Canadian soldiers from the Régiment de la Chaudière – two of them looking weirdly like Justin Trudeau and his brother Alexandre – head toward the beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944 (Photo: Donovan Thorndick, RCN, Department of National Defence).

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – It took a long time for word of the outbreak of war in Europe to reach this isolated island in the North Atlantic. 

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

I speak, lest there be a misunderstanding about current events, of Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s revelation on Tuesday, June 6, that World War II began on the same date in 1944, which your correspondent failed to notice until this morning, being occupied with other matters mostly unrelated to the goings on in Wild Rose Country.

“On this day, June 6th, we remember the bravery and sacrifice of Canadian and Allied troops who landed on Normandy beaches 79 years ago, marking the beginning of the Second World War,” Ms. Smith tweeted. (Emphasis added, of course.) 

“We pay tribute to their heroic efforts on the anniversary of D-Day,” she blithely concluded her tweet.

This must have come as a surprise to any surviving World War II veterans who use social media. After all, most Canadian servicemen would have been quite busy from September 1939 onward, preparing for and participating in the grim and deadly task of sweeping Adolf Hitler and his odious empire from Europe.

It would also be something of a puzzler to those who credit Germany in general and its leader at the time in particular with starting the war – the proximate cause being the invasion of Poland – as all but the most revisionist of revisionist historians do. 

Danielle Smith’s latest notorious social media post – anything can be changed or deleted, but screenshots are forever (Image: Twitter/Danielle Smith).

Sept. 1, 1939, was the day Hitler’s army invaded Poland. That is why, in case you missed that particular history class – as Ms. Smith or whatever apparatchik does her tweeting for her apparently did – it is generally recognized as the day the war began. 

However, if you want to be argumentative about it, you could argue Britain and France didn’t declare war on Germany until Sept. 3, and that Canada waited until Sept. 10 to give Parliament an opportunity to debate the matter, although the result of the vote was pretty much a foregone conclusion by that point. 

If D-Day had been the beginning of the war, of course, then we would have started it, wouldn’t we? In which case, the actors in that famous Are We the Baddies video skit might have been wearing different uniforms than they do.

Regardless, the tweet was corrected within a short time with the reference to the beginning of World War II deleted. I am sure Ms. Smith and her minions would prefer that we would just drop the matter and save them the trouble of arguing the error was made by a flunky or that Ms. Smith (or whoever) intended to say June 6 was the beginning of the end of World War II. 

To the first point, it is a principle of Parliamentary government – much honoured nowadays in the breach – that ministers are responsible for the errors of their subordinates. So while a social media post gone awry is hardly a matter for resignation, it is nevertheless the premier’s responsibility. 

One could argue the scandal wasn’t the error – mistakes do happen, after all – so much as the fact no one noticed before the statement was published. Who is running the Premier’s Office, frat boys and Fraser Institute propagandists? 

As for the beginning-of-the-end argument, that would be wrong too.

While there is no question the Western allies’ invasion of continental Europe was an extremely significant step in the process of bringing the war to an end, it ignores the struggle in the east by the Soviets, who, whatever may be ideologically correct thinking today, paid much of the freight when it came to bringing World War II to an end. 

A more reasonable date to assign to the beginning of the end of World War II, would be Feb. 2, 1943. Indeed, the day the Germans at Stalingrad went to the Soviets to negotiate surrender terms is nearly universally regarded by military historians as the day the tide turned in the European theatre of the war.

The Red Army’s crushing defeat of the Germans at Stalingrad, the river city in southern Russia, was the deadliest battle of the war. After the destruction of the six field armies of Army Group B, the Red Army had purchased its ticket all the way to Berlin.

As 156,000 Canadian, British, American and other Allied soldiers went ashore on June 6, 1944, the Germans were being pushed backward in the east by six million soldiers of the Red Army, who inflicted about 80 per cent of the German Army’s casualties, cleared the Wehrmacht from Eastern Europe, and opened the road to Berlin. 

These are historical facts, not the conclusion of some UCP social media manager (or, God help us, its leader) who watched a Hollywood movie or two.

