Let us be Canadians: Sir John A. Macdonald

Sir John A. Macdonald017: Let us be Canadians: Sir John A. Macdonald
January 8, 2015

Listen Now [31.8 MB, length: 37:45]

January 11, 2015 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. And while some aspects of his life and legacy remain contentious, most agree that his role in the creation of Canada was paramount. In this episode we explore the life and career of Sir John A. Macdonald with award-winning journalist-historian Arthur Milnes as our guide. Also joining us is LAC art archivist and curator Madeleine Trudeau, who speaks to us about the incredibly diverse collection of Sir John A. Macdonald material available for consultation at Library and Archives Canada and online.

Subscribe with RSS or iTunes to automatically receive new episodes each month.

RSS Icon RSS  iTunes Icon iTunes

Related Links

ARCHIVED - Sir John A. Macdonald: Canada's Patriot Statesman
ARCHIVED - First Among Equals : The Prime Minister in Canadian Life and Politics
Sir John A. Macdonald: Canada's Patriot Statesman Flickr Album
Bellevue House

Email questions and feedback to: BAC.Balados-Podcasts.LAC@canada.ca

Podcast Transcript

Let us be Canadians: Sir John A. Macdonald

Jessica Ouvrard: Welcome to “Discover Library and Archives Canada: Your History, Your Documentary Heritage.” I’m your host, Jessica Ouvrard. Join us as we showcase treasures from our vaults; guide you through our many services; and introduce you to the people who acquire, safeguard and make known Canada’s documentary heritage.

January 11, 2015 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. And while some aspects of his life and legacy remain contentious, most agree that his role in the creation of Canada was paramount. In this episode, we explore the life and career of Sir John A. Macdonald with award-winning journalist-historian Arthur Milnes as our guide. Also joining us is LAC art archivist and curator Madeleine Trudeau, who speaks to us about the incredibly diverse collection of Sir John A. Macdonald material available for consultation at Library and Archives Canada and online.

Hi Arthur.

Arthur Milnes: Hello, welcome Library and Archives. Welcome to Kingston, welcome to Bellevue House National Historic Site. Thrilled you’re here.

JO: We are thrilled to be here, sitting in the parlour actually. It’s pretty special.

AM: Yes, just consider, the first Prime Minister would have been in this room.

JO: Yeah.

AM: So, pretty cool.

JO: Yes, it’s very, very cool. We know Sir John A. Macdonald was Canada’s first Prime Minister, but can you tell us about his background, where he was born and when did he come to Canada?

AM: Well, that’s the really interesting thing that in today’s Canada I don’t believe we have discussed enough. Your question is excellent, just like today… Macdonald came here from Glasgow, Scotland, with his family when he was about 5. So this isn’t a criticism of our American friends, but even today, if you are born in Mexico and you’re a teenager in Honolulu or Houston or Seattle, there is one office that is still closed to you, which is President of the United States. You cannot be President if you weren’t born in the United States. Well, in our country, you can be Prime Minister, and it’s quite interesting that our first Prime Minister was himself an immigrant, and that’s quite something that we haven’t thought about. Particularly when I speak to groups, particularly in major cities, that’s something that when you speak to a class of kids in Markham, Ontario, where almost 70% to 80% of the children in front of you are born outside Canada, their eyes light up. They get that.

JO: Yes.

AM: He wasn’t born in a log cabin, he was born in a stone tavern, I think, or something in Glasgow. There are debates about where exactly in Glasgow, but yeah, he came over with his family like millions do today, looking for opportunity, and [he] found it. Then he went on and left us Canada.

JO: So what was he doing before he entered politics?

AM: He was a lawyer, a very accomplished one. He did things like… in the 1830s, when he was a young lawyer, there was an invasion up the way on the St. Lawrence by an American group, the Fenians, or something like that, from across the lake. Imagine in that period how popular those invaders would have been—I use that word sarcastically—and when they captured them, no other lawyer in Kingston would represent these men. In today’s standard, it would be like… consider the worst serial killer in a small community and being his or her lawyer. That’s not a popularity contest. So Macdonald, he still represented these men. He did some criminal law work. Dealt with death penalty cases, losing some, winning some, but most of his law career was in commercial law, real estate. He never had any money, he was good at a lot of things, but making money was never one of them.

JO: A strong point.

