Canada has a proud history worth defending

(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)

By: Candice Malcolm

August 15, 2018

Last week, the city of Victoria, British Columbia made headlines after removing a statue of Canada’s first Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald from a public square.

Leftist members of Victoria’s city council said it was a “reconciliation effort.”

In other words, a small handful of activists act like they hate Canada, and the very fact that Macdonald was the Father of Confederation – founding this great country of ours – upsets those who wish Canada did not exist.

Macdonald is a legend of history; he worked tirelessly to unite the British colonies of North America and create the Dominion of Canada. Not only did he establish Canada as a nation, his desire for freedom and fairness became part of our national character.

Macdonald was not without his flaws, but many of the accusations being thrown at him are frankly absurd. They largely stem from a controversial revisionist academic paper that accused Macdonald of orchestrating a famine in the West – a famine that affected people of all ethnicities and backgrounds.

Prior to the widespread adoption of our free enterprise system, famines and droughts were common features of the time, and it’s dishonest to pin the blame on a man known for his integrity and tolerance.

Under Macdonald’s leadership, and contrary to the Leftist lies about his tenure, Native Americans crossed into Canada to seek refuge from the U.S. military and escape the mass slaughter that was being waged south of the border.

These Native Americans were welcomed by Macdonald.

And while Canada’s experiment with residential schools now casts a dark shadow over our history, at the time, the initiatives received broad public support. Education and integration were the program’s lofty goals, and similar initiatives were taking place all over the Western world.

Unfortunately, many instances also led to abuse, forced abduction and other despicable abuses of civil liberties. Canadians should be aware of these lapses in our past, so we can seek to do better in the future.

Discrediting honourable men and erasing our history will do no such thing.

Ironically, while anti-Canadian activists removed a tribute to our first leader on the West Coast, a group of pro-Pakistani activists, including Liberal MP Iqra Khalid, created a new tribute to a different founding father.

Jinnah Park was inaugurated in Winnipeg earlier this year, paying homage to the founding leader of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

When the British rule ended in 1947, the country was partitioned into two states; Gandhi became the first leader of India, Jinnah became the first leader of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

It wasn’t a clean split, and violent clashes broke out and targeted Muslims caught in India and Hindus in Pakistan.

A bloody war ensued, and by the time a ceasefire was signed in 1949, more than fifteen million people had been displaced and as many as two million people were killed, in one of history’s worst instances of sectarian violence.

Jinnah had a vision for freedom of religion in Pakistan, but the reality was (and remains) quite different.

It leaves us with this uncomfortable question: why are foreign leaders who oversaw war and bloodshed being celebrated in Canada, while our own great and peaceful leaders are targeted and smeared?

Canadians shouldn’t let those who hate our country – or are simply confused by cultural relativism – drive the political agenda.

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