Which brings us to another important issue illustrated by this seemingly silly error, perhaps the most important one, the recent tendency of Canadian governments and political parties of all stripes, not just Conservative ones, to practice militarism while ignoring military history. 

This is dangerous for what should be obvious reasons.

People who advocate war, as our politicians so often do, would benefit from knowing a few basic facts about what has actually happened in some of them.

The casual ignorance displayed by the Premier’s Office is not reassuring. 

NOTE: I have not abandoned Alberta for Island life, as someone suggested on social media this morning. I am attending a conference on P.E.I. and have never been able to resist the temptation of a good placeline alongside my byline. I expect to return to Alberta shortly, although not in time for tomorrow’s cabinet appointment announcements by Premier Smith. Rumours have been flying today, and they are not reassuring. Brace yourselves, my fellow Albertans, the horror continues. DJC 

Join the Conversation


  1. “two of them looking weirdly Justin Trudeau and his brother Alexandre…”
    The resemblance is there, but I believe that there’s a preposition missing in there.

    1. Thanks, Lars. The typo’s been fixed. I think it’s interesting that, like everything else, it’s the rich guys with connections who get to do the time travelling. DJC

      1. Indeed time travel may be within the purview of the rich and elite DJC, but if it was me I could think of 10,000 other places I’d rather visit than Normandy beach in June of 1944 haha

        Take care!

  2. More thought seems to have been put into the placement of Danielle Smith’s advertisement than in its veracity.

  3. Re: cabinet postings. I have wondered since Ms. Smith’s unfortunate election whether Take Back Alberta will dictate who gets into cabinet.

  4. Hello DJC,
    Hope you are enjoying PEI even though you are working.
    My dad landed on “Juno Beach” that day, June 6, 1944.

    1. And mine transported soldiers from the HMCS Prince Henry to shore by landing craft LCA 1033.

    2. Chris,

      My grandfather was on Sword Beach that fateful day, one the first landing craft fighting for the British Navy. He turned 19 in Normandy shortly after, and eventually received the Légion d’honneur for his participation.

      He left us last year, aged 97. A truly honourable man, through and through.

  5. The Man in the High Castle might be where Danielle Smith got her WWII information. Did the Nazis win the war? She seems to think that people vaccinated against Covid are Nazis, persecuting the poor unvaccinated in present times. Here’s her rambling diatribe.

    It might be a plan for her to visit the Peace Tower in Ottawa, where the pages turn every day in the Books of Remembrance. She could pick a dead Canadian soldier’s name from one of the headstones at a war cemetery in France, someone who died on June 6, 1944, then visit the Memorial Chamber on the day the soldier’s page is on display. This is what families of Canadian soldiers have been doing for generations. They pay their respects for those who gave their lives so that future generations, including Danielle Smith, would be free. While there, she might learn that Canadians died in WWII prior to 1944. Shocking!

    But of course she won’t. The irony is that she is free to spout conspiracies and spread disinformation today in no small part because Canadians died fighting the Nazis in Germany in WWII. They were not fighting for or against the Covid vaccine, in case anyone other than Danielle Smith and the UCP are under this wildly incorrect impression.

    I wonder if she watched ‘How to Become a Tyrant’ for its instructional value.

  6. And if we are to believe demented Danielle, no doubt RB Bennet was our wartime Prime Minister, and Captain Canuck was Chief of Staff of the Army.

  7. Or perhaps Arthur Meighen? And Horatio Hornblower Lord Admiral of the RCN? And Andrew McNaughton and Mackenzie King, in demented Danielle’s mind just complete non-entities.

  8. Well someone really slept through history class, whether it was Smith or a minion who handles her social media account. Although I suppose whether there is an adult in charge or adult supervision is a relatively moot point.

    I have a feeling any post election political honeymoon will be brief as Smith and her gaffe prone crew revert to form after being relatively disciplined just before and during the election campaign.

    On a more positive note, it must be very easy managing Smith’s schedule. Allocate about half the time for gaffes or misspeaking and the other half for walking back previous statements.

    I suppose we are in for four years of this, the Danielle Smith show, if it lasts that long.

    1. Most people’s knowledge of history is very close to zero. Yesterday I heard a young woman say something about being asked about Hungary being Nazi during WWII, and she said she did not know how close Hungary had been to Russia. Pound head against desk!

