Canada and Mandela; Strong and Free

Strong Canadians supported Mandela’s movement for Freedom; Mandela remembered Canada and Canadians remember him today
Rahman Mohamed

On December 5, media around the world, including the BBC broadcast the death of Nelson Mandela.  His death was announced at 9:00pm local time by President Jacob Zuma.  Since then the world has been remembering Mandela, including the Great White North.

In Canada flags have been flying at half mast.

Today the Canadian delegation for Mandela’s state funeral set for December 15 landed in Johannesburg. Travelling together to Johannesburg were not only Prime Minster Stephen Harper and Governor General Michaëlle Jean, but former Prime Ministers Jean Chretien, Brian Mulroney, and Kim Campbell; Joe Clark (youngest Prime Minister in Canadian history).  Leader of the federal NDP and Official Opposition, Thomas Mulcair, Assembly of First Nations national Chief Shawn Atleo, and Gaston Barbon, High Commissioner of Canada, and premiers Darrell Pasloski (Yukon), Stephen McNeil (Nova Scotia), and Alison Redford (Alberta) are also part of the Canadian delegation in Johannesburg.  Federal Liberal Justin Trudeau tweeted

Yesterday, Kathleen Wynne, was attending the police funeral for fallen office Constable John Zvcic, an officer who died from a car accident while on duty on November 30.  That still didn’t stop her from sharing Mandela’s quotes

Why does Canada share such close ties with this great South African leader?

When Mandela took up his non-violent struggle against apartheid, he landed in prison.  In 1985, while he was in Pollsmoor Prison, then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney spearheaded economic sanctions by Canada and other Commonwealth nations against South Africa; prior to this Canada was speaking out against Apartheid but not taking active action.

127 days after his release from prison, on June 18, 1990, the Mandela visited was Canada.

When he came to Canada, the first country he visited after his release, he asked the Canadian government for help; after visiting the House of Commons, and the Senate, asking Canada to uphold sanctions, Mandela visited the Ontario Legislature, and spoke to crowds in Toronto and Montreal, telling Montreal citizens “the catalogue of crimes committed by the apartheid system continues to grow.

In 1994 apartheid fell in South and not only was he able to vote, but now he was President Nelson Mandela.

4 years later (and 2 months after his 80th birthday) now President Mandela came for an official state visit at the invitation then Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.  Not only did he become the first non-Canadian to receive the Order of Canada, but visited the Skydome, filled with 46,000 students and 5,000 adults.  He described it as “greatest moment ever outside South Africa,”, telling the students “You have made me feel like a young man again.”

His visits didn’t end there.  He flew back North in 2001 after stepping down from presidency in 1999.  He became the first living person to be made an honourable Canadian citizen.

Nelson Mandela and Canada, they’ve walked hand-in-hand.


Share your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s