AM: Yeah. He wasn’t that concerned about it, but don’t get me wrong, he tried. His father died young, and he was responsible for the economic well-being of both of his sisters—sorry, one of his sisters—and his mother. You will see a lot of plaques on various houses around Kingston. Government of Canada plaques … to recognize periods where Macdonald or close members of his family lived there. The reason there are so many of them is again financial. He didn’t have a tonne of money to buy houses to live in … anyway, so that’s a bit of his background.

JO: Do we know when and why he decided to get into politics?

AM: I think he was—in terms of why he got into politics, I would think it was like how they call Bill Clinton— a natural.

JO: He just sort of veered into it.

AM: Well, it was a way of advancement. If he wasn’t interested in politics as a youth, he sure made all the right moves. Particularly important to him was the Scottish immigrant community, and so he joined all the right groups. He was very active in his church, which still stands, his family church here, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian in Kingston. Interesting sidebar—another family that played a major leadership role in that church was Oliver Mowat’s family. [Mowat] then went on to become the Liberal Premier of Ontario. Probably the most significant Premier still, I think he was 26 or 27 years in office and, surprise, surprise, he became a law student of John A. Macdonald, [fueling] a lifelong hatred between the two, the Liberal and the Conservative. There is a famous story in one of the legislatures where Macdonald and Mowat got into fisticuffs.

JO: Actual fisticuffs?

AM: Actual fisticuffs, so those were the good old days, you know. There is a famous story that they were pulling Macdonald off of Mowat, dragging him away and Macdonald shouted “Come back here you damn pup, I’ll smack your chops!” So yeah, he liked the rough and tumble. There was another account I read in the files of the Whig Standard of an election debate in Kingston.

JO: So what happened?

AM: Well, he got heckled and he decided the way to handle the heckler was kind of like Mr. Chretien tried years later. He walked into the crowd and punched the guy. I think every prime minister since would kind of have a quiet sneaking admiration for his approach to protesters or to hecklers.

JO: I’m surprised that there haven’t been more prime ministers that have entered the fray.

AM: Yes, exactly, you can’t blame them sometimes. They can never do anything right by most of us.

JO: Can you tell us how [he became] Canada’s first Prime Minister?

AM: Oh boy.

JO: I know it’s a big question.

AM: Oh yeah. Do you have a week?

JO: How about the Coles Notes?

AM: Okay. I think the most important thing, like I said, you have to remember… I would argue in today’s language that pre-confederation Canada was, in fact, a failed state. It never really hit me until I was watching the CBC show they did a few years back, the movie on Macdonald. There is this great scene, I’ll share with you, where the British Governor General of the day has just been back to London and he calls in Cartier and Macdonald, pre-confederation. He basically says, and I’m paraphrasing, “Lobbying for you guys at the foreign office is pretty tough, you can’t even pick a capital.” To be honest, I’d never thought of it from a foreigner’s eyes before, and it’s right. Most countries start with the basics, like, where is our capital?

JO: Yes.

AM: And we, being Canadians, even though we weren’t Canadians yet, we came up with this great solution, which was to move it (the capital).

JO: I know.

AM: Which again I’d never thought of until I’m seeing it through the eyes of the British Governor General. That was nutty. I mention that because Macdonald had this incredible ability to… he had his own… he was an Orangeman, you know… he had his own strong religious beliefs and this is the 19th century and Kingston where Catholic-Protestant relations… you know, a mixed marriage was a Catholic and Protestant marrying in those days. He was able to overcome that and reach out to Cartier and other Francophones in Quebec. His main opponent, George Brown of the Liberals, or grits, or reform, depending on how you want to call them back then. He was a brilliant man and, thank God for him, Brown was there for Canada when it was needed most. He could never fully let go of those…

JO: Beliefs.

AM: Whereas Macdonald was able to, I think that’s why he is so key and his partnership with Cartier. They had such a relationship where when it got to a point, Cartier could draw a line in the sand, [and say] you know there are certain things I cannot cross. Macdonald would then understand that, whereas Brown’s approach, you know intellectually he was probably right … it made total sense to him to have [representation by population] intellectually. Tell that to French Canadians who were facing this future in a tiny little island of the French language, facing millions of Anglophones in Canada and the United States. So that’s where Brown was wrong, whereas Macdonald could see that.

JO: Many described Macdonald as a pragmatic statesman, but could you say he was also a visionary?

