In many places across Canada, statues of our nation’s first Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald, are in jeopardy. Macdonald was the driving force that lead to Canadian independence. However, because some of his actions, such as the creation of the head tax, clash with our modern day beliefs, many people are proposing the removal of his statues and monuments. But, because Macdonald united Canada under a single government and treated the Indigenous Peoples of Canada fairly when compared to the standards of the time, his name and likeness should remain in the public sphere.
Macdonald succeeded in uniting the vast country of Canada under a single government. During his time in office “[Macdonald] […] worked steadily at completing the assembly of almost the whole of what is now Canada” (Gwyn). Macdonald was the main contributor to the government of early Canada. His contributions to the government allowed it to secure control of all land that is now Canadian. Unifying the Canadian lands under a single government allowed them to be colonized and utilized by the colonists. Macdonald’s work on the assembly of Canada allowed the unification of the vast Canadian lands under a single government.
Many critics of MacDonald argue that he considered the Indigenous peoples of Canada inferior to his fellow European settlers. However, his policies towards Indigenous people were fair, especially when compared to the standards of the time. When creating the North-West Mounted police, “[Macdonald] proposed the force be composed of […] Metis and Natives as well as English and French” (Gwyn). The inclusion of Indigenous Canadians in the police force was revolutionary, especially considering that at the time, the American government was at war with the Native Americans. Many of Macdonald’s policies towards Indigenous Canadians were progressive for the time.
Many statues of Macdonald may soon be removed due to his some of his beliefs differing from those of the current time. However, Macdonald unified Canada and treated the Indigenous People of Canada well compared to other leaders of the time. We should continue to recognize Macdonald’s contributions to Canadian society by allowing his name and likeness to remain in the public sphere.