Your letters for Sept. 19, 2020

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While I hope that we will never again face the intensity of the crisis we felt this spring, I do hope that the spirit of collaboration, partnership and engagement that came out of it lives on. On COVID and prompt payment, thank you Government of Saskatchewan.

Mark Cooper, Regina

Cooper is president and CEO of the Saskatchewan Construction Association

Macdonald should not shoulder all blame

The rabid cancel culture types who pull down statues of our country’s founder, Sir John A. Macdonald, love to talk about justice but they forget fundamental principles of justice like presumption of innocence and right to a defence. To them, if you are accused, you are guilty. It’s the mentality of a lynch mob.

They talk about “uncomfortable conversations”, but not if it makes them uncomfortable. What they in fact want are not conversations but mob rule and shouted obscenities. None of this does anything to accomplish the goals of either truth or reconciliation.

They routinely ignore historical facts and any discussion of nuance. While no one disputes that First Nations suffered greatly under the early colonial policies of both Macdonald and Alexander Mackenzie, there are mitigating facts in Macdonald’s defence. He did not invent residential schools; they had been in existence since 1831. Under his government, attendance at the schools was voluntary, not compulsory. In the latter days of his government, he acknowledged the tragedy of early policies to restrict food aid and, before he left office, had nearly tripled the Indian Affairs budget.

There can be no doubt that Canada’s history of residential schools and other racist policies are dark chapters of our past for which our nation must atone. But that is a burden and a blame we share collectively. To simplistically dump this blame on the head of a historical figure who is not here to defend himself is nothing more than scapegoating.

Tom Lukiwski, MP for Moose Jaw-Lake Center-Lanigan


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