AM: Yeah. I like it when I speak about the CPR to students… I compare it to the moon shot and, before you laugh, just consider when Jack (John) Kennedy stood before his country and said they would put a man on the moon within a decade and return [him] safely to earth… they hadn’t even put someone into orbit! It was insane what Kennedy promised, it actually couldn’t be done, newer technologies had to be built, billions spent, industry martialled, you know you had to find people crazy enough to get into a box and fly to the moon, all that stuff. Well, that’s the railway. The idea in the 1870s to promise British Columbia that you would build a 3,000-mile band of steel through the Rocky Mountains, through the…

JO: Never-ending plains.

AM: … It was crazy! It couldn’t be done. My pet theory, and in fairness, I haven’t studied this a great deal, but my guess would be that British Columbia delegates said these guys are crazy, but yeah, if they want to give us this, yeah, we’ll take it. They never actually thought… anyway that would be my guess. So that’s our moon shot and he pulled it off through pure vision, skill, certain methods that wouldn’t go by today’s standards, that’s for sure. At the end of the day, our country was united coast to coast, and then later…

JO: P.E.I.

AM: Later P.E.I., but also up North, coast to coast to coast, but that was incredible. Other little things [that] I love about him … Richard Gwyn’s research has shown that little things, like Canada using British spelling for “labour” and things like that, that was a personal decision of Macdonald’s.

JO: Really?

AM: Yeah, he decided that. It would have been great to have been prime minister back then, you could just do these things right.

JO: We’re going to use the “u.”

AM: He was also an incredible politician, he actually liked people—kind of like Bill Clinton—he loved the game, he loved performing, he also was, in fairness, a great prime minister—always [benefitting] from his or her opponents. In Macdonald’s case, when he stood before the people and said “This country prefers John A. drunk to George Brown sober,” they did! Canadians did, and poor Brown could have probably used a drink. Then his next opponent was probably one of the most decent, honest men, who also lived in Kingston by the way, Alexander Mackenzie.

JO: Yes.

AM: He didn’t have a chance. Poor, dour, honest Alex Mackenzie.

JO: Hard-working.

AM: Hard-working. It was like Bob Dole being up against Bill Clinton, it’s just impossible. Then they are followed by the brilliant Edward Blake who could give a four-hour learning speech in the Commons and provide intricate detail of constitutional ideas and plans, but was so intellectual that he couldn’t remember his caucus member’s birthdays. So John A. was a class of one.

JO: What do we know about his personal life?

AM: Sad. We joke a lot about his drinking, as Canadians; I’m actually not 100% against that. I think it humanizes our founding father. Here’s a story I always tell when we do walking tours in Kingston… often in the summer, obviously, we have lots of American guests, and I always ask “Are there any Americans here?” There usually [are], and I say… well, I do this at the beginning… I say “Look, compared to your founding father, Washington, our founding father, Macdonald, would not have cut down a cherry tree. He would have cut down a dozen of them, and then he would have lied about it the rest of his life.” From that moment on, the Americans are hooked. They can’t wait to hear more about our guy. So the drinking, I think too much is made of it; but, however, it humanizes him.

JO: He also had a lot to drink about because he…

AM: That’s what I was just going to say. In this house, his first wife Isabella, she was a distant cousin of his [who] came over from Scotland, with very [little] family support, and developed a mysterious illness. Spent most of their marriage bedridden and in pain. They used opium to treat her, back then, and they lost a child at 13 months, I believe [that] was the age. John Alexander was actually the baby’s name. Even before that, I think he (Macdonald) was 7 or 8, I can’t remember the exact age, [when] he watched his brother beaten to death, in front of his eyes, on the streets of Kingston, by a drunk servant. That’s another thing people have to remember, it was a rough… the 19th century is a rough time. There is no paradise here … the diseases and the violence, this is a military town too. To watch your brother beaten to death in front of you, that’s got to have an impact. Then we go on ahead and, after his first wife died, one of his children from that marriage does survive and he, too, becomes quite successful. He becomes a federal MP for Manitoba, and one of Macdonald’s last actual acts while he was alive, obviously, is to introduce his own son to the House of Commons as a new MP. Then Hugh John Macdonald is knighted as well, and becomes Premier of Manitoba. But then the other flip side is the second marriage [to] Agnes Bernard. She actually grew up in Jamaica then met Macdonald in 1867; her brother was Macdonald’s private secretary. So they get married and they had a daughter; sadly, she was stricken with hydrocephalus. Water on the brain, I guess, and she was never supposed to live. There is one picture I’ve seen of her in the 1930s—she outlived both her parents—but it’s painful to look at. Today, that can be treated, but back then, she was in a wheelchair, hands deformed, it’s just… so anyway, yeah, he had reason to drink. The other part of his personal life that is interesting is [that] Lady Macdonald was very opposed to alcohol since she married John A. She spent years fighting that battle on his behalf and he would go into periods where he would be off the bottle, on the bottle. Basically by the end of his life he’s off of it. Again, I mentioned him earlier, but Richard Gwyn, I’ve heard him give speeches where he credits Lady Macdonald with—because of her crackdown—giving Macdonald another 10 years that he probably didn’t deserve. You know because he had a rough, rough physical life.

