Macdonald statues should remain

After Victoria mayor Lisa Helps proposed removing the statue of Macdonald from the steps of City Hall, the following Op-Ed was published in the Victoria Times Colonist

Sir John A. Macdonald was the prime minister of a racist country.  He was also, in his day, progressive and moderate in his relations with Indigenous peoples   He should not be made a scapegoat any more than the 18 prime ministers who followed him who kept residential schools in place. 

Macdonald acted on the advice of experts who recommended the expansion of the residential school system. Misguided as this was, his intent was more to improve general living conditions than to emasculate a population. Macdonald was sympathetic to the plight of the Indigenous peoples and said, "We must remember that they are the original owners of the soil, of which they have been dispossessed by the covetousness or ambition of our ancestors … the Indians have been the great sufferers by the discovery of America and the transfer to it of a large white population."  

It was Macdonald who boldly suggested extending the vote to "Indians", a move that was widely criticized out of sheer racism but also because his opponents feared he would the majority of their votes. And many Indigenous people living south of the 49th parallel moved north under Macdonald for reasons of safety and security. 
 
Some politicians in Victoria may feel good about removing Macdonald's statue. Better that they think about how we will be all be judged by future generations with living standards today on many reservations below third world conditions and with youth suicide rates at epidemic levels.  

Bob Plamondon
Author of Blue Thunder: The Truth about Conservatives from Macdonald to Harper.

The Government of Ontario will gladly display the statue that the City of Victoria are removed

Tweet from Sylvia Jones, MPP, Ontario Minister of Community Safety -- Our government let the City of Victoria know that we are willing and able to give Sir John A. Macdonald's statue a home in Ontario. History matters and we need to acknowledge the important role Sir John A. Macdonald played in Canada's and Ontario's history.

Tweet from Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario -- Sir John A. Macdonald played a central role in our national story. As one of the Fathers of Confederation, he founded our nation. That's why our government wrote to the Mayor of Victoria to say we'd be happy to give Sir John A. a new home here in Ontario.


Truth and Reconciliation Commission Chair Justice Murray Sinclair says keep statues in place

"It is not about taking off names off buildings, it is about whether we can find a way to put Indigenous names on buildings."

"The problem I have with the overall approach to tearing down statues and buildings is that is counterproductive to ... reconciliation because it almost smacks of revenge or smacks of acts of anger, but in reality, what we are trying to do, is we are trying to create more balance in the relationship."
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