Canada column for Sunday, Aug. 27/17
THE CANADIAN REPORT
By Jim Fox
The Canadian government is being urged to review honoring historic figures as a teachers’ group wants the name of Canada’s first prime minister removed from schools.
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario wants new names for schools named after Sir John A. Macdonald over his treatment of Indigenous people.
It’s an opportunity to “seize this opportunity” to acknowledge Canada’s past and engage with native people on correcting historical wrongs, Heritage Minister Melanie Joly’s office said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in June the government would remove the name of Hector-Louis Langevin, a father of Confederation, from the national capital building housing his office.
The decision was made after Indigenous politicians and Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said Langevin was a proponent of the residential school system.
The system took sent native children away to government-sponsored religious schools to assimilate them into Euro-Canadian culture.
New Democrat Romeo Saganash, a residential school “survivor,” said a full discussion is needed into the role of historic figures in the “dark realities of colonialism.”