      We probably should be happy Smith’s flunky was not talking about the beginning of the Boer War 79 years ago. Oh wait, they have never heard of the Boer War.

  9. I have uncles who fought in World War 2. They made it back. World history isn’t a strong point for Danielle Smith. Danielle Smith is doing everyone a disservice by opening up her mouth. She makes all kinds of claims that have no merit. Danielle Smith claimed to have Cherokee ancestry, and that’s been debunked. Her Ukrainan great grandfather fled communism in Ukraine, when communism wasn’t there at the time. I’m sure there are people who have Cherokee ancestry, and can prove it, because they have photographs of their ancestors, and have other evidence that backs up their claims. There are also people who have Ukrainan ancestry, and they know what was happening over there, when their ancestors left that country. It would be interesting to see what someone who actually has Cherokee ancestry, and who also has Ukrainan relatives would have to say on this matter. Danielle Smith has a great talent for putting her appendage in her mouth. Also, it’s quite the coincidence that oil companies are laying off so many staff, right after Danielle Smith said she’d stand up for Alberta’s economy. The UCP’s corporate tax cuts sure did wonders for the economy. They lost about $10 billion for Alberta, but that’s about it. Also, Danielle Smith’s wildfire remarks aren’t helping. You can’t get any dumber than these pretend conservatives and Reformers, can you? Sadly, people have fallen for her lies, and we are in for a horrific mess.

    1. Anonymous I am of Cherokee heritage and yes I can prove it. I have pictures of my great and great, great grandmother who were full blooded Cherokee. My great, great grandmother was rescued off the Trail of Tears in the southern part of Illinois, when the Cherokee were being marched to the Oklahoma reservation. Spillertown, Illinois was named after our family. I ?was there in the summer of 2001 and couldn’t find a single Spiller family member still living there. I told that story to two of my retired doctor friends and one said: “If your grandfather was a half breed his DNA would show he was 50% American Indian , your dad would have been 25% and you would be around 12%. In 2015 I took his advise and got my DNA tested. It came back 10% American Indian. He was right and I have since shown it to him. We had a good laugh about how smart he was.

      1. Alan K. Spiller: With Danielle Smith, she makes all kinds of claims, that have no proof.

  10. IMHO ,Danielle and her minions must be using snapchat, following PP’S lead, (the time difference helps)
    but to me it’s all in the name
    “ARTIFICIAL intelligence” ,
    your program is only as good as the person who designed it; and given the lack of education that we’re being subjected to these days, I’m not at all surprised by the Tweets. There have up to 3 of the same one, with a *last edited timeline. Lazy, ineffectual, both ?? If as a party leader, you are going to use Twitter to send a message to your supporters, one would think it would be/should be accurate, especially given the context of this particular one.
    But going by the responses, the rubes didn’t notice and seemed more intent on the disparity between pride “month ” and “D-day” .The people who did notice let her know, along with what did we expect from the poppy rejectionist.
    She also had to ‘edit’ her post of being a fan girl to Tricia Helfer , which I’m willing to bet came with some terse language from Tricia’s public relations team…ouch, is all I’ll say about that.
    Oddly enough, Dani’s & PP’S team don’t seem to know how screen shots work, so they’re always working 5 steps behind…if you are going to say something to the public and you can’t get your facts straight, you end up looking incompetent or uneducated, or both.

    And speaking of, but as a side bar- PP giving his little speech in Manitoba last week, I was about to shut it off when I realized what I was listening to….
    3:31- 9:08(time in min), and you have a condensed version of all his favorite cue words from his tweets this year….
    — after 8 yrs of JT
    — everything is broken
    — Can, out of money
    — crime out of control
    — skipping meals, asking for maid
    — housing double double
    — make Can. work for people who do the work
    — Bring home……
    — Gatekeepers
    — Common sense, common people, our common home
    — let’s bring it home ( add in sprinkling of JT’S, 8yrs, yada yada, etc)
    Now time for 5 questions……

