The call to strike references to John A. Macdonald in various places in Canada for his treatment of aboriginal people is similar to the anger over celebrating Confederate Civil War leaders in the U.S. Image contributed

EDITORIAL: Rewriting history simply complicated

John A. Macdonald statue need not come down, but Indigenous leaders deserve equal treatment

As the question looms over what to do with statues bearing the names of leaders with complicated legacies, so too does the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald loom over the City of Victoria, just outside city hall.

Macdonald was Canada’s first prime minister and also served as Victoria’s MP for a short time toward the end of his career. His blinding ambition for politics served to establish Canada at an incredible pace, though his treatment and disregard for our First Nations peoples remains at the heart of the argument.

Do we rename the countless public schools that bear his title?

The answer is as complicated as the actions Macdonald brought forth in establishing what is modern Canada. A recent Angus Reid poll finds more than half of Canadians, 55 per cent, would oppose the removal and only 25 per cent are in favour.

Protesters took to the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia last month in an effort to preserve the statue of Confederate Civil War general Robert E. Lee. It is easy to brush off the racial tensions of the U.S. saying Canada is a different place.

But, it has only been since the election of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2015 that Canada has taken real steps in the direction of reconciling our past, acknowledging the oppressive measures that continue today as a result of horrors like the residential school system.

And even that is still up for debate.

History is important, and as the saying goes, “those who don’t learn it are doomed to repeat it.” As a nation, Canada continues to learn from the dark periods of its past. The survivors of the Japanese internment camps of the 1940s and the Sixties Scoop no longer have to live through those atrocities. But, they certainly haven’t forgotten them.

The question then becomes, whose version of Canadian history deserves the highest honour? Macdonald stands over tourists and residents of our city encased in bronze for all time. Perhaps instead of tearing him or his name down, we should preserve the history of our Indigenous peoples in the same way.

Just Posted

New quartet of Saanich councillors queue up for new role

Nathalie Chambers, Rebecca Mersereau, Ned Taylor and Zac de Vries join four incumbents

Incumbent Saanich councillors look forward to working with fresh faces

Re-elected Coun. Judy Brownoff said voters elected a healthy mix for next four years in Saanich

Rotating Canada Post strikes begin in Victoria

Monday’s mail will be delayed one day due to strike

What to pack in an emergency-preparedness kit for earthquakes

Several earthquakes of Vancouver Island’s West Coast have people wondering how to be ready

Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell says mayor-elect Haynes has been campaigning for four years

Atwell calls time in mayor’s office a “struggle” in saying he was only vote on council

B.C. sailor surprised by humpback whale playing under her boat

Jodi Klahm-Kozicki said the experience was ‘magical’ near Denman Island

Ovechkin has 4 points as Caps rough up Canucks 5-2

WATCH: Defending champs pick up impressive win in Vancouver

B.C. government moves to tighten resource industry regulations

New superintendent will oversee engineers, biologists, foresters

Election watchdog seeks digitally savvy specialists to zero in on threats

Move follows troublesome evidence of online Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election

More court before Dutch man charged in Amanda Todd case is extradited here

Appeals must be dealt with in Europe, before charges faced in B.C.

Crown says man guilty of B.C. girl’s 1978 murder based on alleged confession

Jury hears details of girl’s 1978 murder while Crown says man should be convicted of girl’s murder based on alleged confession.

BCHL alumni has NHL jersey retired by Anaheim Ducks

Paul Kariya played with the Penticton Vees from 1990-1992

Most Read