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Northern Neighbors

Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008, at 7:34 AM

We Celebrate Our Warriors With Veterans Day, the Canadians Call It Rememberance Day.
My father died three years ago today. Mom said at the time she thought it was special that a veteran died on Veterans Day and I agree. A special thanks to those that have died and lived in service to our great country, may we never forget their sacrifices for our liberty and freedom.

It seems to me that most Americans don't think much about our world other than what our enemies may do to us, but on this Veterans Day, I want to share some information about our Canadian friends for a change. They have stood beside us through thick and thin, they have heros too, and their pain and triumph is ours as well. The following is just one of their heros stories...

If you look at the back right-hand side of a Canadian $10 bill, you will see an old veteran standing at attention near the Ottawa war memorial. His name is Robert Metcalfe and he died last month at the age of 90.

That he managed to live to that age is rather remarkable, given what happened in the Second World War. Born in England , he was one of the 400,000 members of the British Expeditionary Force sent to the mainland where they found themselves facing the new German warfare technique - the Blitzkrieg. He was treating a wounded comrade when he was hit in the legs by shrapnel. En route to hospital, his ambulance came under fire from a German tank, which then miraculously ceased fire. Evacuated from Dunkirk on HMS Grenade, two of the sister ships with them were sunk.

Recovered, he was sent to allied campaigns in North Africa and Italy . En route his ship was chased by the German battleship Bismarck . In North Africa he served under General Montgomery against the Desert Fox, Rommel. Sent into the Italian campaign, he met his future wife, a lieutenant and physiotherapist in a Canadian hospital. They were married in the morning by the mayor of the Italian town, and again in the afternoon by a British padre.

After the war they settled in Chatham where he went into politics and became the warden (chairman) of the county and on his retirement he and his wife moved to Ottawa . At the age of 80 he wrote a book about his experiences. One day out of the blue he received a call from a government official asking him to go downtown for a photo op. He wasn't told what the photo was for or why they chose him. 'He had no idea he would be on the bill,' his daughter said.

So if you happen to visit Canada and wonder about the man on the back of their $10 bill, now you know the rest of the story. Thank you northern neighbors, may we always be friends.

A final note, I miss you Dad.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Well said, Brian. I never questioned how safe I was when serving with the Canadians. They were excellent submariners, worth their fins. Arley

-- Posted by Navyblue on Tue, Nov 11, 2008, at 5:59 PM

I admit that Canada has has its moments beside the USA, but I have to burst your bubble a bit. Do you know who we import most of our foriegn oil from? Canada. They have been getting nasty rich from our energy debacle. Candians love to tell us that we should not drill, then they run out and drill about every where they can.

Canada does not have to spend untold billions on their military, because we, in effect, protect them. Who is going to attack Canada, knowing that we will defend them. So, they take the money they save at our expense, and provide free health care, and then look at us, and say, "what's wrong with the USA?"

I do not recall Canada STRONGLY coming to our defense over Iraq. If they did, and I missed it, show me where.

I was watching a 25th anniversary special of "Meatballs" with Bill Murray. Did you know that the producers of the movie, filmed in Canada, had to get special permission to use Bill Murray, an American, in that movie? Now c'mon. Do we have such restrictions on them? I think not.

We let Canadian trucks and drivers, drive all over the US, no problem. But, when we go up there, they are very hard on Americans.

Canada is our friend, it seems to me, as long as it benefits them.

Can you show me where I am wrong? What has Canada done for us lately? During the high gas prices, how come our good friends, could not help us out? Give us a break? Instead, they gouged us, and got fat in America dollars.

With friends like that, we need a enema.

-- Posted by sameldridge on Wed, Nov 12, 2008, at 1:49 AM

Zedleplin - With friends like Canada, we need a enema? Pretty strong comment about our largest trading partner. You almost make it sound like Canada should be on the same basis with the US as Washington state.

Crude oil is a commodity and we pay the going rate, no matter where we get it from. Did you see US produced crude prices fall to accommodate the US consumer? I don't think so. You mention that Canadians "love" to tell us we shouldn't drill for new oil, but the only reference I can find about that comment is that the Canadian Yukon is against exploration of ANWR for fear of harming wildlife that migrates into Canada from it (they have a common boarder). If you know of other places Canada has objected to US oil exploration I'd be happy to hear about them. Within our own country there is a lot of opposition to exploration in ANWR for the same reason, and to me that says their concerns are similar to many in the US, even though I happen to personally disagree with the environmental argument.

