Clifford Swain, right, receives the Order of the Métis Nation from Métis National Council president Clément Chartier. Scott Stanfield photo

Métis Nation honours Glacier View resident

Clifford Swain served in Second World War

Before heading overseas after the outbreak of the Second World War, Clifford Swain was told he would see the world. But he and other young Canadian soldiers had no idea of the horrors that awaited in Europe.

Swain — now a 97-year-old resident of Glacier View Lodge — was 22 when he served in the Royal Canadian Corp of Signals 2nd Infantry Division. He was on the second wave of the D-Day landing at Juno Beach in France.

“I thought to myself, ‘This is war?’ We had to drive, and among the bodies of the dead German paratroopers, I thought, ‘God, this is something I didn’t expect’,” he says in a Métis National Council documentary. “I thought when I enlisted in the army, they told us, ‘You see the world.’ I thought that was great, but when I landed in Normandy and saw the slaughter of man killing man, there’s something wrong.”

In the film, he recalls the Regina Rifles, the Winnipeg Rifles and the South Saskatchewan units, and how the German Army didn’t like facing Canadian soldiers because Canadians didn’t give up.

“That’s how I lost my friends. They didn’t give up. I would say a percentage of each unit was Métis.”

The documentary was shown Monday at Glacier View during a ceremony to honour Swain, who was born in 1922 in Prince Albert, Sask.

“We must remember that Germany was two years short of building the atomic bomb, so we must remember we stopped them,” Swain said at the ceremony. “God knows what we would have had in North America if they had…so let’s have no more war.”

Métis National Council president Clément Chartier attended the ceremony.

“We owe you and all the other Métis Nation veterans a great thank you for what you have done for us over the years,” Chartier said. “About 10 years ago, we issued the Order of the Métis Nation to all serving World War Two veterans we could identify.”

The order is the highest honour that can be bestowed upon individuals who have made a significant contribution to the Métis Nation.

“Thank you very much,” Swain said. “I’ve had a good life. I want to see the Métis Nation go forward. Don’t give up, keep on, and some day we’ll have freedom.”

Manitoba Métis Federation president David Chartrand, vice-president of the council and Minister of Veteran Affairs for the Métis Nation, presented Swain with a $20,000 cheque — part of $30 million included in this year’s federal budget to commemorate Métis veterans.

“If it wasn’t for people like Clifford and the thousands of Canadians that went out to fight, we might not have the freedom we have today,” Chartrand said. “We may be living under a different regime, and our lives would have been completely different.”

Just Posted

Police continue to investigate machete attack

Police have canvassed nearly 200 businesses for video surveillance of the recent… Continue reading

Cricket players get interrupted by racist remark in Courtenay

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Courtenay woman desperately searches for missing dog

Anyone who owns a dog will understand the anguish of a Courtenay… Continue reading

Valley chef Ronald St. Pierre to be inducted into BC Restaurant Hall of Fame

A Comox Valley chef will soon join other culinary legions in the… Continue reading

YANA Ride in Comox raises thousands for families with medical needs

In its seventh year, the event attracted the maximum 600 riders on Sunday

VIDEO: Could we BE any more excited? ‘Friends’ fans go crazy for merch

Movie theatres will show select episodes to mark the NBC series’ 25th anniversary

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ at Vancouver Island industrial site

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

Groovy B.C. wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

Nearly 50% of Canadians experience ‘post-vacation blues’: poll

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

Vancouver Island senior found safe with help from six search and rescue teams

Wayne Strilesky found safe in thick brush in north Nanaimo

Most Read