Photo: Tommy Prince earned 12 medals during his service in the Second World and Korean Wars.
By Don Norman
At the beginning of the year, the Bank of Canada called for nominees for the next person who will be honoured on the five dollar bill when it is issued in the next few years. They received over 600 eligible nominations and are now in the process of winnowing that list down to the finalist.
Sergeant Tommy Prince made that list and Selkirk-Interlake MP, James Bezan, is pulling for him to receive the final honour. Prince, who served in World War Two and the Korean War and is Canada’s most decorated indigenous war hero, grew up in Brokenhead Ojibway Nation.
Bezan and three other Conservative Party MPs (Tom Kmiec, Jamie Schmale and Gary Vidal) put their name to a petition asking Canadians to join them in their efforts to advocate for Prince’s inclusion on the banknote. In addtion, Bezan recently sent a letter to Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance and Tiff Macklem, Governor of the Bank of Canada asking for their support.
“Sergeant Prince was proud to serve and sacrifice for Canada, but as an Indigenous veteran, he was discriminated against by the federal government who failed to provide him the same post-war support as other veterans. Tragically, Sergeant Prince died alone and homeless at a Salvation Army shelter in 1977,” stated Bezan in a news release.
“In the spirit of reconciliation, putting Sergeant Tommy Prince on Canada’s $5 bill in place of Sir Wilfred Laurier would be deserved retribution. In 1907, Prime Minister Laurier forced the illegal surrender of St. Peter’s Reserve north of East Selkirk and marched the community 100 miles north to the new reserve of Peguis First Nation. St. Peter’s Reserve is the mother reserve to Sergeant Prince’s Brokenhead Ojibway Nation. Tommy Prince is a direct descendant of Chief Peguis.”
“I encourage all Canadians to go to www.honourtommyprince.ca and show their gratitude for Sergeant Tommy Prince’s service and sacrifice by recommending him as the next face of Canada’s $5 bill.”