Thank you very much.
You made a number of recommendations. Some of them have been dealt with, and I appreciate those. There is one that I have to say I take issue with, and I'm going to explain why. I'm saying it not as a criticism of you; I'm saying it as a way of putting the issue before the members before this committee.
Your recommendation number 4 on page 18 proposes to:
Mandate the removal of symbols that celebrate violence, genocide, and colonialism. This recommendation may include changing the names of educational institutions (e.g. schools named in memory of Sir John A. Mcdonald) and streets (e.g. Colonization Road), as well as restoring Indigenous names for cities and regions.
I think on the whole there's lots of merit to that, but I just want to stop and pull Sir John A.'s name out of that.
He, of course, was our first prime minister. If we take the approach that Sir John A. Macdonald is someone who is unfit to be celebrated and that anything named after him should have its name changed, then we also, I think, have to—and this would be presumably over his record vis-à-vis aboriginal relations—take away anything named after Sir Wilfrid Laurier, our second major prime minister, who took away the vote from aboriginal people after Sir John A. had given it to them. We'd have to rename anything named after Sir Robert Borden, our third long-serving prime minister, who after all, during World War I, locked up Ukrainian civilians; Mackenzie King, our longest-serving prime minister, who locked up Japanese-Canadians during World War II; and Louis St. Laurent, who served in the forties and fifties and who kept aboriginals from voting until John Diefenbaker finally gave them that right in 1960. As well, presumably Mr. Diefenbaker and Mr. Pearson, who were our prime ministers in the sixties, are morally responsible for the sixties scoop of young aboriginal people from their parents.
The point I'm making here is that I think we need some kind of perspective when we're doing these things that distinguishes between these acts—which are not excusable—and the people who did them, who were simply not monsters and who were not unfit to be honoured in other aspects. I just wanted to get that on the record. You provided me with the opportunity. This issue has come up before.
That said, there may well be merit to doing other things, such as reviewing some of the other names that are problematic.
I don't know if I used up my time.