Wednesday, 4 July 2007

The Forgotten Vision of the Red Coat Trail

As I sat in the chapel at the Fort Museum in Fort Macleod on Canada Day, I felt like I was capturing a little of the vision that inspired our ancestors to create a nation out of wilderness. I realized that vision wasn't about furs, or imperialism, or even about making money.

The British subjects who created Canada were immersed in a culture that valued justice, compassion and grace more than making money. They viewed prosperity as the result of moral uprightness and a disiplined life. Staying true to their values mattered. The good fortune that might flow from adhering to these values was of secondary importance.

Many settlers, policeman, teachers, and doctors, who came to the plains to alleviate suffering and injustice, died with only a few dollars to their names. Even Justice James Macleod, the hero of the NWMP, died with only $8.00 to his name. It's popular to denounce the coming of the whites to the Canadian prairie and to point out evidence of greed, injustices and the inequality that still exists today.

But those injustices exist because we allow them to exist. And we forget the promises previous generations made to live in harmony and and justice.

The North West Mounted Police were not perfect. Nor was the man who named this province, Governor General Marquis of Lorne. Or John A. Macdonald. Or George Etienne Cartier. Or Louis Riel for that matter. They did the best with what they had. It is our turn to rediscover those ideals and make their vision a reality.

We are bound by honour to pick up their torch and finish their work.

No comments: