MNC President Chartier and Minister of Veterans Affairs David Chartrand visited three Métis Nation veterans of the Second World War from July 15-17, 2019, and joined with the veterans, their families and communities in ceremonies honouring the contributions of these Métis Nation heroes. Each was awarded the Order of the Métis Nation and provided with a cheque for $20,000, making them among the first to receive these benefits under the recently concluded $30 million Canada-Métis Nation Métis Veterans Recognition Payment Agreement.
On July 15, the MNC leaders and MNBC’s President Clara Morin Dal Col and Vice-President and Minister of Veterans Lissa Smith honoured 97 year old Clifford Swain at his seniors home, the Glacier View Lodge, in Courtenay, BC. His son Milt Swain and daughter Valerie Santinelli joined the Métis Nation leaders for the ceremony.
Originally from a farm near Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Mr. Swain served in the Royal Canadian Corp of Signals 2nd Infantry Division that landed on Juno Beach in the second wave in 1944. His powerful recollection of events during the five week campaign to clear Normandy of German occupation forces is captured in the following video.
On July 16, the MNC leaders, together with MNS President Glen McCallum, Secretary Lisa McCallum and Regional Director Tex Bouvier honoured veteran Louis Roy in Beauval, Saskatchewan. The Mayor of Beauval, Nick Daigneault assisted the MNC in organizing the ceremony as a community event at the GDI building in Beauval with the MNS Local preparing a lunch to honour the veteran. Many Métis Nation citizens attended along with Mr. Roy’s family members.
Born in Ile-a-la-Crosse, Saskatchewan in 1920, Louis Roy joined the Canadian Army in 1942. He served in the Saskatoon Light Infantry in England, Africa, Sicily and Italy. He suffered hearing loss in one ear during the Italian campaign due to the close range gunfire and bombing. With the end of the war, he returned to Saskatchewan and took up trapping and fishing as his main way of life. He then worked for more than 20 years as a carpenter for Northern Housing and for the Northern Lights School Division until his retirement in 1985. Mr. Roy recollects his wartime experiences in the following interview with Métis Nation elder Jim Durocher.
On July 17 the MNC honored George McKay at the seniors’ home in Tisdale, Saskatchewan. Originally from Cumberland House, Mr. McKay joined the army when he was 16 years old. He served in the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders in Normandy and Italy. After the war he worked in Vancouver for a few years before returning to northern Saskatchewan to pursue an independent life in fishing and trapping.
His niece Helen Deschambeault participated in the ceremony along with MNS Regional Director Sherry Soll, Jeff Gallant from Veterans Affairs Canada and the MNS Local President Brent Digness.