Angus Celebrates Timmins Heroes Of Spanish Civil War

2012 marks the 75th anniversary of the formation of the famous Mackenzie-Papineau Brigade. Charlie Angus says its time to recognize the enormous contribution of northern volunteers. Nearly 2,000 young Canadians went toSpain in 1937 to fight the fascist forces of Franco, Hitler and Mussolini. These young men put their lives on the line to defend the democratically-elected Spanish government from fascist forces. 

Speaking in the House of Commons, Angus paid tribute to the volunteers from Timmins. 

“I am proud to say that the fourth largest contingent came from Timmins-James Bay. They were led by Nilo Makela who quickly became the battle leader of the Mac Paps. Makela, along with other Finnish-Canadian volunteers formed the fearsome Illka-Antikainen machine gun Company.” 

Makela was such a hero to the Canadian forces that when he was killed in 1938, soldiers weren’t told until after the battle was complete. Angus points out that the “Mac-Paps” suffered major losses in fighting the Nazi tanks and planes. 

The Canadians took terrible casualties upwards of 50%. Those who survived came home to harassment from government and RCMP. Not so in Timmins where they were rightfully treated as heroes.” 

Angus says he is concerned that the history of these northern heroes could be lost. He is inviting anyone who knows about the history of any of the northern “Mac Paps” to contact his office with any information.