Confronting John A. Macdonald’s racism with ‘acts of anger’

John A Macdonald was a racist in his time. Does that mean his statutes should come down today?
John A Macdonald scupture at Ottawa’s airport. Dennis Gruending photo

Just as the Americans are dealing with what to do with statues of Confederate leaders such as General Robert E. Lee, Canadians have embarked on their own debate about stripping the name of Sir John A. Macdonald from schools and other buildings in Ontario. At its recent annual meeting, the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario passed a motion which described this country’s first prime minister as the “architect of genocide against Indigenous peoples.” Continue reading Confronting John A. Macdonald’s racism with ‘acts of anger’

Slayings in Quebec mosque, words are weapons too

Ottawa demo against Islamophobia on Feb. 4. Photo by Dennis Gruending
Ottawa demo against Islamophobia on Feb. 4. Photo by Dennis Gruending

We are heartsick about the killing of six men and the injury of several others in a Quebec City mosque on Jan 29. Those who were shot and killed as they prayed were Mamadou Tanou Barry, Ibrahima Barry, Khaled Belkacemi, Abdelkrim Hassane and Azzedine Soufiane Aboubaker Thabti. A  27-year-old Laval University student, Andre Bissonnette, has been charged with six counts of murder and others of attempted murder. Continue reading Slayings in Quebec mosque, words are weapons too

At Machzikei Hadas synagogue, a rally against hate

More than 600 gathered for a multi-faith solidarity event in Ottawa to combat racism and xenophobia
Line up at Machzikei Hadas synagogue for multi-faith solidarity event. Photo by Dennis Gruending

On Nov. 19, I was among 600 people crowded into Ottawa’s Machzikei Hadas synagogue for a multi-faith solidarity event. Earlier in the week, someone painted racist and Nazi graffiti on two Ottawa synagogues and a mosque, as well as a United Church whose minister is a person of colour and the residence of a Jewish woman, who teaches in her home. Even in blustery weather, there was a long line outside of the synagogue. But once inside, I felt nothing but warmth. Continue reading At Machzikei Hadas synagogue, a rally against hate