John A. Macdonald

sanctus

The Padre
Oct 27, 2006
4,558
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Ontario
www.poetrypoem.com


Canada's First Prime Minister

© Florence Cardinal



John A. Macdonald was Prime Minister of Canada nineteen years making him second only to Mackenzie King as the longest serving Prime Minister of Canada.

JOHN A. MACDONALD - THE EARLY YEARS
John A. Macdonald was born in Glasgow, Scotland, January 10, 1815. In 1820, when he was five years old, he emigrated to Canada with his parents.
A bright young man, he articled with a lawyer when he was 15, and had his own legal practice when he was 19 years of age. He developed an interest in politics, and as the first step toward that career, he became a city alderman in 1843. In 1844 he was elected Conservative representative in the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada.
He was very interested in uniting the provinces and played a leading role in Confederation. In 1867, he saw his dream come true when the British North America Act united the then existing four provinces of Canada. John A. Macdonald became known as the Father of Confederation.
JOHN A. MACDONALD - CANADA'S FIRST PRIME MINISTER
He was elected the first Prime Minister of Canada in 1867 and was knighted by Queen Victoria for his work with Confederation. Now he was Sir John A. Macdonald.
He accomplished many things while in power including:
  • The building of the Transcontinental Railroad
  • The purchase of Rupert's Land and the Northwest Territories form the Hudson's Bay
  • The creation of the Province of Manitoba
  • The addition by Britain of British Columbia to the Confederation
JOHN A. MACDONALD - TROUBLES AND STRIFE
Unfortunately, trouble brewed in the country. Hits of bribed during the building of the railroad led to the Pacific Scandal. John A. Macdonald was forced to resign in 1873.
He tried for reelection in 1874 but was defeated. However, in 1878 he regained power. Unfortunately, his actions during the Northwest Rebellion of 1885 and the hanging of Louis Riel caused a rift between the French, who championed Riel, and the English who saw Riel as a rebel and a traitor and again he lost power.
He was reelected in 1891 for a final term. Weakened by a life riddled with stress and alcoholism, he died three months later while still in power. His 19 years in power placed him second only to Mackenzie King as the longest serving Prime Minister.
 

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WARMINGTON: Has entombed Sir John A. Macdonald already been cancelled in Ontario?
Strange notice on the box covering the statue of Canada's first PM for months raises more questions than answers

Author of the article:Joe Warmington
Publishing date:Mar 06, 2021 • 11 hours ago • 3 minute read • comment bubble34 Comments
The Sir John A. MacDonald statute has been boarded up since being vandalized during a protest at Queen's Park on Aug. 31 of 2020. It now has three plaques on it explaining why it is boarded and what might be done in the future on Friday, March 5, 2021.
The Sir John A. MacDonald statute has been boarded up since being vandalized during a protest at Queen's Park on Aug. 31 of 2020. It now has three plaques on it explaining why it is boarded and what might be done in the future on Friday, March 5, 2021. PHOTO BY JACK BOLAND /Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network
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Has Sir John A. Macdonald been cancelled by the province of Ontario?

Or is about to be?


A new placard displayed on the box containing the statue of Canada’s father of confederation and first prime minister on the south lawn of Queen’s Park is raising not only questions but alarm bells.

Just what is going on here?

Last summer we were told the statue — erected in 1894 to honour the history-making founder — was being protected in construction-like scaffolding while authorities decided how to restore the artifact after it was doused with pink paint by protesters concerned about decisions made in a far different time.


But hidden away from the public for months, a strange notice on the box covering the statue raises more questions than answers:

“The Legislative Assembly of Ontario is a place for debate and deliberation on issues that matter in our province. Though we cannot change the history we have inherited, we can shape the history we wish to leave behind. The speaker of the Legislative Assembly is considering how the depictions of those histories in the monuments and statuary on the Assembly’s grounds can respect all of our diverse cultures and peoples.”

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What does this mean?

We put a request for clarification to the director of the Legislative Assembly and Premier Doug Ford and will report back should they respond.

Are they going to take this statue down? Move it? Add plaques with opposing views?

You would never know Sir John A. Macdonald is memorialized behind this strange wooden tomb. This makeshift sarcophagus certainly makes it look like they are going to restore it back to how it sat for 125 years.

And putting it back to the way it was is exactly what Premier Ford should demand.

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The Sir John A. Macdonald statue remains covered in front of Queen's Park in Toronto, on Tuesday October 20, 2020.
WARMINGTON: Sir John A. Macdonald left alone to be erased
Protesters vandalized a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald at Queens Park on July 18, 2020.
BONOKOSKI: The movement to defend Sir John A. Macdonald's legacy
Prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau at Barracks, on Nov. 11, 1971.
GOLDSTEIN: Cancel culture comes for Pierre Elliott Trudeau

This is especially obvious considering in response to Victoria removing a statue from city hall in 2018, Ford tweeted: “Sir John A. Macdonald played a central role in our national story. As one of the Fathers of Confederation, he founded our nation. That’s why our government wrote to the Mayor of Victoria to say we’d be happy to give Sir John A. a new home here in Ontario.”

