Conrad Black: There’s much to celebrate in Sir John A. Macdonald’s legacy
Certainly, there is still much to celebrate in the legacy of Sir John A. Macdonald. That said, it needs to be stressed that the heroes of the month among Canada’s elected officials should be the councilors of Prince Edward County, Ontario, who voted last week to retain the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald on Picton’s Main Street. It is no secret to anyone that there was the usual agitation to remove the statue due to Macdonald’s alleged oppressive behavior towards the natives. Coun. Philip St. Jean led the retention argument, claiming that the statue in such a prominent location fosters education and curiosity about the country’s history.
Now, in reference to this, it is important to mention that one of the participants in the public hearing that determined the issue has two Cree daughters and said that the statue is “a symbol of colonialism, patriarchy and white supremacy. Taking down a statue because we are recognizing the truth of the impact this man and his policies had, and has on Indigenous people, has a feeling of reconciliation to me. But to be clear, it is only a baby step towards true reconciliation; it is a gesture”.
Certainly, recently national morality has been questioned, so much so that it has been said that this sums up the current self-induced national moral weakness being that nativist advocates think that removing an effigy of the nation’s founder and someone who was considered by his peers at the time of Lincoln, Palmerston, Disraeli, Gladstone, and Bismarck as a great statesman is required due to largely unspecified crimes in a political area from his 28 years as head of the Canadian government, and even that would be a mere “gesture”. Likewise, it has been argued that “reconciliation” evidently consists of abject self-humiliation on the part of the 95 percent of Canadians who are not descendants of indigenous peoples, and in fact they have become so weakened that they are expected to submit to this.
This entire debate is illustrative of the dangers of the atomization of society that is incited by many current politicians, including the current federal government.
Likewise, the Prince Edward County intervener’s claim that Macdonald represented “the patriarchy of colonialism and white supremacy” could be said to have been an outrage. Being that Macdonald put an end to the colonial status of Canada and was the benign and democratically elevated patriarch of the country he mainly founded, including all its races and ethnicities. Whites were 98 percent of Canadians at the time, but in the intervening years, Canada has welcomed others with open arms and in great numbers. Natives of Canada have many legitimate complaints that need to be addressed generously and without condescension, but from time to time they may recall the many advances that the settlers brought with them.
Source: Conrad Black | National Post