension plans really helps make up for loss in income. It was really significant to Canada and its population because it helps seniors have a source of income after they cannot work anymore.

Why was is significant?

Unlike a RRSP, this plan makes it mandatory for workers to pay into it. This can be bad, but it helps retirees have enough income to help him financially when they don't and can't work anymore. Without the CPP, people who don't use a savings plan would've had a harder time living after retirement because of their lack of money. Retirees would have to depend on someone else, that could even be the government (taking loans).
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In conclusion, Canada has done and achieved many things that have put us on the map. After WW1, we were known as a secret weapon, we defeated the enemies even when others didn't think we could. Canada will forever go down as one of the most successful countries of all time.