'Woke' Saskatoon city council wants to rename 'John A. Macdonald Road' over residential school controversy

Saskatoon's 'woke' city council has wholly embraced cancel culture after pledging to rename John A. Macdonald Road to promote indigenous reconciliation.

'Woke' Saskatoon city council wants to rename 'John A. Macdonald Road' over residential school controversy
Wikimedia Commons/ John A. Mcdonald and THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
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City councillors in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan are considering removing the name of Canada's first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, from a local road. Councillor David Kirton proposed the name change two years ago to support the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. 

In pursuit of rectifying the wrongs of the residential school system, the city council is formally considering a street name change to miyo-wâhkôhtowin Road, which is Cree for "a good relationship."

On August 1, Saskatoon's Civic Naming Committee will receive a presentation on this name to supplement the initial proposal. A decision is expected on September 27.

"The proposed name reflects the theme of Reconciliation and was thoughtfully and carefully chosen after listening to and learning from the community and the people that continue to be impacted by residential schools and the legacy of John A. Macdonald," said Melissa Cote, Saskatoon's director of the indigenous initiatives.

"Residential schools contributed to a breakdown in communities and relationships and division; good relationships will bring us together.

However, a policy think tank believes that blurring the lines between reconciling past injustices and playing a perpetual victimhood card does not address Indigenous grievances. 

"To build a country is like growing a tree: You prune off the rotten branches where they exist. You don't 'cancel' and take down the entire tree. Same with Canada and our history," said Dr. Mark Milke, founder and president of the Aristotle Foundation for Public Policy.

"Every human being is imperfect in history and now — including British colonialists then and all Canadians, including Indigenous Canadians. The reasonable standard to judge past figures is: Did they contribute to expanding freedom and flourishing in their era — or not?"

Milke told Rebel News that MacDonald, in particular, established the North-West Mounted Police to protect Indigenous peoples from later settlers. 

"More generally, the British Empire fought slavery worldwide, including in Indigenous communities in British Columbia in the mid-to late-19th century — long after slavery had been abolished in the rest of the Empire," said Milke.

Saskatoon city officials say they will start changing signs, maps and addresses this fall. But only some appear to be on board.

On July 26, city council heard from homeowners who expressed dissatisfaction with the proposed new name.

Local Darin Daughton said he had just heard about the name change and pressed the city council for not communicating the information better.

"It was done with groups and didn't include the residents on the street," he said, adding: "Many people were upset that costs could be involved."

While Daughton takes no personal offence to the prospective name itself, he acknowledged city council "could've picked something a lot easier [to pronounce]."

When the city initially talked about this two or three years ago, "they came around, and I was asked and said, 'Make it 32nd Street. Short, simple, sweet and doesn't bother anybody.'"

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