There has been a lot of racial tension in Kingston this past year especially over the removal of John A. Macdonald's statue since Kingston was his hometown. Unfortunately there is a much darker side to his reign over Canada, and many indigenous people do not see him so much as a "founding father" as he was a racist, murderer and highly negligent of his duties to the indigenous population. Many say that "oh he wasn't perfect but he did a lot for us." For who exactly? For the white man, yes. But to the rest of us he was a terror and deserves little praise and honor. Can we change the past? No. But we do not need to celebrate somebody who has caused harm to so many. Kingston should respect it's indigenous land and history and stop putting this man on a pedestal. As a local Metis woman this is how I feel about the city ignoring indigenous cries to remove the statue. They say don't fight fire with fire, but I think Louis would be happy with this one and thats all that matters to me.
1. During the American Civil War (1861 to 1865), Montreal served as refuge to Confederates ― southern Americans who wanted to keep slavery and secede from the United States union. The Southern slavers found a friend in John A. Macdonald. Macdonald was not shy about his wish for the pro-slavery side to win the Civil War.
2. Sir John A Macdonald was Canada’s first prime minister but also an architect of the Indian Residential School System, which ripped more than 150,000 children from their families where many suffered emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse. He built the nation by displacing people.
3. He set up treaties and broke them, starved thousands of people on reserves, and was the architect for the relationship between Canada and First Nations … and the racism still festers today.
4. Macdonald told the House of Commons that Canada should take away the vote from people of Chinese origin on the grounds that they were a different race than Europeans because their presence in the country is incompatible with the Aryan nation in this country. Macdonald justified taking the vote away from anyone “of Mongolian or Chinese race” in the Electoral Franchise Act ― he called it “my greatest achievement.”
5. John A. Macdonald was way more racist than his contemporaries. For John A. Macdonald, Canada was to be the country that restored a pure Aryan race to its past glory. Lest it be thought that Macdonald was merely expressing the prejudices of the age, it should be noted that his were among the most extreme views of his era. According to Timothy J. Stanley’s research, he was the only politician in the parliamentary debates to refer to Canada as “Aryan” and to justify legalized racism on the basis not of alleged cultural practices but on the grounds that “Chinese” and “Aryans” were separate species.
6. John A. Macdonald’s policies of forced starvation helped clear First Nations from the prairies in order to build the railway, according to James Daschuk of University of Regina. An excerpt from his book, Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation and the Loss of Aboriginal Life:
Naming a school after him, putting his staue in a park, is teaching young people something. It teaches them that racism and his active role in genocide does not matter.
"We're here to say there's no honour in cultural genocide and it's time for the statue to go."
We aren't erasing history, that's impossible, WE'RE MAKING IT.
[Image Id: A graphic illustration with the words 'Louis' Revenge' carved into the wood of a rope hanging gallows, an image of John A. MacDonald hangs with a rope tied around his neck. There is a book in front of him with the text, "When the school is on the reserve, the child lives with his parents who are savages; he is surrounded by savages… He is simply a savage who can read and write." On the adjacent page it reads, “The executions of the Indians ought to convince the Red Man that the White Man governs." There are four scrolls behind him with the titles, "Treasty 6", "Indian Agents", "Residential schools" and "Pacific railway, chinese head tax" There are chains and broken shackles behind him. The background is red with dripping blood.]