Face to face: Our first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan


HOW times change!

That change is so strikingly portrayed in the Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada’s annual poster designed by Rahul Bhogal: The first Prime Minister of Canada Sir John. A. Macdonald and the incumbent Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.

The link?

Macdonald penned a private letter in 1867 – shortly after Queen Victoria signed the British North America Act – to Sir Henry Sumner Maine, who was living in India at the time, asking for an army of Sikhs.

He wrote: “. . . War will come someday between England and the United States, and India can do us yeoman’s service by sending an army of Sikhs … across the Pacific to San Francisco and holding that beautiful and immortal city with the surrounding California — as security for Montreal and Canada . . . ”

Pardeep Singh Nagra, executive director of the Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada, told the Toronto Star: “In 1867, Macdonald called for an army of Sikhs, 150 years later we’ve done one better as a country. We’ve given you an army led by a Sikh.”