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  • News
  • August 29, 2017

Not about them, without them

Naming of Schools in Ontario

Sir John A. Macdonald was a father of Confederation, our first prime minister, and while he contributed greatly to the creation of a stable federal government for Canada, he also had flaws. He is not alone, many figures in Canadian history that helped shape this country did not have a perfect track record. In fact, learning about our past, the good and the bad, and the events and people that helped shape it, are critical lessons for us all.

Recently, there has been media coverage of the motion put forward by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario to consider renaming schools in the province that bear his name. I am sure that the motion was brought forward with the best intentions however, I am hopeful that the motivation behind the motion came forward as a request specifically from Indigenous communities - or in the minimum, that they were broadly consulted.

One of the fundamental guiding principles that has been brought to my attention in my capacity as the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation is that frequently Indigenous groups  are not consulted on issues that impact their community. This needs to change.

Indigenous groups and individuals often use the saying: 'Not about us, without us'.  I couldn't agree more.  

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