John A. Macdonald’s mistake

Tearing down statues and decrying historic decisions in no way takes the measure of a great man, or his flaws when it comes to the Indigenous

John A. Macdonald’s mistakeLooking for a bargain statue of Sir John A. Macdonald? Victoria city council has removed just such a statue from City Hall, where it has stood for as long as anyone can remember. The intent is to promote reconciliation with Indigenous people. This is but the latest of a series of attacks on Canadian historical…

Halifax and Vancouver the gateways to a nation

A comparison of east and west portals to the Canadian adventure, then and now

Halifax and Vancouver the gateways to a nationI spent most of a recent week in Halifax. It was my first real exposure to the Maritime’s major portal of immigration to North America. Its 400-year story from Mi’kmaq homeland to contemporary cosmopolitan city in some respects parallels Vancouver’s much shorter role as western portal to Canada (about 160 years). It’s hard to know…

Tearing down statues, losing perspective on history’s heroes

John A. Macdonald and Louis Riel had serious flaws. So did Nellie McClung. But nothing is served by repudiating their good work

Tearing down statues, losing perspective on history’s heroesOne of Canada’s best known historic heroes has taken quite a shellacking lately. John A. Macdonald’s statue was removed from a place of prominence in Victoria by order of its city council, and there have been calls elsewhere for buildings that honour his memory to be renamed. Even the city that once gloried in the…

Canada’s identity forged by struggle that created shared values

Trudeau is wrong – it's not just diversity that makes us strong, it’s how our diverse parts find so much in common

Canada’s identity forged by struggle that created shared values“Be proud of your heritage – be passionate about your country,” was the motto of The Ukrainian Voice, a Winnipeg-based newspaper that recently ceased operations. First published in 1910, it was the leading advocate for Ukrainians in Canada. In this digital age, it couldn’t survive. Read by many in its day, it will be missed.…

Reconciliation and healing require forward perspectives

We must embrace who we are as Canadians, the values that set us apart from the rest of the world

Reconciliation and healing require forward perspectives“Sometimes the medicine we need most comes from remembering who we were so we can reconcile it against who we wish to become,” writes Canadian poet Shane Koyczan. As we study the residential school system and its impact, it’s very important to remember that it wasn’t the fault of 21st century Canadians. It’s a part…

Jean Chretien tried to end Canada’s apartheid system

As a cabinet minister under Pierre Trudeau, his bold plan would have improved the lives of Indigenous Canadians. It was doomed

Jean Chretien tried to end Canada’s apartheid systemFormer prime minister Jean Chrétien, now 84, sounded just like the feisty street fighter he once was during a recent CBC Radio interview. But his tenacity wasn't enough to win one of Canada’s gravest – and enduring – fights. From a very young backbencher, through many cabinet posts, and finally to a prime minister who only…

America’s plan to wage war on Canada in the 1930s

U.S. tactics included troop invasions, use of poison gas and aerial bombings of major Canadian cities 

America’s plan to wage war on Canada in the 1930sThe current U.S. president’s bullying of Canada over trade issues is causing some Canadians to question just how close our relationship is with our neighbour to the south. Peter Bailey tells the tale of a time not so long ago when hawkish voices in the U.S. were plotting the ultimate hostile act – a full-scale…

Getting to the heart of Canada’s Indigenous tragedy

Focusing on the residential school system alone fails to recognize and correct 200 years of bad policy and practice

Getting to the heart of Canada’s Indigenous tragedyThere’s nothing simple about the story of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools. The system underwent considerable change during its 126-year history, with fluctuations in size, focus, and influence. Beginning as a collection of industrial schools and later transformed to the residential school model, the system had its origin in one school established in 1833 as part…

Fundy Trail beckons you to get off the high-speed highway

The view along the Fundy Trail offers something at every compass point – crashing waves, rocks, hills, forests, waterfalls and streams

Fundy Trail beckons you to get off the high-speed highwayThis is the first of a five-part series on travel on Canada's East Coast. On my recent trip to New Brunswick, I finally drove the Fundy Trail and saw Fundy National Park. It inspired me to sell the province a new tourism slogan. The slogan, worth millions, is “Get Off The Road!” I’m also considering…

Lining up for another government payout

Should every Indigenous person who was required to attend day school be compensated?

Lining up for another government payoutCBC reports that a class-action lawsuit against the federal government has been authorized on behalf of Indigenous students who attended day schools in Canada. It seeks damages for every Indigenous student who attended. There are an estimated 100,000 such people alive. The lawsuit could result in a payout of at least the $5 billion that…

Whitewashing history fails to serve the common good

Beware the arrogance of the new age. Attempting to cleanse history is a fool’s or, worse, a tyrant’s errand

Whitewashing history fails to serve the common goodIn the interest of righting a genuine and grave historic wrong – the suffering of our Indigenous peoples – the historical hubris of our present Canadian age is distorting history yet again. Enter the City of Victoria and Sir John A. Macdonald. In removing his statue from in front of Victoria City Hall, the denizens…

The debt all Canadians owe to settlers

It was the settlers, with their hard work and the values they carried, who made Canada the wonderful country it is today

The debt all Canadians owe to settlersThe border between Gaza and Israel is a battle zone. Hamas, the party that governs Gaza, is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. It has tried everything from firing rockets over the border and encouraging Gazans to attempt suicidal border breaches, to sailing burning kites over the border. Hamas refuses to recognize the legitimacy of…

Rewriting our history won’t make it go away

Historical revisionists want to rename buildings, pull down statues and rename paintings. Leave our history alone, warts and all

Rewriting our history won’t make it go awayThe modern fashion of attempting to rewrite history appears to be gaining ground. Hector-Louis Langevin’s name no longer adorns his building in Ottawa, the statue of Edward Cornwallis in Halifax has been toppled. And now, the history rewriters are busily taking dead aim at the most famous Canadian of all – John A. Macdonald. The three…

Let’s get past the need for apologies about the past

If apologies must flow if reconciliation is to be achieved in Canada, native groups should also issue regrets for their bygone evils

Let’s get past the need for apologies about the pastBy Gerry Bowler and Rod Clifton Frontier Centre for Public Policy The string of calls for public apologies continues unabated. How many apologies are enough? Yet again, demands have been made that Pope Francis apologize for the role that the Catholic Church played in the Indian Residential School system. His refusal to do so has…

Where is the wisdom and conciliation from Indigenous leaders?

Creating a greater divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians is not likely to benefit people in the long run

Where is the wisdom and conciliation from Indigenous leaders?In a line at the supermarket checkout, I glanced back at the woman who was placing her purchases on the belt behind my grocery items, and I couldn’t help but wonder what life had done to her to put such an expression of tired crabbiness on her face. That unpleasant expression, mixed with an obvious…
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