Canada should be cherished, not cancelled for its imperfect past

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Tonight, Ezra interviews Dr. Mark Milke, President and Founder of the Aristotle Foundation, on Canadians tearing down statues of prime minister Sir John A. Macdonald. 

Prime Minister Trudeau earlier recognized that Macdonald did “some very positive things in creating today’s Canada.” Though highlighting that history needs to be viewed more critically, he drew the line at vandalism. 

“It’s not up to a small group to decide unilaterally we cannot recognize or celebrate one person or another,” the prime minister said. “We need informed debate.” His remarks followed the destruction of a Montréal statute honouring Macdonald.

“I don’t think divisive debate or acts of vandalism like destroying a statue are going to move us ahead as a society,” he said.

Parks Canada reopened the Bellevue House historic site on Saturday with a pledge to do better. For $9 admission, Canadians and tourists alike can reflect on the “racism and sexism in Victorian Canada while looking closer at some of Sir John A. Macdonald’s political decisions."

The Aristotle Foundation for Public Policy defended his legacy, claiming he “saved more Indigenous lives than any other prime minister.”

During its unveiling, Parks Canada Superintendent Jarred Pincher recognized there are “different perspectives” on Canada’s past.

The Foundation referenced Macdonald’s “highly effective vaccine campaign” to save Indigenous lives from smallpox and famine relief to prevent starvation.

Channon Oyeniran, historian and lecturer of Black History, countered the argument, claiming “the reopening of Bellevue House is a testament to the re-writing of this history.”

On Saturday, she called out Canadians who perceived their image better than the United States. “These inaccurate views and ideas are traced back to not knowing our history,” she said.

“He saved many tens of thousands of human lives — mostly Indigenous — if we compare his record to his American counterparts,” the Foundation told Rebel News.

 

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  • By Sheila Gunn Reid

Save Sir John!

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