Canada’s National Wildlife Week

Upon the death of Jack Miner in 1944, Canada had the desire to create a perpetual memorial to honour him for his pioneer work in wildlife conservation. The idea, however, would need to be put on hold pending the conclusion of the Second World War, which ended the following year. Early in 1946, a government representative, Sen. Joseph Bradette, from Ottawa, approached the Miner family.

During discussions with the Miner family, three propositions were suggested:

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1. The entire North West Territory be declared a National Park.

2. The area to be renamed ‘The Canadian Jack Miner National Park.’

3. The erection of an observation tower on the sanctuary grounds.

A local businessman/politician by the name of Arthur Allen had already implemented the designation of Jack Miner Day, which was observed locally on the date of Jack Miner’s birth, April 10th. This idea was being considered for adoption on a national scale. After careful consideration, the Miner family opted for the proposal of a National Wildlife Day to be held each year on Jack Miner’s birthday. Back in Ottawa, the National Wildlife Day Act was drawn up. The act was presented from the floor of the House of Commons in late 1946, and was about to be passed.

The then Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Mackenzie King, put a stop to the passing of the bill – not because he was in disagreement with the Act, but, because he wanted to extend it to encompass the entire week of Jack Miner’s birth. The bill was then renamed the ‘The National Wildlife Week Act’, reworded and tended to by federal lawyers to ensure the primary purpose of the act was that it be recognized as an everlasting memorial to Jack Miner’s conservation efforts. The secondary purpose of the Act was to encourage public interest, via nature study groups, sporting, tourist, education and ecology related organizations in the conservation field.

When this Bill was reintroduced in the House of Commons on April 18th, 1947, it was passed without one dissenting vote! This was the first occasion since Canada’s confederation that a Bill was passed unanimously.