His current silence is deafening.

Has he become afraid of the cancel culture bullies tearing down this great province and country by eliminating our great history and leaders who were no more flawed than any of their critics? Or is he just too busy with the pandemic?

The notice talks of debate but there does not seem to be any debate. What happens instead is people duck for cover, afraid of the mob piling on people for the smallest of things that date back to before there was electricity, or cars, let alone social media. Ontario can stand up to this form of censorship by merely taking down those boards, remove the bag from his head and put Macdonald back on display to celebrate the history of this wonderful free country built on the principles he introduced.

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And if he made some mistakes, there’s nothing wrong with addressing them and perhaps offering forgiveness while understanding the context of the day. Macdonald is not around to defend himself, but no one can be judged by 2021 standards on their actions from the 1800s. Cancelling Canada’s first prime minister now is as wrong as those suggesting Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s name be removed from Montreal’s airport.

These men were not supposed to be saints but leaders of their times, doing what they thought would build the country, and in both cases did. Striking their names from history is ironic since freedom and democracy, and a united Canada, are what Macdonald and Trudeau achieved.

They should not be torn down but raised up for all to study.

There would be no Canada if not for Sir John A. Macdonald, and there may not be in the future if people don’t stand up to those trying to erase him from history.

jwarmington@postmedia.com
 

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KINSELLA: Slacktivism isn't enough to undue damage done by Macdonald
Author of the article:Warren Kinsella
Publishing date:Jun 03, 2021 • 11 hours ago • 3 minute read • 23 Comments
Numbered hearts are placed on the steps of the Sir John A. MacDonald statue in Kingston, Ont., on Monday, May 31, 2021. The hearts represent the 215 remains of children that were found on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops last week.
Numbered hearts are placed on the steps of the Sir John A. MacDonald statue in Kingston, Ont., on Monday, May 31, 2021. The hearts represent the 215 remains of children that were found on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops last week. PHOTO BY LARS HAGBERG /THE CANADIAN PRESS
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Slacktivism.

They define that as “the practice of supporting a political or social cause by means such as social media or online petitions, characterized as involving very little effort or commitment.”


Slacktivism happens a lot, in the social media age. People tweet a tweet, or post a link on Facebook, or sign a petition.

Or they offer up thoughts and prayers. Or they fly a flag at half-mast. Or they put some kids’ shoes on their front step.

They do those things, and then they think they’ve done something meaningful. They think they’ve done enough.

And sometimes (perhaps) it is enough. Or (at least) it’s better than nothing. Depends on the subject matter.

But when the subject matter is hundreds of dead babies and children, dumped behind a building like they were trash, I’m sorry: A well-meaning tweet or a “215” graphic on Facebook simply isn’t going to cut it. It’s not enough.

Not even close.

Now, I know what you’re going to say: ‘I’m just a regular citizen. I’m just Joe or Jane Frontporch. I have no power like the politicians, or the media do. What can I do?’

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Well, for starters, you shouldn’t do what the politicians are now doing, which is nothing. Which is the same damn thing they always do: Thoughts and prayers, sturm und drang.

Following the discovery of the remains of 215 children found buried on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., shoes are placed at the front entrance of Queen’s Park in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021.
Following the discovery of the remains of 215 children found buried on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., shoes are placed at the front entrance of Queen’s Park in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. PHOTO BY ERNEST DOROSZUK /Toronto Sun
Press releases no one reads, promises of more Royal Commissions that accomplish nothing, bilingual tweets no one remembers. In either official language.

That’s slacktivism. That’s giving the illusion of doing something that is really nothing. I detest that, personally. I’ll bet you do, too.

I also detest it when people try to fit their narratives into a larger narrative. But hear me out: I actually come to this story with legitimate connections.

One, my daughter. She’s Indigenous. We adopted her when she was one day old. She changed my life.

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Two, Sir John A. Macdonald. He changed Indigenous lives, too.


He was the monster who came up with the residential school system — the system where it became acceptable to drop babies in unmarked graves. After they had been stolen from their parents, and abused, and destroyed.

And, in some cases, killed. Obviously killed. (Why else hide their deaths from the world?)

“Sir” John A. Macdonald was a young lawyer in Prince Edward County, where I live. I literally live in the area’s old general store and post office, and Macdonald used to come here to get his mail.

And he called people like my daughter “savages,” many times. He called for more “Aryan culture” in Canada. And he acted on those words.

So, what can we do, so long after the fact, you ask? Fair question.

