Stand­ing up for Sir John A. Macdon­ald

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Opinion -


They are at it again.

You may have heard the news; the City of Vic­to­ria is re­mov­ing a statue of Sir John A. Macdon­ald from the front steps of city hall.

To us at the Macdon­ald-Lau­rier In­sti­tute – an or­ga­ni­za­tion whose name hon­ours in part the mon­u­men­tal legacy of our First Prime Min­is­ter – this sham­ing of Canada’s his­tory is both wrong and self-de­feat­ing.

And we aren’t alone in think­ing this way. In fact, Se­na­tor Mur­ray Sin­clair, the for­mer judge who led the Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion, has ar­gued that den­i­grat­ing our past is no way to pro­mote mean­ing­ful rec­on­cil­i­a­tion:

“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," Sin­clair said in 2017.

Se­na­tor Sin­clair is right; you can­not el­e­vate one per­son or group by abas­ing an­other. True rec­on­cil­i­a­tion should fo­cus on el­e­vat­ing the many in­spi­ra­tional Indige­nous lead­ers through­out Canada’s his­tory rather than den­i­grat­ing Canada’s Founders.

We at MLI will al­ways speak up for a fair and bal­anced ap­proach to Canada’s his­tory – one that both rec­og­nizes the tremen­dous con­tri­bu­tions of our founders and their im­per­fec­tions, while also cel­e­brat­ing the con­tri­bu­tions of Canada’s Indige­nous peo­ples and seek­ing to re­move ob­sta­cles to their full par­tic­i­pa­tion in Cana­di­ans so­ci­ety.

There is no con­flict be­tween these ob­jec­tives.

That’s why we are proud to have won a Se­nate Canada 150 medal for our work on Canada’s found­ing AND to have been short­listed for the best think tank project in the world for our work on ad­vanc­ing the eco­nomic prospects of First Na­tions, Metis and Inuit within Canada.

Re­mov­ing mon­u­ments to Macdon­ald isn’t merely a poor and mean-spir­ited way to hon­our his ex­em­plary con­tri­bu­tions to Canada. It is an im­pos­si­ble task, for we, all Cana­di­ans, and the coun­try we love, are his great­est mon­u­ment. He lives on in us.

As I’ve said be­fore, Sir John A. Macdon­ald was nei­ther an­gel nor devil, but a fal­li­ble hu­man be­ing who ac­com­plished great things. More than any­thing, Macdon­ald is owed our thought­ful, mea­sured thanks – not our de­ri­sion.

Thank you for stand­ing up for our first Prime Min­is­ter – a man with­out whom there would be no Canada.

Brian Lee Crow­ley, Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Macdon­ald- Lau­rier In­sti­tute

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