Angela Kokott: John A. Macdonald controversy encourages research into Canada’s past

FILE: Sir John A. Macdonald High School is pictured in this file photo. Alexa MacLean/Global News

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario wants any school in that province bearing the name Sir John A. Macdonald to undergo a name change. In its resolution the federation says Macdonald was the “architect of genocide against Indigenous people” and shouldn’t be honoured. Yes, the same John A. Macdonald who brought this country together. The father of Confederation.

READ MORE: Teachers’ union pushing to strip Sir John A. Macdonald’s name from Ontario schools

However, Sir John A. was more than that and a quick Google of his name will uncover his role in the residential school system, one of the darkest chapters in Canada’s history. It will also uncover some shady business dealings while the transcontinental railway was being built. While you’re ‘Googling’ Sir John A., throw in Wilfred Laurier, James McGill, John Diefenbaker. None is without their shortcomings.

READ MORE: Alberta Teachers’ Association won’t follow Ontario’s lead in calling for renaming of schools

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And for this I want to say thank you to the elementary teachers in Ontario. Since their ludicrous resolution I have read more about our past leaders. I have learned more about them than I ever did in a classroom.

I have taken more phone calls and comments from listeners who are standing by our nation builders, warts and all.

WATCH BELOW: ‘No plans’ to remove Sir John A. Macdonald from schools: Trudeau

Click to play video: '‘No plans’ to remove Sir John A. Macdonald from schools: Trudeau' ‘No plans’ to remove Sir John A. Macdonald from schools: Trudeau
‘No plans’ to remove Sir John A. Macdonald from schools: Trudeau – Aug 28, 2017

READ MORE: Take John A. Macdonald’s name off schools, said no majority of Canadians, anywhere: poll

We have to look at the sum of the parts of our leaders and short of being convicted of an atrocity we have to accept that they made their decision based on the times they were living in.

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Thank you Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario. You’ve done for Canadians what you should be doing for your students, teaching them our history and ensuring they learn from it.


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