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Just this week, the Americans are dealing with a similar act of evil: One hundred years ago this month, a white mob attacked the predominantly black district of Greenwood, in Tulsa, Okla. The mob killed at least 300 African American men, women and children, and they burned 35 square blocks to the ground.

And they did all that, as with Canada’s residential schools, with official sanction. Some had even been made deputies.

MORE ON THIS TOPIC

Thundersky Justin Young, left, and Daryl Laboucan drum and sing healing songs at a makeshift memorial to honour the 215 children whose remains have been discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., on June 2, 2021.
Identifying children's remains at B.C. residential school stalled by lack of records
Children's shoes line the base of the defaced Ryerson University statue of Egerton Ryerson, considered an architect of Canada's residential indigenous school system, in Toronto June 2, 2021.
FATAH: Mourning 215 little lost souls
Flowers and tributes are left at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on May 31, 2021 in Kamloops, B.C., in memory of the 215 children's bodies found on the site.
BONOKOSKI: If there are 215 graves at one school, there will be more

So, what are the Americans doing about that, so long after that fact? Plenty.

There’s a massive lawsuit, for starters, against every level of government. It demands a detailed accounting of what was lost and stolen. It calls for the building of a hospital. It calls for an ongoing fund to compensate victims — survivors and descendants. It calls for a tax break for victims until restitution is paid.

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That’s not a tweet or a Facebook meme: That’s real, meaningful, concrete action. It’s something that you don’t need to be powerful to do — it in fact is specifically designed to empower the powerless.

So I ask you: Someone wants to take your babies and children away from you, never to be seen again. To steal their language, and their culture, and their lives. What would you do?

You’d do a hell of a lot more than some slacktivism. I know that — you know that.

So, let’s do more.

— Warren Kinsella has been a Ministerial Special Representative on Indigenous matters in every region of Canada

twitter.com/kinsellawarren

 

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Charlottetown council votes to remove statue of Sir John A. Macdonald
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Publishing date:May 31, 2021 • 18 hours ago • 2 minute read • 19 Comments
Elder Junior Peter Paul (sitting) points to a Sir John A. MacDonald statue next to 215 pairs of children's shoes placed in remembrance of the bodies discovered at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia, during a ceremony in Charlottetown, P.E.I., Monday, May 31, 2021.
Elder Junior Peter Paul (sitting) points to a Sir John A. MacDonald statue next to 215 pairs of children's shoes placed in remembrance of the bodies discovered at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia, during a ceremony in Charlottetown, P.E.I., Monday, May 31, 2021. PHOTO BY JOHN MORRIS /THE CANADIAN PRESS
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Charlottetown city council has voted to permanently remove a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald from a downtown intersection as a response to recent revelations about Canada’s residential school system.

The decision late Monday followed a vigil earlier in the day where demonstrators placed 215 pairs of shoes next to the statue of Macdonald, whose government introduced the residential school system in 1883.


The shoes were in memory of the 215 children whose remains were recently discovered at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.

Charlottetown council had been planning to improve signage and add an Indigenous figure to the Macdonald statue but decided to remove it entirely as a result of the public outcry over the Kamloops discovery. Mayor Phillip Brown said he has been flooded with emails.

“I’ve received emails like I’ve never received from residents before,” he told the council meeting. “They just said, ‘This has really struck a chord with me. Please do something now.’ ”

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Coun. Greg Rivard, who pushed to have the statue removed, said the city had an opportunity to send a strong message to the province and the rest of the country.

“This is my history of Sir John A. right now: When I walk by that statue, as I did today, it reminds me of 215 children who were found last week,” Rivard said. “That’s what it means to me right now.”

About 80 people attended the Monday morning vigil at the corner of Queen Street and Victoria Road where the statue is located.

“We have laid out 215 pairs of shoes as a visual reminder of those little lives that were lost,” organizer Lynn Bradley told the crowd. “Two hundred and fifteen pairs of shoes, 215 hearts that no longer beat, 215 families that deserve answers, 215 leaders that will never be, 215 stories that will never be told.”

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Someone has splashed red paint on the hands of the statue, and Bradley told the crowd that the red paint represents the blood of innocent children.

The statue has been vandalized numerous times in the past year, and Charlottetown city council had decided recently to add an Indigenous figure on or near the bench where the figure of Macdonald is seated.

Bradley encouraged the crowd to use their voices to speak for the children.

“Let’s not leave here with anger,” she said. “Let’s leave with love and a promise that we will do our best to ensure this kind of horrendous act will never happen to another child in any situation. Nor will it ever be forgotten.”

Charlottetown councillor Alanna Jankov said the decision to remove the statue doesn’t erase history. “We’re not getting rid of history, we’re getting rid of a statue,” she said.

The statue will be placed in storage, and council will have to make a decision later on what to do with it.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 31, 2021.

— By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton.
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