A Canadian teachers’ union passed an August resolution urging Ontario schools to remove the name of the first prime minister of the country.
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) wants the province’s schools to strike Sir John A. Macdonald from its names, according to CBC News. While Macdonald connected the western and eastern sections of the country via a transcontinental railway, he has received criticism for the starvation of Canada’s indigenous population during the system’s construction.
Macdonald had a “central role as the architect of, really, what was genocide of Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island,” said Felipe Pareja, a teacher that supported the motion.
“When you name a school after someone, there’s an honor that’s bestowed,” David Mastin, ETFO’s Durham president, told CBC News. “If there was a full opportunity to have alongside the name of Sir John A. Macdonald a little asterisk that said, ‘Oh yes, he did so and so…’ But that doesn’t happen.”
Another supporter of the motion argued that individuals such as Macdonald would fit in less noticeable places like books and museums.
“I like to see school teachers and educators following this kind of move to being inclusive with their students and be proud to be Canadian in a way that’s not honoring people that destroyed other races,” said activist Tori Cress. “There is a place for these people — maybe not in monuments or statues and school place names, but the history books, museums.”
However, professors pushed back against the motion for its catering to mob rule by those who wish to erase Western culture and consolidate power.
“By the standards of historical villainy, John A Macdonald, our first prime minister, is a pretty minor player so if it’s permissible to go after the founder of the Canadian confederation then the question immediately arises: who is it not possible to go after and also, of course, who gets to make the decisions?” said Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, a University of Toronto professor, speaking with The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“It’s essentially mob [rule] and it doesn’t matter where a mob starts because generally where a mob ends is not good and we have no idea how to draw a line between acceptable historical revisionism, which I would say has to occur as a result of public debate and democratic process, and the untethered alteration of the historical record and the cultural record by whomever has a grievance.”
“Litigating history by these enemies of reason is part of a grand push to erase the exceptionalism of Western culture,” Dr. Gad Saad, a Concordia University professor, told TheDCNF. “Of course, many historical figures engaged in practices and held beliefs that were reprehensible (e.g., slavery). However, this latest faux-rage is not in the least bit about so-called justice and everything to do with seizing power and reshaping the collective narrative.”
Some politicians also criticized the motion.
“It’s one the most crazy and ridiculous things I’ve ever heard — just simply trying to erase Canadian history in the guise of an extreme and radical political correctness,” John Baird, Canada’s former foreign affairs minister, told CBC News. “I can’t believe the average teacher in Ontario would support this ridiculous idea.”
Durham’s Conservative MP Erin O’Toole called the motion “embarrassing.”
TheDCNF reached out to the ETFO, but received no comment in time for publication.
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