Scott Thompson: Blaming John A. for residential schools is easier than accepting that’s how we were

Click to play video: 'Belleville man requests Victoria Mayor for Sir John A. Macdonald’s statue' Belleville man requests Victoria Mayor for Sir John A. Macdonald’s statue
Tom Empey asked her if Belleville could have Sir John A. Macdonald's statue that was taken down in Victoria last Saturday – Aug 14, 2018

The City of Victoria removed its statue of Canada’s first prime minister, John A. Macdonald, because above all of his accomplishments, he was the architect of residential schools.

Victoria has yet to decide what to do with the statue, but has turned down an offer from Ontario Premiere Doug Ford to take it off their hands.

READ MORE: City of Victoria removes John A. Macdonald statue

​Anti John A. activists make it sound as if Macdonald, who started the residential system along with the aid of the Catholic and Anglican churches, was a dictator and acted alone in such decisions.

Quite the opposite. He was the Dominion of Canada’s first democratically elected PM, which would suggest Canadians of the day felt the same way he did, or at least thought they were helping the cause.

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READ MORE: ‘Statues are not history’: considering the removal of Sir John A. Macdonald

Do we banish our ancestors, too, and those who have kept quiet for over 100 years?

Perhaps it’s easier to blame “one” man than it is to accept this was the way “all” of us were back then.

READ MORE: Plaque that replaced John A. Macdonald statue outside Victoria City Hall already vandalized

Now, thankfully, times are different, and it has nothing to do with statues. It’s called progress.

I would suggest there is more to learn from a statue we see every day, than one in a museum visited by a few who may already know the history.

Statues commemorate the past (warts and all). We should learn from them and encourage discussion, not remove them for fear of the present political correctness of the day.

Scott Thompson is the host of The Scott Thompson Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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