JO: Do you have a favourite Sir John A. Macdonald story?

AM: Ha!

JO: I know there are so many.

AM: Oh yeah! My favourite is probably where I was a journalist... when I was younger, I was always attracted … because I knew I wanted to be a reporter … to Macdonald because of a famous story. Which is [when] Macdonald travels to Montreal, I think it’s McGill he goes to, McGill University, because the Governor General is giving an address at the university. Back then, as you know, the British sent us these Oxford-educated brilliant intellectuals and, in this case, I don’t know which Governor General it was, the lecture was delivered entirely in Greek. Afterwards, the story goes that Macdonald is walking along with a colleague, and a member of the press comes up and says “Sir John, can I get a quote?” Macdonald said “Of course!” And (the reporter) says “What did you think of His Excellency’s lecture?” and Macdonald says “Well, his Greek was impeccable, it was just an incredible example of a great Greek speaker, you know,” and the reporter says “Thank you Prime Minister,” and off he goes. Then Macdonald’s colleague turns to him and says “Sir John, I didn’t know you knew Greek,” and Macdonald just says “I don’t, but I know politics.” I read that [when] I was young, probably in high school, and I said “I want to get to know this guy.” The other thing, if you love more Macdonald stories, is probably of all the following prime ministers, the Prime Minister that loved Macdonald the most was probably Mr. Diefenbaker. The great thing about “Dief,” if you’re a Macdonald buff, is [that] the old Dief, particularly in the last years of his life, never let a good fact get in the way of a good story. You can know [the] source [of] some of these Macdonald stories and you can say Prime Minister Diefenbaker said it, so it’s got to be true. I’m just fascinated by his (Macdonald’s) love of people, his people skills and humour, even great quotes he has left us “When nature empties her chamber pot on your head, smile and say you’re going to have a summer shower.” I think anybody involved in politics or government understands that [that] kind of attitude is needed on many days in the Langevin Block, probably.

JO: Madeleine Trudeau, art archivist and curator at Library and Archives Canada tells us about the type of material we find at LAC related to Sir John A. Macdonald.

Madeleine Trudeau: Library and Archives Canada has got the most comprehensive holdings linked to Sir John A. Macdonald in Canada. This means that LAC’s holdings represent the greatest variety and breadth and depth of any other collecting institution in the country. So probably you’re wondering what I mean by that… well, there is an unusual variety of different types of material. Everything from government records, original writings, letters, personal papers, published books, advertisements and pamphlets, maps, stamps, medals, art, including caricatures, photographs, and then there is this range of intriguing and unexpected oddities, such as a spare key to the former Prime Minister’s house, for example.

JO: Okay.

MT: Yes, and all of these items, such a variety of items, but they don’t all come from any one place or any one time. While the majority of the holdings do come from the Macdonald family, as you might expect, many were acquired from a strange variety of sources and over a wide variety of time periods. Many date from Macdonald’s own time, but there are also items dating from really recent times, for example, the 1970s and on. Some items were created by Macdonald himself; others, like the personal diary of Macdonald’s second wife, Lady Agnes Macdonald, tell us about Macdonald. Others illustrate Macdonald’s impact or his legacy, whether directly or indirectly. I kind of like to categorize the holdings for myself in a sort of rough division of three large categories: there is personal material, so things like the school book Macdonald used when he was a young boy at school; there is political material, so that includes items related to Macdonald’s public career and the political issues that became his own, so this would include things like a threatening letter that is sent to Macdonald after the hanging of Louis Riel.

JO: Or the last spike or all of the things related to his political career.

MT: Exactly. That’s probably the most vast amount of material we have. Then there is material that illustrates Sir John A’s status across the years, as a cultural icon, is kind of how I put it. It’s kind of like both during his lifetime and after his death, so these things would be like fan mail: even in his own day he has fan letters, there are anti-Macdonald caricatures from his own day, then there are advertisements from his own day and going on after his death that trade upon his image. Then there is one thing that I think is really important to say about the holdings we have related to Sir John A. Macdonald … that we’re the custodians of many of the rarest and most precious items related to Sir John. These would be things like… we have the first known oil portrait painting of Sir John A. Macdonald, the first known photograph… so things like that, that are just super personal items that he kept with him throughout his life. His father’s leather-bound journal where Sir John A’s birth is recorded, and that’s something that, for whatever reason, Sir John A. Macdonald kept with him … possibly through his whole lifetime, that came to us as part of his…

JO: Personal papers.

