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The original Fathers of Confederation painting by Robert Harris was commissioned in 1883. It illustrated two meetings held in 1864 (the Charlottetown Conference and the Quebec Conference) which formed the basis for Confederation in 1867. This painting featured 33 “Fathers” and the secretary, Hewitt Bernard. It was destroyed by fire in 1916 when the Parliament Buildings burned (only a black and white photographic copy now exists). In 1964, the Confederation Life Assurance Co. hired Canadian artist Rex Woods to reproduce the painting as a gift to the nation to mark the Centenary of Confederation which was in 1967. The new painting was not an exact replica of Harris’s original. Three additional figures were added to the painting, along with a portrait of Robert Harris as a tribute to the earlier work. (Dave Chan For The Globe and Mail)
The original Fathers of Confederation painting by Robert Harris was commissioned in 1883. It illustrated two meetings held in 1864 (the Charlottetown Conference and the Quebec Conference) which formed the basis for Confederation in 1867. This painting featured 33 “Fathers” and the secretary, Hewitt Bernard. It was destroyed by fire in 1916 when the Parliament Buildings burned (only a black and white photographic copy now exists). In 1964, the Confederation Life Assurance Co. hired Canadian artist Rex Woods to reproduce the painting as a gift to the nation to mark the Centenary of Confederation which was in 1967. The new painting was not an exact replica of Harris’s original. Three additional figures were added to the painting, along with a portrait of Robert Harris as a tribute to the earlier work. (Dave Chan For The Globe and Mail)

WHAT READERS THINK

Jan. 6: The miracle that is Canada – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Confederation: the Canadian miracle

Re Who Was The True Father Of Confederation? (Jan. 3): Your duelling historians lionize their respective heroes, John A. Macdonald and Sir George-Étienne Cartier, for the title of Father of Confederation. In fact, the Canadian miracle was the result of the happy collaboration of many great men who came together at just the right time in history and with just the right combination of talent, vision and commitment.

One Father of Confederation literally gave his life for it. D’Arcy McGee, the unsung hero of the Canadian dream, at great personal risk fought for a nation built on tolerance, compromise and the protection of minority rights. He was murdered by fanatics of division, hatred and intolerance. We are in large measure who we are because of his vision and sacrifice.

Dermot P. Nolan, Hamilton

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Why either Macdonald or Cartier? Why not both? That would truly unite the so-called two solitudes of our nation.

Faz Rahman, Toronto

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“In the years before his death, Cartier handled the purchase of the North-Western Territory and Rupert’s Land from the Hudson’s Bay Co. and, as acting prime minister, negotiated Manitoba’s entry as a province.”

Now, if he’d done all that in the years after his death, this debate would be a non-starter.

Patrick Nicholas, Toronto

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Rob Ford in six words

Re Rob Ford Is First To File Nomination Papers, Kicking Off The 2014 Mayoral Race (Jan. 3): “My track record speaks for itself” represents what is likely the most accurate six-word summation of Rob Ford’s tenure as mayor of the City of Toronto.

Lies, bombast, misrepresentation, intimidation and incoherence have been the hallmarks of the Ford regime and are embedded in a track record of incompetence that has no equal in Toronto’s history. That Mr. Ford continues to think he represents a reasonable candidate for high office reflects a degree of hubris that is breathtaking. One can only imagine what new skeletons will come storming out of his closet as the mayoralty campaign unfolds.

Frank Malone, Aurora, Ont.

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Whenever I hear apologists for Rob Ford say “what he does in his personal life is personal,” I’m reminded of the song by Jonathan Edwards, Sunshine, which includes the lyric: “He can’t even run his own life, I’ll be damned if he’ll run mine.”

Mike Clair, St. John’s

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Rob Ford promised he’d make sure my tax dollars aren’t wasted. He’s doing that. As long as he keeps doing it, he’s got my vote.

Helen Cameron, Toronto

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While one may argue about Mayor Rob Ford’s claim that he is the best first magistrate Toronto has ever had, there is no question that he has reached heights no previous mayor has attained.

James Rusk, Pembroke Pines, Fla.

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Warnings: little, late

Re U.S. Warns of Bakken Crude Dangers After Derailments (Jan. 3): A warning issued three days after an explosion in North Dakota and six months after Lac-Mégantic: A case of “that horse has left the barn”? Or is it, “That train has left the station?”

Trev Jones, Stoney Creek, Ont.

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It is incomprehensible that the volatility of Bakken crude and the increased dangers posed by its shipment were not acknowledged or acted upon. This level of negligence by all levels of government, railroads and oil producers is criminal. It is to be hoped that someone, somewhere will be held to account.

William R. Maes, Bedford, N.S.

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Inside hydro’s efforts

I am an apprentice Power Line Maintainer at Hydro Ottawa, and I have just returned from Toronto, where our crews helped restore power after the ice storm.

In my two years as an apprentice, I’ve learned that when someone needs our help, we answer the call. So when Hydro One and Toronto Hydro asked for help, I knew I wanted to go. Waking up Christmas morning without my family was hard, but I knew people were counting on us. And that was our motivation. Seeing the direct impact our work was having on people’s lives is definitely the most rewarding experience I’ve had as an apprentice.

I was amazed to see how communities came together and how kind they were to us. We couldn’t walk down the street without a word of thanks from a stranger, or an offer of hot coffee to warm us on those cold days.

We would be driving around in our trucks and people would be waving and thanking us for coming. I was particularly moved when one family, whose power had been out for many days, came out to thank us, tears streaming down their faces. For me, that made it all worthwhile.

To become a journeyperson Power Line Maintainer takes 8,000 hours of on-the-job training, but the experiences I had working alongside such seasoned, hard-working guys are some of the most valuable and memorable I will ever have.

Warren Kelly, apprentice Power Line Maintainer, Hydro Ottawa

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There must be substantial waste in having an Ottawa Hydro, a Kingston Hydro, a Toronto Hydro etc., all with financial and administrative staffs.

Let’s have Ontario look at the Hydro-Québec model, where one invoice, produced centrally and collected centrally, is the norm. The invoice shows the kilowatt hours used, with no separate charges for production, distribution and delivery. Easy to understand!

My secondary residence in Quebec is fully dedicated to electric power. And my cost per kwh in Quebec is about half of what I pay Ottawa Hydro. Why?

Dick Harling, Ottawa

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Democracy 2.0

Re It’s Time To Build Democracy 2.0 (Jan. 2): More commitment and more inclusion are easy to say, however, Canadians seem fixed on “first past the post,” which results in neither.

What’s wrong with minority governments? The two before Stephen Harper’s majority weren’t so bad. Reform the system and a minority is assured, but everyone will be included. To govern, the majority party would have to consult and compromise.

Tony Burt, Vancouver

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Literature’s better

Re A Literary Find (Facts & Arguments, Jan. 3): I enjoyed Saqib Nazir’s essay on the impact writers John Irving and Kurt Vonnegut had on his life. Mr. Nazir is one of a legion of readers whose lives were touched by these authors. John Irving is famously quoted as stating: “Once I’ve established those characters, in whom the reader, I hope has some emotional investment, then it’s perversely my job to make as many terrible things happen to those people we like as I can imagine.” (I guess Shakespeare could say the same thing.)

Both Mr. Irving and Mr. Vonnegut have the gift of making palpable the unspeakable demons that haunt us humans and somehow enacting a sort of redemption.

Yup, literature is better than religion.

Donnie Friedman, Toronto

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