Commentary: John A. Macdonald deserves to be remembered for the heinous crimes he did commit

Canada is struggling to put its history of colonialism behind it as it moves to become a progressive country, and one of the landmarks for the transience of Canadian history is the ongoing attempt…

Commentary: John A. Macdonald deserves to be remembered for the heinous crimes he did commit

Canada is struggling to put its history of colonialism behind it as it moves to become a progressive country, and one of the landmarks for the transience of Canadian history is the ongoing attempt to update our history, first with one line on our national currency, now with the removal of headstones in Westboro Cemetery.

The new moniker of Prime Minister John A. Macdonald for our standard biography is all about removing the racism built into the definition of a “genocidal architect of Canada’s residential schools.” The fact that the revisionists prefer to issue orders and pass laws to enforce that injustice is yet another example of the degeneration of a nation founded upon the principles of democracy, justice and liberty.

There is no shortage of researchers, artists and activists who know the truth about the horrors suffered by those who attended the residential schools. Thanks to their tireless efforts, we know the devastating impact, according to a 2017 Aboriginal Studies survey of more than 100 student organizations across the country.

That is why in 1965, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was created in Canada, which includes a bill of rights for Aboriginal people in Canada, among its many achievements.

The people who fought to make that happen are named as historic figures in the TRC’s 1872 report, “Saints, Slaves, Immigrants and Others Who Came to Halifax, Nova Scotia.”

The Commission of Inquiry report reads: “… on the margins of their usual affections, men and women carried away for the furnishing of yet another bed, yet another cupboard or yet another stairway, to what at the moment looked like some kind of an unmarked grave. … If there was to be a day of reckoning, and no more equivocation, then this brief point should be made to be the one. It was the day when those whom we had striven to include, found that they were put out of reach.”

CBC TV recently gathered the stories of those who survived residential schools and returned to Canada and heard the horrifying reality of that time.

While the Commission’s report states that it was an “appalling state of affairs which beggars the imagination of any human being,” it also acknowledges the great progress that has been made over the years in the relationship between the Aboriginal people and the Canadian government.

Considering the legacy of oppression that was taught to so many, then the introduction of a new biography title in Canada to simply “Renaming” says more about how the ideology of modern multiculturalism continues to use hard-line nationalist ideology as a weapon to silence and exclude the voices of those that seek to challenge or call out these policies.

Tolerance, reconciliation and inclusion are important ideals to reflect and embrace, but the “integration” with a racist past will only serve to build up resentment and worse. Resentment and backwardness are the breeding grounds for those seeking to hide their sins.

It is time for all Canadians to hear the truth about our founding father John A. Macdonald. We are not going to get through this until we acknowledge his role as a racist and a murderer and demand an apology from those that blame him for the suffering he left behind in Canada and elsewhere.

Laura Walsh is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at St. Thomas University.

Letters to the Editor should be sent to [email protected] The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all Tribune Publishing employees.

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