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

B.C. Lions hype-man marks 15 years of cheers

Crazy P cheers, chants, bangs his drum and spreads a message of love

Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation looks to grow funding for memory garden

Foundation will start new campaign next month as it wraps up recruitment campaign

Survey says 27% of Victoria employers look to hire this quarter

Another 13 % of employers anticipate cutbacks

UPDATED: Heavy police presence in Victoria had part of Bay Street blocked off

Bay Street east of Quadra Street was blocked off on Saturday

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Most Read