‘Before you condemn…’

Dear Editor:

Two of the greatest attributes of a democracy are the freedoms of speech and peaceful protest.

A key attribute of anarchy is the flagrant destruction of property, both private and public, for some political end. Both statements now bring us to the defacing and destruction of the statues of Sir John A. Macdonald.

Freedom of speech bears the responsibility of ensuring that slander, racism and bigotry are not equated with the original thought.  Anarchy seemingly has no such restrictions. Need we consider the examples of Nazi Germany in the 1930s, the recent crackdowns of democracy in contemporary China, or the racial violence rampant in our southern neighbour?

I don’t understand why the perpetrators of the destruction of Macdonald’s statue in Ottawa were not arrested on the spot for (at the very least) defacing and destroying public property!

It’s totally accurate to point out flaws in John A.’s decision making, given the perspective of 150 years.  It’s quite another to transfix 21st century values on a completely different 19th century world. Probably in a minority, I believe that he asked the Roman Catholic church, a trusted institution at the time, to educate in order to benefit the Aboriginals and prepare them for life, even then, in an ever-changing world. I am convinced he never intended residential schools to become the diabolical monsters they did.

I don’t believe that he forced poor Chinese immigrants to labour as they did on the construction of the “National Dream”. It was employment, hired not by Macdonald, but by the construction company for the C.P.R. Before you condemn, kindly check your own wardrobe to see if you have supported the sweatshops of Bangladesh, Cambodia or the “pennies of the dollar” factories of mainland China.

Before you buy your “Product of Canada” produce, consider the fact that it was undoubtedly harvested by migrant workers happily coming from Jamaica, Mexico or the other islands of the Caribbean. The COVID crisis of this year highlighted the living quarters of many of these workers, and yet they return year after year to provide a better life for their family back home.

Were it not for the 1860s Civil War, I believe the Americans would have targeted Canadian provinces for expropriation.  They half-heartedly attempted it in 1812, but by the 1860s had the military might to accomplish this.

Were it not for the foresight of Sir John A., Wilfrid Laurier, Charles Tupper and the other fathers of confederation, Canada would never have been. The “Stars and Stripes” would today be floating majestically over Ottawa and all of Canada, “from sea to shining sea.”

Ron Johnson,
Mount Forest