A statue and limitations
I read with interest the proposal of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario to remove
Sir John A. Macdonald’s name from schools in Canada.
My grandmother and uncle were placed in a residential school. I understand that the name became Assiniboia Indian Residential School.
I think the teachers should have done their homework and asked why Sir John A. and many others at the time thought that Indian residential schools were a good idea.
Today, Indigenous folks have a disproportionately high rate of unemployment, but it is not nearly as bad as it was in Sir John’s day. The leaders of the day naively thought they were helping poor Indigenous folks climb out of poverty.
OK, I grant you it was a colossal failure in many cases, and I think the perpetrators who abused kids in these schools should have a special place in hell reserved for them. But you should not fault the country’s founding fathers for trying their best to fix a problem.
As one Ottawa politician said, the teachers are guilty of “political correctness on steroids.”
Let us not forget that not all folks who attended residential schools were ruined for life. I know of many who graduated and did very well for themselves. My uncle went on to have a great career with CN Rail and my grandmother married an electrical engineer and had a son who became a doctor. My mom became a teacher.
So please don’t knock Sir John A. Macdonald. He tried his best and there are success stories, but I guess the teachers federation does not want to know about this. DOUG STERN