    This by itself was quite amusing in s slightly masochistic way, but then listening to the MP’s basically reading from his speech card in the H of C , was painful beyond belief. Along with 900 petitions for the filibuster and all the apps, phones etc. that somehow weren’t working properly, so verification needed to make sure the vote counted,
    IMHO….this was the absolute worst, most distasteful and childish display of a waste of our taxpayers money I have ever seen. And yes I have seen the sleepers, the nose pickers, the thumbers, which could be anything from texting, to gaming to betting.
    Personally if little kids need to turn them off in school, MP’S should turn them off in the house. What a gong show and it’s become a lunch special coverage on MSM, with Skippy and the clappers, the evening version is almost palatable by comparison.
    We pay these people to represent us….I’m going to become a loud Karen and, say I want my money back…so I guess all and all we shouldn’t be surprised by the tweets, PP &Dani both seem to do alot of editing. Attention to details shouldn’t be expected from our so called elected representatives, right??right? that’s why we pay their salaries and their staff’s .

    On behalf of all the relatives who served in the Military, and 1 still in, better to have remained silent, than pretending to care and getting it so wrong. If you’re too lazy to even Google it because you don’t know , don’t bother, because now it just says you’re just trying to make points.
    SIGH !!

  11. May I recommend one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers, Vasily Grossman. While his personal story is quite amazing in and of itself, his Stalingrad novels are very moving and simply so well written. Weighing in at 800-900 pages each, they are perfect for reading wth a scotch and a furry dog.

  12. Randi-lee, “Skippy’s Greatest Hits” is a spot-on playlist of the drivel coming from Canada’s latest (and far from greatest) contribution to the acting profession. Thank you for your roughly 50 word summary of the extent of this person’s pretence at thinking. A great soundbite for future reference!

    1. LAS, and a follow up from my sister (Lol)….Skippy’s greatest hits, with special guests, Dani & the illiterates…..

  13. I followed Smiths bizarre tweet with considerable interest. It’s amazing how many were will to defend her bizarre interpretation of historical events and the timeline of WW2. Some attributed it to some millennial intern moron, but given Smith’s tendency to be disinterested in pretty much anything, as well as the fast revisions to the tweet that followed, it maybe she actually wrote this one.

    As for those who defended the context of the tweet, one person declared that Smith meant to say it was the beginning of the end, in a rather Churchillian paraphrase. However, it was pointed that Churchill said that of the Dunkirk Evacuation and not D-Day. To that, Smith’s defenders scurried away. Obviously, good help is hard to find these days, even among the hacks.

    If Smith is looking for someone more adroit at tweeting, she should look no further than David Staples. As proof, one can look for further than his recent column, declaring that the so called Cultural Divide between urban and rural doesn’t exist in Alberta because rural people are always right. STFU already. Good help, indeed.

  14. A further thought: can you imagine Danielle Smith as head of her own sovereign nation, wandering around the world offending everyone in her path with disinformation about easily-verified historical events? It matters not which year world conflicts began, let alone precise days, or who started them. How is she supposed to know these things? She wasn’t alive then?*

    *Actual line used by a coworker. Strangely enough, the coworker was not Danielle Smith, although she had what it takes to work for Danielle. I doubt that this comment would turn heads now as it did then. We live in the post-election, post-facts world.

    1. Ya know Abs, there are leaders of so-called sovereign nations who say things just as stupid “wandering around the world offending everyone in her path with disinformation about easily-verified historical events” I won’t bother naming them you can figure it out, yet on the dangerousness scale Ms. Smith is almost irrelevant – horrible for Albertans but you guys broke it, you bought it.

      1. wandering around the world……..
        Yes, I could imagine all of that.
        Lets not forget there was an american president, trump, who did much of that. The world will survive and diplomats, etc. will also have good jokes to tell about her. You can take trump jokes and just insert smith jokes.

  15. Fraulein Schmidt continues to spew out falsehoods.
    Like the USA with it’s many Trumpian acolytes I tire of Alberta’s self inflicted wounds.

  16. P.S.– okay I just figured out why the minions didn’t have the right information, they must be using the ‘history’ passports with the squirrels instead of the old ones…..just saying…

  17. I doubt it was accidental. Give them a couple years they’ll be talking about the “heroic” operation Barbarossa to defeat the evil USSR.

