Bank of Canada ends calls for new $5 note subjects
- Published: Jul 4, 2020, 8 AM
The Bank of Canada’s call for nominations for the subject of its next $5 note has ended, and an independent advisory council will soon develop a short list of candidates for the bank and the minister of finance. The bank received more than 600 eligible nominations, from close to 45,000 people.
One of the proposed candidates, Sgt. Tommy Prince, is being lauded in a petition by a group of Conservative members of Parliament as the most worthy among many deserving subjects. The 11 medals awarded Sgt. Prince for his actions in World War II make him the most decorated Indigenous war veteran in Canada.
He joined the military at the age of 24 in 1940 after being rejected several times. He was a founding member of the Elite First Canadian Parachute Battalion and the Devil’s Brigade. He was one of only three Canadians to receive both the Silver Star and Military Medal.
Despite Prince’s heroic service, MP Gary Vidal told the Saskatchewan journal Battlefords, “After his service, he received an honorable discharge, but not the benefits given to other veterans, because he was Indigenous. Military service took a heavy toll on his health and, following his honorable discharge from the army, he faced a difficult return to a civilian life in Manitoba where he lived in poverty and poor health.”
The petition states that over 15,000 Indigenous Canadians fought in World War II and Korea for a country where they couldn’t even vote because of systemic racism.
The only things known for sure now are that the new $5 bank note will be a polymer issue with a vertical design, and it will begin circulating in a few years.
The Devils’s Brigade, officially the 1st Special Service Force, was a joint American-Canadian commando unit. A History Channel commentary describes it as the model for subsequent special forces units. The nickname can be traced to Anzio in 1944 where the Germans called them the “Black Devils” in reference to the shoe polish they used on their faces for camouflage.
For every one of its soldiers lost in battle, the Devil’s Brigade killed 25. For every one taken prisoner, they took 235. In 2015 the unit’s members was awarded the U.S. congressional gold medal.
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