So, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario has decided that Sir John A. MacDonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister and the person generally credited for bringing Canada together as a nation (well, for the most part, anyway), is actually a genocidal fascist. Consequently, his name is to be stripped from the sides of schools as he joins the list of notable figures being relegated to the self-storage shed of history.
Apparently, even a knighthood doesn’t earn you much credit these days!
The recent movement in the United States to remove statues of people and other symbols found to be glorifying values contrary to current ideals has found its way into Canada. In a country where it’s people have a reputation for being tolerant – almost to a fault, the moral lines are being drawn in the sands of history prompting many to ask, “Where does it stop?”
Through good education we accept our collective past. Every group in history has been persecuted at some point and yet cities and structures and statues recalling these events survive. As they should. If you want to remove a statue or rename a place, don’t do it in an attempt to use its removal to demonstrate how evolved our ideologies are today…that is nothing more than self-righteousness and hypocrisy.
All of history is OUR history. Instead of trying to correct past transgressions, let us concentrate our efforts on not repeating them? Perhaps it is exactly those reminders, as painful as they may be, that help drive the change we seem so desperate to prove has already occurred. Change is painful and chaotic and maybe it should be. Why should it be made palatable and easy to accept? What kind of challenge is that to overcome? How does that make heroes?
In that spirit, take a moment and consider the Canadians who have been held up as visionaries and leaders attributed with helping to forge a nation and shape a culture. But know this: in another couple hundred years, our great-great-grandchildren probably will not share our current attitudes, values and beliefs and what was once seen as commendable and even heroic, may be hated and scorned and reviled.
Oh, and by the way, so will you for having put them on a pedestal in the first place.
Referenced news site:
He’s considered Canada’s founding father, but many Ontario teachers want his name stripped from public schools