It is often easier to forget out mistakes than to address them, but the erasure of errors does nothing to rectify them. Due to controversy surrounding Macdonald’s past actions according to our current values, some believe that those who have instigated ethical wrongdoing, such as Macdonald, should no longer be honored as statues, have public schools names after them, and removed from the public sphere.However, others disagree and think that John A. Macdonald should continue to be acknowledged for his achievements. While people believe that John A. MacDonald, like many historical figures, had his shortcomings, his name and likeness should not be removed from the public sphere  because doing so would weaken the public’s ability to understand, recognize, and remember the roots of racism in Canada.

 

MacDonald’s removal from the public sphere would be detrimental to the public’s understanding on Canada’s history. Though MacDonald’s legacy is “not as an honoured father of confederacy, but one of shame, one of hatred and white supremacy, one of genocide”, which is demonstrated by his involvement in his role in implementing residential schools, in which as many as 6,000 children died, and acts such as the Indian Act (which imposed government control over Native people), some still view him as a distinguished Father of Confederation (Symons). The ‘public sphere’ is “a social space in which different opinions are expressed, problems of general concern are discussed, and and collective solutions are developed communicatively” (oxfordbibliographies.com). The removal of his name from public schools would not be the complete removal of MacDonald’s name from the public sphere. If his name was removed from this social space, it would be a disrespectful disregard for those who suffered as a result of his actions because his impacts would not be discussed . The public would be under-educated on how he impacted Canadian history, negatively and positively.

The fight for John A. MacDonald’s name and likeness being removed from the public sphere includes the argument that MacDonald perpetuated European superiority in Canada and built radical measures against minority groups, a prominent one being the Chinese. One example of MacDonald’s European supremacist views was that he proposed to the House of Commons that “Chinamen” should not be able to vote on the grounds that they were “foreigners” and that “The Chinese has no British instincts or British feelings or aspirations” (Stanley). When he did this, he demeaned the validity of the Chinese community. This is precisely the reason that John A. MacDonald’s cannot be removed from the public sphere as these roots of racism and prejudice must be remembered in order to honor the struggle of Chinese-Canadians. “Canadian historiography underplays the significance of racisms in shaping Canada, representing them to be individual moral failings or expressions of the prejudices of the age, all the inevitable result of difference, their devastating consequences largely ignored”, which is why MacDonald’s misdoings must continue to be discussed  (Stanley). MacDonald’s role in shaping racism in Canada should be understood in order for the public to understand why prejudices occurred in Canada and realize the struggles of racism. be more clear in your statements.We must hold those responsible accountable, instead of erasing them. The correct course of action in the case of MacDonald’s statues is not to revoke mistakes of the past, but to sharpen our own vision. His statues and likenesses should be treated as reminders of history for those who suffered and as memorials, not monuments.

 

Critics believe that John A. MacDonald’s name and likeness be removed from the public sphere, whilst their opponents disagree and consider him a hero and founder of Canada. In truth, John A. MacDonald’s name and likeness cannot be removed from the public sphere because his contributions to Canada’s past and the multitude of reasons for inequality today must be recognized and never ignored. Never should perpetrators of past pain be quietly let go; they should be identified for our struggles today.

 

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