The same cannot be said for the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO). It voted in 2017 to “rename schools and buildings named after Sir John A. Macdonald in recognition of his role as architect of genocide against Indigenous Peoples”. John Baird former federal Conservative cabinet minister, denounced the motion “as one of the most crazy and ridiculous things” he’d ever heard and an attempt to erase Canadian history in the guise of an extreme and radical political process”. To date no school board in Ontario has caved in to this ignoble demand.
The long-lasting residential school program was indeed a blight on our history. The degrading, commonly-accepted solution of European immigrant populations, arriving in what is now Canada, and who cavalierly took over Indigenous lands, eventually decided that the native people had to become “civilized”. Their solution was to forcefully remove their children and raise them in boarding schools far from their families. The goal was to culturally assimilate them to become English or French-speaking citizens no longer able to identify with their native culture. That widely-accepted mentality existed for many decades in Canada and the United Sates throughout the 19th and 20th centuries before, during, and long after Macdonald’s tenure as prime minister. The unfortunate program caused gut-wrenching, life-long devastation to Indigenous children and their families.
But how will zealous activists, seeking redress, by casting the first stone for “sins” of the past, prevent others from condemning the stone throwers for the dark episodes in their past that are truly troubling? How will denigrating Macdonald, and Indigenous people for past actions serve any real purpose?
Offering contrary views of controversial subjects is now almost taboo in Canada, especially if they are in anyway connected to topics that the so-called societal leaders deem to be out of bounds. Dinner table conversations or discussions among friends often have very little in common with the views of these hyped-up groups who want everyone to think as they do. We are being conditioned through guilt or political-correctness, to change our views and think as they do in order to fall into line. It matters not that we may adamantly disagree with them. We risk facing condemnation if we dare to publicly differ
Conrad Black, noted columnist for the National Post, has stated that “Most modern societies have been so self-brow beaten over the past mistreatment of ethnic, gender, religious, or behavioral minorities our society has become atomized into a legion of complainant groups, competing fiercely for official sympathy, and reparations”.
Fear of speaking out has now gripped us like a vice. People who do so, risk severe censure. Those who express their views in letters to newspapers are acutely aware that they are playing with fire for causing offense to those who have taken it upon themselves to tell us what to think. Nervous newspaper editors are ever alert to make certain they filter out opinions that express, too pointedly, politically-incorrect opinions.
Conrad Black has correctly concluded that “The majority of people are tired of the extreme inhibitions of political correctness”.
Those who are so anxious to condemn Sir John A. Macdonald had better be certain that there is not a skeleton in their own closets. Condemning distinguished, long dead, historical figures for their past offensives may return to haunt them. Only those who are without “sin” should dare to do so.