I would like to thank Frédéric Boily, Charlotte Gray, Lee Maracle, and Christopher Moore for widening the views of fellow Canadians (“The Trials of John A.,” February-March 2019). However, I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a more nuanced discussion on the question of commemoration, especially as it relates to historical or geopolitical context. When we com- memorate Sir John A. Macdonald — or any other historical figure within the country — with a plaque, a statue, or a school, perhaps we should ask ourselves, does that particular geographical location have historical or political significance? There are many locations that are relevant to Macdonald that would fit the bill, including Kingston, Ontario, where his gravesite is located, Charlottetown, where negotiations for Confederation began, and the grounds of any provincial legislature. Using this criterion, most Ontario schools bearing his name would likely fail the litmus test, as would Victoria’s city hall, since it is a civic — not federal — space with little direct relation to Macdonald.
Perhaps resolving the debate over Macdonald’s heroism or villainy is not so much about winning ideological high ground in the court of public opinion as it is about devising fair and rational commemorative criteria that respect the viewpoints and histories of all Canadians.
David N. Cooper Brampton, Ontario