Conservatives nominate most decorated Indigenous war veteran for new $5 banknote

Taken from: BattlefordsNOW

Conservative MPs including the Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River’s Gary Vidal is calling for the most decorated Canadian war veteran to be the face of a new $5 banknote.

A video released on Facebook Sunday is requesting the public to sign a petition in support of the late Sgt. Tommy Prince to receive the honour. The two-and-a-half minute video features Vidal, as well as Shadow Minister for Crown-Indigenous Relations Jamie Schmale and MP Tom Kmiec.

“There are many great Canadians worthy of consideration, but Conservatives are suggesting Sgt. Tommy Prince, a great Indigenous Canadian, who embodies duty, courage, bravery and patriotism,” Kmiec said.

In the video, Vidal explained Prince, born October 1915, attended residential school from the age of five until Grade 8, before joining the military at the age of 24 in 1940 after several rejections. Prince was a founding member of the Elite First Canadian Parachute Battalion and the Devil’s Brigade during the Second World War.

Vidal mentioned Prince reached the rank of sergeant by the end of war and was one of three Canadians to receive both the Silver Star and Military Medal. His 11 medals make him the most decorated Indigenous war veteran in Canada.

“After his service, he received an honourable discharge, but not the benefits given to other veterans because he was Indigenous,” Vidal said. “Military service took a heavy toll on his health and, following his honourable discharge from the army, he faced a difficult return to a civilian life in Manitoba where he lived in poverty and poor health.”

Prince, who also served in the Korean War, died in November 1977 in Winnipeg. He was one of 11 children born to Henry and Arabella Prince of the Brokenhead Band in Manitoba.

According to the Bank of Canada, a call for nominations of who should be the face of the new $5 banknote was held between Jan. 29 to March 11, 2020. In all, nearly 45,000 people participated in the process, resulting in more than 600 eligible nominees.

The Bank of Canada already announced the banknote will be polymer with a vertical design. The new $5 note is expected to begin circulation within a few years.