    Also not quibbling with your timeline but I believe the largest tank battle in world history, at Kursk, where the Nazis were roundly defeated by new Soviet tanks was instrumental in buttering up the Germans to be pushed all the way back to Berlin.

    Anyway don’t think for a second the administration of 14 words Danielle Smith doing their best to write the soviets and naziism out of WWII is accidental. When folks tell you who they are over and over and over again maybe it’s time to stop being shocked by them.

    1. LB: There is no question Kursk was the largest talk battle in history, or what the result was. Stalingrad was a bigger fight in terms of casualties, though. The Germans lost about 200,000 soldiers at Kursk, about 285,000 at Stalingrad. Regardless, Stalingrad is usually seen as the turning point in Europe. The Soviets lost more than 20 million people in the war. This explains a lot about how the Russians view their strategic position today. Nothing we think or say in the West will change that. DJC

      1. I will admit I just wanted to talk about German tanks being destroyed by Russians (topical?) but breaking the iron back of the reich, while not the same in terms of human cost re: Stalingrad was a huge psychological cost to the Germans, and was the beginning of the end of the Nazi incursion into the USSR. Regardless; we don’t talk enough about the sacrifices of the USSR in WW2 who are probably the main reason we aren’t all living a fully fascist reality today.

      2. When it comes to analysis and interpretation of these events that serve as the basis for propaganda narratives, everything is open to question. The stories of Stalin and Mao are so convoluted by Anglo-American propaganda that any understanding with a degree of historical accuracy of events of the twentieth century is practically impossible. The British and French empires certainly did not enter the war in September 1939 with the aim of safeguarding universal democracy nor of defeating “fascism”. Poland was an expansionist military dictatorship at the time. The notion of The Big One as some exceptional “good war” simply does not withstand scrutiny, and is not much more than magical thinking. Or perhaps it was very bad for Germans to kill millions because they were communists, but okay for the US and vassals like Canada to do so five years later.

        1. The real question is was Germany intentionally impoverished so as to have a willing vassal to point at the communists, or was it all just greed and hubris ?

  18. When we have a premier that does not believe in facts it is impossible to get any historical data correct.
    How can she have a ‘normal’ tweeter assistant if she herself is far out there in the realm of lunacy.
    I think by the end of these coming 4 years (if she makes it) we will all be in need of a good visit to Alberta Hospital.

  19. David what you said about the war in Russia is the real story but I wonder how many of us ever heard about it in school or otherwise?
    The West and especially the US has tried hard to convince people they were the ones who won the war. The facts are that it was Russia that finally beat the Germans to the point where they never recovered from. Once very weakened in the Russian front, the Germans lost total control of the war in Europe. That is the fact – now even today how many young people know that?

    1. Hello T.B. 2017: So you too noticed the impact of the Albertans on Vancouver Island politics
      Noticed it first during the bi election a number of years a go when the NDP lost the Nanaimo seat to the Greens. What was of interest to me was the second place winner was Conservative and third NDP.
      Four years ago, when we moved into a 2 block new housing area, 5 of the new families were from Alberta. When you walk through a large parking lot and check where many of the vehicles were purchased, Calgary. Most likely those Albertans consider living on Vancouver Island as living “over seas”.

      “self inflicted wounds” that does remind me of abusive relationships. people become co-dependent. We all know how diffiuclt it is to deal with people in those type of situations. Its why some voters continue to vote for politicians who have no interest in their well being. You really have to wonder why in North America people continue to vote for politicians who want to reduce health care or in some cases in the U.S.A. simply not ever deliver health care.

      It is unfortunate we are not taught in school about Stalingrad or other nasty battles in wars. We might learn something. Aging baby boomer–never learnt about it in school during the 50s, 60s. Knowledge I had was aquired eaves dropping on adults and later hearing older people discussing WW II
      Unfortunatley when the German General negotiated the surrender of the German soliders, the majority died in Russian hands.
      Stalingrad ought to be taught in school so people remember what war can do and the few gains which are made, in the end. Yes the Russians winning and we use the term loosely, was the turning point of the war.

