Updated: Mar 19, 2022
As candidates for the new 5 dollar bill continue to be discussed, why not consider placing Indigenous war hero Tommy Prince on it?
Tom Kmiec and two other Conservative MPs have actually suggested that sergeant Tommy Prince be the new face of the bank note.
"He was homeless, he lost his kids, he went through a residential school system, so there's so many interesting aspects of his life. And he's a combat veteran and he's someone who served this country in two major conflicts," Kmiec said. "Here's an interesting fellow who represents bravery, courage, citizenship — all these wonderful attributes."
"Tommy Prince would be just the perfect, perfect pick," Kmiec said.
Kmiec says the petition, launched two years ago, received 1,500 supporters within its first 48 hours
"He's a founding member of Canada's elite first Canadian parachute battalion, and the Devil's Brigade during the Second World War," Kmiec said. "He was one of the soldiers who defended hill 677 in the battle of Kapyong during the Korean War. He won 11 medals. That makes him the most decorated Indigenous war veteran, combat veteran, in the history of Canada."
Josie Nepinak, executive director for the Awo Taan Healing Lodge Society in Calgary, also commented on the matter.
"People often say, 'Well, all Indigenous people do is complain and take and take,' but we don't do that," Nepinak said. "We have a very rich and very strong history, and Tommy Prince is part of that history. We need to let people know that to dispel some of those myths around racism."
Prince and many other Indigenous veterans were denied many of the benefits given to other veterans. When he died in 1977, the decorated war hero was homeless.
"To me, he was a humble man. He was a quiet man," said Jim Bear, Prince's nephew and a former chief of Brokenhead Ojibway Nation. "He just had a great sense of humour."