LETTER: Canadians are benefactors of Macdonald’s brilliance and vision says reader

In early September professional “activists’ descended on Ryerson University and desecrated with paint the statue of Egerton Ryerson, the revered founder of Ontario’s educational system. Ryerson was deemed to have supported colonialism.

While this action was unfolding, others ran to Queen’s Park where the statues of King Edward VII and Sir John A. Macdonald were  covered with paint. At the same time in the U.S., crowds attempted to take down the statue of Abraham Lincoln which illustrated the thanks of former slaves for being freed.

These  are the actions of the mob.

In fact the continual painting of the statue of John A. MacDonald “Holding  Court” has all the hallmarks of the decadent  mob; deeds done in darkness with ramifications for taxpayers. Sir John A. Macdonald is accused, among other things and as reported by the National Post, of “forcing indigenous children to go to residential schools and letting Aboriginal people on the Prairies starve when buffalo disappeared.”

According to Professor Bruce Pardy of Queen’s University Law School,  the historical record  says otherwise. ”Residential Schools already existed before Macdonald came to power, and they did not become compulsory until the 1920’s, 30 years after  his death. When the famine struck MacDonald sent aid to save indigenous  lives and was condemned in the House of Commons for providing too much! Looking after people was not something  that government commonly did until  the welfare state  occurred in the mid 20th century.”

According to Professor  Pardy,  Macdonald  was enlightened for his time but that will make no difference as to how he’s currently viewed. The test for tearing down statues and cancelling historical figures has become whether their values and behavior conform to modern liberal and progressive sensibilities.

We need to be appreciative of the positive features of Macdonald. With a coalition of other leaders in Upper and Lower Canada, Macdonald, utilizing  his brilliant leadership gifts, forged a new nation which became known as The Dominion of Canada and by the end of the 19th century, extended from sea to sea.

We are the benefactors of Macdonald’s brilliance and vision; and  his statues must remain; including  in Picton. Macdonald was a gifted parliamentarian and was renown for his speeches in the House Of Commons. Sir John A. had a weakness for alcohol  and was a heavy drinker. It has been said  that he gave his best speeches when he was intoxicated!

Many MPs and Senators while in Ottawa attended the large Dominion Methodist Church on Queen St. Being a Methodist Church, it held special services each fall/winter, also known a revival services. During winter 1878 two famous ministers by invitation arrived in Ottawa to conduct revival services at Dominion Methodist– John Hunter a brilliant speaker and preacher along with the gifted song leader Hugh Crossley. On the final night of the six week revival, it was requested that Crossley and Hunter remain for one more week. Sir John A. who was so impressed with the services asked if he could second the motion.

That same evening under the convicting power of the gospel, as a newspaper reported, “When in answer to an appeal by Mr. Hunter,  that all who wished to become Christians and desired the prayers of the audience, would stand up, the Premier of the Dominion  arose  with his wife.” According to one journalist “When the well known form of the Honourable Premier (Prime Minister) arose in the centre of the church, many strong men bowed their heads and wept for joy.

Sir John A. was deeply affected.

After dining at the Prime Minister’s home several days later Mr. Hunter confirmed that ”Sir John is a changed man!” The message that drew the Prime Minister appealed to Canadians from all walks of life. Listeners were encouraged to commit their lives to Christ, and to help make Canada a land that could truly be called God’s Dominion.

Robert C. Wilson