MT: That’s right.

JO: Okay. Can this material be consulted easily?

MT: Yes, it absolutely can. As I was saying, some of it is very rare and precious, but at the same time we try to make sure that, while everything is properly cared for, it’s also equally accessible. The majority of the papers could be directly ordered [at] the 395 Wellington building downtown in Ottawa as long as the researchers have a proper pass and they can receive assistance downtown to order these materials. For certain special items, these would have to be consulted at our Preservation Centre and with an appointment through a librarian and archivist.

JO: And probably accompanied by an archivist too, who supervises…

MT: Yes.

JO: Okay. So what resources are available online?

MT: Well, there are several helpful online tools in addition to LAC’s regular online catalogue database. A more general resource is the First Among Equals website, which is an online exhibition created by LAC that examines the role of the Prime Minister in Canada. There is a page that is hosted as part of that website that is on Sir John A. Macdonald. There are also more specific resources… in 2008, Library and Archives Canada created an online exhibition from this very material we’ve been discussing, and that was called [Sir John A. Macdonald:]Canada’s Patriot Statesman. Probably one of the most helpful things about that exhibition is the way it works to provide researchers with a way of sort of overseeing or overviewing a lot of the material we have been discussing.

JO: Yes, because it’s not necessarily aggregated in one little space because it comes from so many different places.

MT: Yes, exactly, very well put. This helps to sort of draw that material together. It includes galleries of digital images, which I think is exceptionally helpful in order to kind of get a sense of the material in a visual way, and these have been broken down by media. You are able to sort of see paintings and photographs and papers all organized specifically in galleries, so it’s well worth visiting the site and browsing through the galleries just to get a different sense visually of the documents. Linked to that exhibition, but also accessible through LAC’s home page, there is a database. This is the research tool that is especially helpful for somebody searching the huge, rather voluminous, correspondence. This is kind of the core of the John A. Macdonald holdings. That’s designed with separate fields that you can search by correspondence, so that’s exceptionally helpful. The other thing that is just like the exhibition, in the sense that every time you make a search, not only do you get the reference for the specific document that you were looking for, but you also get a digital image. Again, it’s another visual aid that is exceptionally helpful.

JO: Yeah, especially with archival materials, because unless you have the paper in front of you, you don’t necessarily… unless you have an image or reproduction, you don’t know what it’s about.

MT: Exactly. As part of the Canada’s Patriot Statesman exhibition, a Flickr set was created, which incorporates many of the digital images that are seen in that exhibition. So it’s also another way of visually accessing the material.

JO: Okay. Is there any piece in the John A. Macdonald collection that is a favourite of yours?

MT: It’s a really great question. Because it’s such a large and amazing collection, with so many interesting items, it’s really hard to sort of make a decision. One type of thing that I found really fascinating when I was researching the material recently was the fact that, in certain cases, we actually have the outtakes [from] a studio session that Sir John A. Macdonald arranged with Ottawa photographer Topley. We have the glass plate negatives for those sessions, which actually show five or six different poses with Sir John A. Macdonald wearing the same suit, maybe carrying his cane and wearing his top hat or maybe not, sitting or standing, but basically you can arrange them in a row and it’s extremely fun and a complete set of material that nobody else [has]. Even more fascinating is if you look into his receipts … we have wonderful folders of receipts of things that Sir John A. Macdonald bought, we actually have receipts for those sittings. So the receipt from the Topley studio saying it cost this much and it’s this exact sitting, so it’s extremely interesting and fun.

JO: And it’s nice to see the correlation between the photographs and the other part of the collection.

MT: Right.

JO: Arthur and I had a discussion about Sir John A. Macdonald’s lasting legacy and achievements.

So what do you believe was his greatest achievement as Prime Minister?

