A statue and lim­i­ta­tions

Winnipeg Free Press - - YOUR SAY -

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

Win­nipeg

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