April 1, 2021, Winnipeg, MB – The Métis Nation proudly recognizes the service and sacrifices of Thomas Charles Johnston, a Métis Veteran of World War II. Born in 1925 in Teulon, Manitoba, Veteran Johnston followed his brothers into the Canadian Army in 1944, where he served two years before being discharged for medical reasons. Though he was disappointed by his inability to continue serving, he remained a lifelong advocate for military service with his friends and family.
Today, he was presented with a cheque in the amount of $20,000 as part of the Métis Veterans Legacy Program, established in partnership with the Trudeau government to commemorate forgotten Métis soldiers.
“It’s like a gift every time we find an eligible Métis Veteran to recognize and thank,” said David Chartrand, National Spokesperson and Minister of Veteran Affairs, Métis National Council. “It took 75 long years for Métis Veterans to receive this recognition, and it’s a race against the clock to ensure we reach all our surviving heroes from World War II within their lifetimes. I wish that COVID-19 hadn’t stolen my chance to go out and meet with Veteran Johnston directly, to hear about his experiences personally.”
“I am so proud of the Métis Veterans Legacy Program and what it’s been able to achieve for our Métis Veterans,” said Clara Morin Dal Col, Minister of Health, Métis National Council. “Our Veterans are so precious to our Nation, demonstrating our fighting spirit and our heart for democracy. As a fellow resident of British Columbia, I am honoured that our province is Veteran Johnston’s home.”
“My sister, brother and I as well as his grandchildren are all very proud of him and happy for him to be recognized for his service as a proud Metis,” said Veteran Johnston’s daughter, Jennie Michalenko. “This is very exciting for us to see Dad be accepted for this legacy and acknowledged for his service.”
As for Veteran Johnston, he simply said, “I am very proud to be recognized.”
As of today, the Recognition Payments have been given to 30 living WWII Métis Veterans, along with 27 spouses and 15 children of deceased WWII Métis Veterans. On behalf of the Métis National Council, Minister Chartrand continues to search for Métis Veterans of WWII.
Anyone who believes they or their family member are eligible for Recognition Payments for WWII Métis Veterans are encouraged to call 1-800-532-1993, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to:
Métis Veterans Legacy Program
c/o Manitoba Metis Federation
3rd Floor-150 Henry Avenue
For more information on the Metis Veterans Legacy Program please visit: metisveterans.ca
Métis Veterans: Our heroes today, tomorrow, and forever.
For media request, please contact:
The MNC represents the Métis Nation in Canada at the national and international levels. The Métis Nation’s homeland includes the 3 Prairie Provinces and extends into the contiguous parts of British Columbia, Ontario, the Northwest Territories and the United States. There are approximately 400,000 Métis Nation citizens in Canada, roughly a quarter of all Aboriginal peoples in the country.
Download the Press Release (PDF)