AM: Like I said, the CPR. Just uniting, well it’s all partial right, but the idea of building that thing still boggles the mind that he did that. It was crazy, we shouldn’t have done it, and B.C. and probably Alberta and Saskatchewan would probably be, in some form, part of the United States. I don’t worship John A. Macdonald; he, like all great leaders, had faults, real ones. Particularly in our standards today, his view of Aboriginal Canadians and Chinese Canadians is not something I’m very proud of; however, it was the 19th century and this is the time to… on one level… to academically examine these mistakes from the past to learn for the future, but also he was an incredible politician. Without him, I don’t actually think we would have a separate Canada today. His partnership with French Canada, in particular, he was able to put aside his own cultural religious baggage and was able to form a partnership with Cartier and others that led to this country … and all these years later, here we are a G7 country, probably the best in the world, if I could be a cheerleader a bit, … I think we have a lot to be thankful for [with] Macdonald.

JO: He also had very progressive views about women.

AM: Yes. That’s a side of him that nobody until recently, thanks to Gwyn again, has brought out. He was the first Prime Minister to advocate the vote for women; [the] House of Commons rejected it, he fought passionately for it. He also quite rightly got some hits about his treatment of Aboriginal Canadians at the time, but the flip side is that he lobbied for or advocated for and achieved the vote for Aboriginal Canadians in the 19th century, which was later stripped from them and wasn’t returned until 1960. He did things that if you look back at them from our…

JO: Modern perspective.

AM: Modern perspective… they are actually quite liberal, small “l” liberal, in a sense. He’s one of the designers of the famous political invention called the political picnic. If you remember there weren’t any TVs back then or anything, [it’s] almost like President Obama’s use of the Internet in his first campaign. … Macdonald, the party leader, would actually take the leader to the people and they would have these massive rallies, picnics.

JO: Yes.

AM: Well, guess who was invited? The non-voters—women. So very liberating, [but] at the time when they were discussing this, they didn’t see that. Macdonald preferred the company of women. I’m glad you asked me that because that’s a part of him that we don’t often think about. And then the votes to Aboriginal people that were then later taken away. I don’t know which Government did that, but I know it wasn’t until Diefenbaker, in [1960] I think, that Aboriginal Canadians were allowed … it’s hard to believe in our time.

JO: I know.

AM: It’s hard to consider. [Now for a] political picnic story, if you don’t mind … [a] famous story when he’s at one of these picnics… Thousands of people [are] there and they haul out the wagon that’s going to be the stage that Macdonald [stands] on. In the panic to get the stage ready, they brought the wrong wagon, so Macdonald jumps on the platform and it’s full of cow manure. When they realize what they’ve done to the Prime Minister, the organizers are just shattered and they apologize profusely, and he says to the crowd, “Oh no need to apologize, this will be the first time in my life I’ve ever spoken from the Liberal platform.” I’ve heard Conservatives use that, I’ve heard Liberals use it, I suspect a bit of Diefenbaker in that one, but boy, is that a great story!

JO: Is it apocryphal or is it actual?

AM: I don’t know. I’m sure if you went in… a lot of the famous Macdonald stories come from a famous book called The Anecdotal Life of John A. Macdonald, [which] came out in 1891, I believe.

JO: Oh yes.

AM: Then Mr. Diefenbaker took up the cause and so there are just great stories. He’s a tough guy not to like. Just while you’re here in Kingston, I want to thank Library and Archives Canada for all they’ve done over the decades and in recent years to help Canadians understand their history. In Macdonald’s case, there is an incredible website [Canada’s Patriot Statesman] where a lot of these documents, Macdonald-related documents, are put together so Canadians and others can access them. And, I would just recommend to everybody listening to get to Ottawa, get into that reading room, learn about your history and, if you can’t because of travel, get on the LAC website because you won’t regret it.

JO: Well, thank you so much for being with us today.

AM: Oh, thank you, and you’re welcome in Kingston anytime, as are all Canadians.

JO: To learn more about Sir John A. Macdonald resources, please visit us online at bac-lac.gc.ca.  On our home page, select Discover the Collection and then choose Politics and Government. On this page you will find links to all of our Politics and Government resources, including our websites First Among Equals and Sir John A. Macdonald: Canada’s Patriot Statesman. Also, don’t forget to check our blog, thediscoverblog.com, for more Politics and Government content. You can find the content quickly by selecting Politics and Government from the category list on the right side of the web page.

Thank you for joining us. I’m your host, Jessica Ouvrard, and you’ve been listening to Discover Library and Archives Canada—where Canadian history, literature and culture await you. A special thanks to our guests today, Arthur Milnes and Madeleine Trudeau.

For more information about our podcast, or if you have questions, comments or suggestions, please visit us at www.bac-lac.gc.ca/podcasts. From this page, you can also view the Sir John A. Macdonald Flickr album found under related links.

Date modified: