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MP Bob Zimmer – Weekly Report – On the removal of Sir John A. Macdonald’s statue from Victoria City Hall

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Bob’s Weekly Report

On August 11, the City of Victoria removed its statue of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister, from the steps of city hall. City council claimed they made the decision as a step towards reconciliation, but many, including myself, see it as political correctness gone too far.

Concerns were also raised by some Victoria city councillors about a lack of public consultation before the decision to remove the statue was made.

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I understand that some of the decisions Sir John A. Macdonald made are controversial, especially as it relates to residential schools. However, he also has an important place in our history as one of the founding fathers of Confederation.

We have all made mistakes. What’s important is that we learn from them. To remove this statue is, in my opinion, an attempt to erase or revise history.

As Liberal MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette said in a CBC interview in 2017 about a push to rename schools which were named after Sir John A. Macdonald:

“When we start effacing completely that history, and not recognizing it, then people can forget very readily what occurred. And so for me it’s always important to have that anchor. Everyone has warts. That’s what makes us human beings.”

My concern is where do we draw the line? Which key figure in our history will be next, and for what?

Why not use their complex history as a teaching moment. Look back on their mistakes, acknowledge and learn from them, and then move forward and celebrate what they have done for Canada.

There is no doubt that Sir John A. Macdonald was flawed, but who among us isn’t?  He is also our first Prime Minister and one of the most important figures in our history.

To try to erase his legacy – as complex as it is – does a disservice to all of us.

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