Did you know that the USA spends more than TWICE the amount of money on military and defense as all NATO countries COMBINED? Guess that makes us the police force for the free world... which we already know. My point here is that Canada and our other allies can't compete with our spending for good reasons beyond your assertion they use the difference for health care. Canada as a nation that can do and say pretty much what they please as long as it pleases the US is what your comment implies to me. It is well documented that Canada has issues with their socialized health care system, but it is their country to run the way they wish as far as I'm concerned. I think it is to our benefit to stay friends with Canada rather than having them cut off oil supplies to us and require a defended common border.

US/Canada relations have been somewhat rocky right from the start and you can read a pretty good summation about our political relationship with Canada at http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/canada...

Iraq has been a bone of contention between the USA and Canada. For that matter, it's been an issue for Canada with Britain as well. Both the US and Britain are considered to be Canadas best friends. I think it should be noted that even though a country doesn't agree with us shouldn't mean we're not friends. The fact that Canada was opposed to the most recent Iraq war in the first place, and followed along with the United Nations on Iraq in 2003 shouldn't be criteria for friendship. A good article though long about why Canada didn't support the most recent war can be found at http://www.allacademic.com//meta/p_mla_a...

To take this argument one more step, the US has treaties with Britain and Argentina, but when the Falkland Island war broke out, we took sides with Britain. Since we had treaties with both, Argentina could say that the USA is a friend only if it benefits the USA.

I can't comment about your trucking comment as I have no experience, but my travels in Canada have been nothing short of exceptional. Meeting people from the Washington border to Alaska via road had us contacting many locals that never once asked me "what is wrong with America".

US policy towards Canada and it's softwood industry is a pretty good example to me of how the US pushes it's weight around with our northern neighbors. The US disregarded agreements it signed because it was convenient... what a neighborly thing to do. You can read about Lumber I, II, III, and IV at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Stat... It's the job of each country to take care of it's own, and the US and Canada are attempting to do just that. However based on NAFTA agreements that the US signed but later disagreed with, the Canadians are considering trade sanctions against the US, so they have some legal issues with us as well.

My original post was really to bring up the fact that our northern neighbors have fought most of the same wars we have, and lost soldiers to the same causes we have fought for. The fact that we disagree about trade and political issues doesn't alter the fact that we are tied together on the same continent, and we have many reasons to remain friendly and not defecate our friends and neighbors.

My final reference about this comment is a speech by Roger F. Noriega, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs as it points out some those reasons... http://www.state.gov/p/wha/rls/rm/36341....

As I reread my above comment, it seems to me that I come off pretty anti American which couldn't be further from the truth, but I also think we have a rather myopic view of the world and how the US relates to it now and then.

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Wed, Nov 12, 2008, at 1:21 PM

I appreciate the points you made. I should remember the Canadian troops that died on D-Day, they were very brave. They took one of the hardest tasks that day, and so many died.

I too, have traveled through Canada, and other than French speaking Canadians, the locals were all very nice.

Perhaps my criticisms were a bit nebulous, I can see that. I do remember Brian Mulroney, coming to his friend Ronald Reagan, complaining about acid rain, and to me it seemed that all he wanted was money. Everybody wants money.

I guess I have always had a problem with Canada hiding our draft dodgers, pretending that they were some paragons of virtue, while the nasty USA conducts it evil wars.

I object to a state run broadcasting system, with political censors hacking away at conservative points of view, HOWEVER, after this latest US election, I suppose we better get use to it.

Other than that, I admit my comments, and even my attitude, towards Canada have been harsh, even unfounded.

And...you are right. The USA does throw its weight around, usually at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons.

I must confess to being, for lack of a better word, pissed, after our own beloved country has turned so hard to the left, when Canada seems to have gotten the message that Socialism doesn't work.

I will study the links you provided, and thanks.

Best Regards - Sam Eldridge, Oberlin, KS better known as Zedleplin.

-- Posted by sameldridge on Wed, Nov 12, 2008, at 2:02 PM

Seems to me that someone is still cranky because we kicked US butt twice..once in 1775 and again in 1812. Oh wellllll

I'm sorry...I just couldn't help that. Not a mature response, but how do I even come close to properly addressing your comments? Finger pointing and my dad can lick your dad stuff is what has brought our world to the brink of collapse if not destruction. The world no longer moves at the whim of any one government. If you have personally suffered at the hands of a foreign national, give me the details. I'll see if I can find the SOB and pound him for you. On the other hand, if your comments are simply rhetoric based on what you might have read/heard/seen from US based news sources, chances are, you're just going to be cranky. Again.

Gary Haupt...with a maple leaf on the good parts.

-- Posted by garyhaupt on Wed, Nov 12, 2008, at 2:34 PM

What? Step away from the bottle of Jack, and try it again!

-- Posted by sameldridge on Wed, Nov 12, 2008, at 4:16 PM

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