Holyrood review support of Canada’s Scottish founding father over indigenous controversy

A statue of Sir John A Macdonald, the Glasgow-born first prime minister of Canada, was taken down in Victoria this week given controversy over his treatment of indigenous people. PIC: Pixabay.
A statue of Sir John A Macdonald, the Glasgow-born first prime minister of Canada, was taken down in Victoria this week given controversy over his treatment of indigenous people. PIC: Pixabay.
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Funding for a celebration of the Glasgow-born father of the Canadian nation could be withdrawn by the Scottish Government amid ongoing controversies over his treatment of indigenous people.

John A Macdonald is credited with establishing the state of Canada 151 years ago and was the country’s first Prime Minister.

But anger over his Indian Act, which led to 100,000 indigenous children being removed from their parents and put in residential schools to assimilate them into colonial society, has recently intensified.

READ MORE: Why does Canada want to remove symbols of its Scottish settler past

This week, the city of Victoria became the first city in Canada to remove a statue of Macdonald amid campaign claims he was ‘a leader of violence against Indigenous peoples’.

The Scottish Government has now being drawn into the controversy surrounding Macdonald’s legacy.

READ MORE: The 15,000 Scots children shipped to Canada

Since 2015, it has funded the Sir John A’s Great Canadian Skate that celebrates both the former Prime Minister’s birthday and Scots-Canadian heritage in seven cities.

Today, it said it was considering future funding of the event.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We acknowledge the controversy around Sir John A Macdonald’s legacy and the legitimate concerns expressed by indigenous communities on the commemoration of his lfe.

“The views of these communities must be respected, and we will continue discussions with Kilt Skate organisers and indigenous representatives on the branding and purpose of the event before taking a decision in respect of future funding.”

The Scottish Government is due to confirm how much financial support it has given the event later today.

Don Cummer, an author who funded the Kilt Skate, told The Times newspaper: “He is one of the great contributors to Canadian history, but he did not hold the opinions that are held to be politically correct now.

“If we start erasing our history we are going to be setting ourselves on a course where we don’t know where we are coming from, so we will have very little idea of where we are going.”

Macdonald’s image has already been replaced on the $10 Canadian bank note.