Henry Dundas was right (and context matters) | Jennifer Dundas

Despite two leading abolitionists saying Henry Dundas' plan for the gradual abolishment of slavery was right, Jennifer Dundas, a retired Crown prosecutor who is a descendant of the Scottish politician, says Toronto is ignoring key portions of history.

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In July 2021, Toronto's city council voted to rename Dundas Street  — one of the city's busiest downtown streets, and the site of Yonge-Dundas Square, a major tourist, entertainment and shopping hub — and other city property to remove reference to Henry Dundas, a Scottish politician who opposed slavery and pushed for abolition.

This week, the city partially paused that plan. No, not because council came to understand history; rather, after the enormous costs were revealed, with recent estimates coming in between $11.3 and 12.7 million, reports to CTV News.

Instead, Toronto is going ahead with plans to rename Yonge-Dundas Square and two subway stations featuring Dundas' name.

On last night's episode of The Ezra Levant Show, Ezra launched a new Rebel News petition at SaveDundas.com. While doing so, Ezra was joined by a descendant of Henry Dundas, retired Crown prosecutor and former CBC journalist Jennifer Dundas.

After Ezra explained his understanding of how the British Empire brought slavery to an end, Jennifer provided more context around what Dundas pushed for during the tumultuous times he was in government during the 1790s and into the early 1800s.

By 1807, buying and selling slaves was illegal across the British Empire, but slave ownership overseas was still permitted. By 1833 it was outlawed entirely, with a majority achieving emancipation in 1840 and the last exceptions by 1843.

This started “41 years after Henry Dundas proposed the elimination of hereditary slavery,” Jennifer notes.

Modern critics of Dundas scrutinize his plan of a gradual end to the horrors of slavery, but Dundas “understood the forces that were lined up against any government winding down slavery or the slave trade.” 

But other abolitionists wanted an immediate end, a plan Jennifer points out that they regretted by the 1820s.

Now, Jennifer says, Toronto wants to wipe Dundas' name from the city for misguided reasons:

Both William Wilberforce and the patron of the abolition movement, the Duke of Gloucester, started saying publicly that they regretted having rejected Henry Dundas' plan.

So here, you have two of the most prominent abolitionists in Britain both saying Henry Dundas was right, we wish we had followed his plan.

And now we have Toronto saying, 'no, William Wilberforce was right in 1792 when he denounced Henry Dunas for wanting to move gradually instead of all at once and only on abolition of the slave trade.

If you agree that we shouldn't cancel and condemn the memory of historical leaders who are momentarily unfashionable; If you appreciate the role that Henry Dundas played in our history; If you value the role that the British Empire played in achieving the end of slavery – please sign our petition here to Save Dundas Street!

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