When you think of Canada’s 22 prime ministers (excluding Prime Minister Designate Justin Trudeau), what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Is it the word ‘genocide’?
For some Canadians, that’s what those 22 politicians represent, and that’s why Wilfrid Laurier University has decided to reconsider a plan that would have seen statues of our prime ministers erected on campus as part of a public art project.
Dr. Jonathan Finn is the chair of the department of communication studies at Laurier. He started a petition against this decision in the summer, which managed to collect 1,000 signatures.
Why is he against this project?
“It’s disingenuous to make a commitment to indigeneity and recognize that land belonged to First Nations people and then go and erect statues of leaders who took the land away from them, and were responsible for policies of genocide,” Finn told the Globe and Mail HERE.
Metis student Jaydenne Lavallie said “It will create, at the very least, an uncomfortable environment for 99 per cent of students to walk through a place filled with statues of white men and one white woman, people who have perpetuated crimes against First Nations.”
The statues are being privately funded by a Kitchener-Waterloo community group, and was supposed to be set up in a Kitchener park in time for Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, but that idea garnered opposition as well.
Do you think it’s only fair to respect the opinions of a community who disagree with some aspects of the country’s history, and refuse to honour the people who have helped to shape the country?