When the A stands for “Always a good debate” in John A. Macdonald

Megan Kennedy-Spence

Mr. Morris

Social Studies

When the A stands for “Always a good debate” in John A. Macdonald

    What should you do if the first leader of your country discriminated against the people in our country? John A. Macdonald is a complicated person to study.  He may have had a hand in building this country, but he also damaged it. Now the real question is whether we should have reminders of what he has done, bad and good, or if we should eradicate him from the entire public sphere?  This is the debate that spans from coast to coast. Yet, due to Macdonald’s progressive ideas towards women’s rights and the effectiveness of his ability to keep his promises, Macdonald’s name and likeness should continue to be in the public sphere.

The path to equality with women and men has always been a long and difficult task to accomplish, simply obtaining the right to vote for women was a struggle in itself.  Yet, Macdonald started Canada on this trail of women’s equality fairly early by becoming “the first national leader in the world to attempt to extend the vote to women”(GWYN).  In this time period women’s equality was not something that was not often supported, and to have a Prime Minister that “broke social rules by attending a few meetings of the Salvation Army in Kingston, Ontario,” to support a woman who was in charge of that particular branch of the salvation army, was something that was out of it’s time(GWYN).  In a time where people were usually upset with a women running a Salvation army, to have the Prime Minister openly support it was a huge step in the right direction towards equality between women and men. Hence, since Macdonald actions gave more awareness to women equality and women’s rights, his name and likeness should not be removed from the public sphere.


Although many Canadians are all for removing Macdonald from the public sphere. Justifying themselves that the upbringing of Canadian Pacific Railway(CPR) created the platform that made it possible for Canada’s first political scandal, which surrounded Macdonald.   Yet, when looking back on Macdonald’s mistakes, we seem to forget that this “was not the first time a politician fighting for the life of his government and public policy solicited financial support and it will not be the last” (SYMONS). Yes, while this was a political scandal, it also made it possible for Macdonald to fulfill one of his promises to this country, and that was to connect it from sea to sea.  All that Macdonald was doing was keeping his promises to the people of his country, which proved he was a strong and passionate leader.  Considering this, Macdonald’s name deserves to be remembered.

The argument that the “architect of Indigenous genocide,” should leave or the creator of our country should stay will always be a heavily debated one (BALLINGALL).  Nevertheless, the progressive ideas he created for women’s rights and his understanding of how to best run this country, Macdonald and everything that is related to him shouldn’t be removed from the public eye.  Conclusively, not having Macdonald’s viewpoint on how this country was made will just be forcing us to do every historian’s worst nightmare; we would only be listening to a single story about John A. Macdonald, and that never turns out well.


Waite, P.B. “Pacific Scandal.” The Canadian Encyclopedia, www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/pacific-scandal/.

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Pacific Scandal.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 19 Jan. 2018, www.britannica.com/event/Pacific-Scandal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *