Moose Country Minute – April 07 2018

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I was reminded recently by a short story in the Globe and Mail that the end of last month marked the 43rd anniversary of the beaver being officially recognized as Canada’s national animal.

It is all my fault, so apologies all around.

You see, I was the young reporter back then who contacted the late Conservative MP Sean O’Sullivan, a Hamilton lad, that New York State was about to adopt the beaver as its own, and that Canada had never officially recognized the animal.

Yes, it was on our very first postage stamp, and yes, it was on our five-cent coin but, as a country, we had just taken for granted that the beaver was somehow official.

But it wasn’t.

Well, before long, O’Sullivan had crafted a private member’s bill to officially recognize the beaver, backed by huge publicity on the CBC’s As It Happens radio program, and the legislation sailed through the Commons and the Senate like you-know-what from a goose.

This was long before social media, of course, and snail mail, as we call it today, was the only mail there was.

Thousands of letters supporting both O’Sullivan and the legislation flowed into As It Happens, and the deal was sealed.

This puts me firmly at history’s elbow, of course.

O’Sullivan gave me credit for tipping him off in his memoir, Between Two Houses—he left politics to become a priest, and died of cancer not longer after—and the official Beaver Book also names me as the catalyst.

So, it is my fault we do not have a more majestic national animal. Like the polar bear, for example. Or a moose.

Instead we have a big rodent. And now you know why.