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We can do better!

by Lenny Epstein,
I was on our municipal council when we voted to accept the gift of the Sir John A statue and place it on Main St. Growing up in Canada, even in the 80s and 90s, we were taught to lionize our Country’s first prime minister. His policies led to confederation and the establishment of nascent country. It is sadly a narrative that didn’t tell the real story which is that in order to build this nation, Sir John A Macdonald and his peers undertook a genocide we still haven’t reckoned with and created racist policies to create the Aryan nation that Sir John A openly called for. As the layers are peeled back and we open our eyes to the truth we have before us, we have an opportunity to do right. Having listened and learned, I know now that this public statue affects those who are forced to face an image of the of the leader who caused deep harm to their Family, culture, and place in our society. Harms that are still ongoing to this day. Accepting this “gift” of a statue was a mistake which, I did not fully comprehend when I voted to accept it. We can do better. I believe that we must move the statue to a location where people must “opt in” to see it to avoid placing our indigenous sisters, brothers, neighbours and friends in a position where they must face the “Indian Killer” on a daily basis in the public square. Wherever that is, it must be contextualized to explain that the image of our nation’s founding father has not told the true story. Let’s create public art in our town that celebrates the best of community. Again, we can do better!
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