  20. Read William Craigs Enemy at the gate, the story will turn your stomach..
    It’s estimated the battle for Stalingrad cost , perhaps, 3 million lives , many from starvation.
    Daniel Smith is an idiot voted to power by idiots just as Ford was in Ontario.
    Both provinces will regret their decisions sooner rather than later.
    I just wish that Alberta would stop exporting it’s over the hill retired tarsands workers to Vancouver Island where their burgeoning demographic is ” polluting” our politics..


  21. A Liberal MP I was talking to didnt know that gasoline wasn’t made out of gas.

    Im pretty sure she was misquoting Churchill and meant “the beginning of the end”. And yes, it was the beginning of the end. We can discuss it if you like.

    That said, making stories about misquotes is laughable…

    If its all you got, its all you got.

    And this on a day when the government in Ottawa breaks with the will of Albertan’s on equalization.

    Sounds like taxation without representation to me.

    1. We literally have federal representation in Ottawa, just like the rest of confederation. Once again you are incorrect in your histrionics

      1. Majoritarian government isn’t representation. That’s why constitutions are formed. When the government breaks the constitution, it’s of note. A forum like “Alberta politics” should be all over it.

  22. I would have expected Republican-wannabe Danielle to name 7 December 1941 as the date the war started. (At least she remembered–or was told–D-Day was in June 1944.)

    Now, if only that was the worst gaffe she’s made, I’d be much less worried about our province. Anybody want to comment on how Danielle’ blown off climate change as a cause of more forest fires–and how she’s gonna look for arsonists instead?

    If only the out-of-province investigators could trace back all the cigarette butts and scorch marks from overheated quad exhausts–or is it sparks from backfires?–and nail the perps who started those fires. It’d be amusing (if your sense of humour is suitable for a gallows) to watch Queen Dani backtrack on how the perps–her loyal fanboys–won’t be punished after all.

  23. In late breaking news…TBA announced that Roger Waters has been retained to play at the first TBA victory party.

    Film at 11.

  24. Ok then! Welcome the new overlords!
    Here’s a full list of Alberta’s new cabinet ministers and ministries:

    Danielle Smith – Premier and Intergovernmental Affairs
    Mike Ellis – Deputy Premier and Public Safety
    Nate Horner – Finance
    Nathan Neudorf – Affordability and Utilities
    Ric McIver – Municipal Affairs
    Dale Nally – Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction
    Peter Guthrie – Infrastructure
    Brian Jean – Energy and Minerals
    Todd Loewen – Forestry and Parks
    R.J. Sigurdson – Agriculture and Irrigation
    Adriana LaGrange – Health
    Dan Williams – Mental Health and Addiction
    Jason Nixon – Seniors, Community, and Social Services
    Rebecca Schulz – Environment and Protected Areas
    Joseph Schow – Tourism and Sport
    Matt Jones – Jobs, Economy and Trade
    Mickey Amery – Justice
    Searle Turton – Children and Family Services
    Devin Dreeshen – Transportation
    Rajan Sawhney – Advanced Education
    Demetrios Nicolaides – Education
    Tanya Fir – Arts, Culture and Women
    Nate Glubish – Technology and Innovation
    Rick Wilson – Indigenous Relations
    Muhammad Yaseen – Immigration, Multiculturalism, Forestry and Parks

    I’d like our innkeeper to research the annals of our short but ever lengthening history where in we did not have a minister of labour. Welcome to the “who gives a fuck” government of the Dani Party! PS Dearest Sensei. Thank you for allowing the last fuck I have to give during pride month!

  25. I can infer from the list of the new members of cabinet that TBA has waved its terrible swift sword and demanded their tribute …

    Adriana LaGrange, long time pro-life activist and raging Roman Catholic, is the Minister of Health. Women’s reproductive rights will surely be under attack.
    Ladies, best to keep away from the men and become lesbians with this one.

    Dan Williams, he who is believed to have worked in a quarry and has quaffed a beer in a public workspace, and tweaked his nose at the outrage, is the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. He’s also an uber Catholic and pro-life hack. I’m sure his mental health can be considered highly questionable.

    Mickey Amery is a lawyer, one of the few, so he was a shoo-in for Minister of Justice.

    Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Transport. Handing him the Mental & Addictions portfolio would have been world-class trolling.

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