Episode 10: The Canadian Experiment (1976 - 1999)
Brave Canadians take a stand for their rights and freedoms in a multicultural Canada.
Canada seeks to navigate the complexities of its diverse population, keeping its borders open to those who have nowhere else to turn while trying to negotiate a new relationship with Indigenous peoples. This unique example of nationhood serves as an example for the world as Canada moves into the 21st century.
AIRDATE: MAY 14
The CN Tower: a symbol of Canadian ingenuity (1976)
In 1973, work began on one of the most ambitious projects in Canada's history, the CN Tower. Built to demonstrate Canadian ingenuity and industrial might, it was completed in 1976 as the tallest freestanding structure in the world (at over 1,800 feet tall). Consisting of a total mass of 118,000 tonnes, it serves a symbol that anything is possible in Canada.
Canada welcomes the Vietnamese boat people (1979)
At the end of the Vietnam War, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese are languishing in refugee camps across Asia. Canadians like Howard Adelman band together to make the unprecedented decision to welcome 60,000 Vietnamese refugees into the country.
After losing his wife, Tuyet Lan, and son, Trang, on the Malaysian coast, Nguyen Ngoc Ngan starts a new life from scratch in Canada. He tries everything from dishwashing to operating a grain elevator to get by, moving from Vancouver to Prince Rupert to Toronto. He finds his niche in a most unexpected industry: he becomes the co-host of Paris By Night, a variety show that becomes an international sensation for Vietnamese expats around the world.
Mohawk Warriors and Canadian soldiers standoff in Oka (1990)
When the Southern Quebec town of Oka wants to expand a golf course onto a Mohawk burial ground, the Mohawk barricade a road in protest. The situation blows up into a 78-day standoff between the Mohawk Warrior Society and Canadian authorities. On the day the Mohawk stand down, teenager Waneek Horn-Miller is caught in a chaotic skirmish between the two sides and is stabbed by a soldier's bayonet. She's traumatized, but with her mother's help, finds the strength to keep going. Waneek goes on to become a Canadian Olympic water polo player.
The Turban that Rocked the RCMP (1990)
In 1990, Baltej Singh Dhillon, a young Malaysian-born practising Sikh, is accepted into the RCMP on condition that he shave his beard and remove his turban in exchange for the standard-issue Stetson. Dhillon challenges the regulation. He doesn't believe he should have to choose between practicing his faith and serving his adopted homeland.
Dhillon's challenge sparks a public debate across the country. He is subject to racist treatment both from outside and within the RCMP, but he takes it all in stride and sticks to his guns. Citing the Charter, the Solicitor General rules in Dhillon's favour, amending the RCMP dress policy to permit turbans.
The Creation of Nunavut (1953-1999)
At the age of six, John Amagoalik and his family of northern Quebec Inuit are relocated to bleak, freezing, Resolute Bay, in the high Arctic. They nearly starve to death, but against all odds, John becomes a major Inuit political leader.
Through years of rejection and perseverance, John and he fellow Inuit leaders pursue their dream for a new territory that will protect the Inuit way of life and allow them to administer themselves. The dream is finally realized on April 1, 1999 with the creation of Nunavut.