Roundup: Let’s not efface Langevin

A group of Indigenous MPs, along with the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, are calling on the government to rename the Langevin Block – the building that houses the PMO – because it is named after one of the architects of residential schools. And while I understand and respect their feelings on the matter, I would like to add that I think this would be a mistake. Why? Because the average Canadian doesn’t know who Hector-Louis Langevin was, and what his role in residential schools was (let alone that he was a Father of Confederation), so to further efface his name is actually a disservice to the spirit of reconciliation, which they say that this is a part of. What I would suggest instead are additions to the plaque explaining the building and the name, and for signage inside the building, to remind the denizens about the consequences of actions that may be have been well-intentioned at the time. And we have no reason to think that Langevin himself was especially malevolent, but was merely a product of his time. There was all manner of racist policies by the government because that was how they understood the world to be. It’s also a question of who’s next after Langevin? Sir John A Macdonald? I think that we would all be better off to confront Langevin’s legacy and to spell it out to people that what a party does in government can echo for generations and be completely devastating. It would be a reminder for all time that deeds and misdeeds have consequences. And the PMO being confronted with that on a daily basis would seem to me to do more for reconciliation than simply effacing the name and giving it something trite like the “Reconciliation Building” (as Calgary renamed their Langevin Bridge). Let’s teach history – not bury it, which removing the name would be.

M-103 and Islamophobia:

  • The Conservatives insist they won’t support M-103 because it doesn’t define Islamophobia – yet they passed a resolution in the Commons on it in October.
  • Some Conservatives, like Marilyn Gladu, spent yesterday making nonsense arguments about why they can’t say “Islamophobia.”
  • MP Iraq Khalid reads out some of the hate messages sent to her office.
  • Here’s a look at the anti-M-103 rally that The Rebel helped organize.
  • In Quebec, the PQ are starting to wake up to their role in promoting Islamophobia, while philosopher Charles Taylor now regrets promoting secular dress codes.
  • Terry Glavin pens a fiery piece about the Conservatives having reached an “event horizon of indency,” and counsels them to start cleaning house of their fringe elements.

Good reads:

  • In Strasbourg, Justin Trudeau said it was necessary to get CETA “right” or it could be the last multilateral trade deal we’ll ever see.
  • From Brussels, Harjit Sajjan says that we can expect significant new investment in the military (but won’t comment on Trump’s NATO remarks).
  • The heads of major newsrooms in this country are urging parliament to pass a bill on protection of journalists’ sources.
  • The government is once again funding Planned Parenthood, saying denying women abortions is akin to violence (as it’s coerced reproduction).
  • TransCanada has re-filed its Keystone XL application in the States.
  • Rideau Cottage is getting some $2 million in security upgrades.
  • Maclean’s has a profile of new immigration minister Ahmed Hussen.
  • Here’s an interview with Michael Chong, who continues to insist that a carbon tax is the right thing to do.
  • Brad Trost says his own caucus won’t support his CBC privatization bill, but he’ll martyr himself by going ahead with it. (No official word from the leader’s office).
  • Robert Hiltz looks at Peter Julian’s entry into the NDP leadership race, and finds him to offer no direction to a party headed for an existential paradox.

Odds and ends:

A former PHAC executive was cited by the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner for abusive behaviour…but is still in the public service, unnamed and at large.

Bombardier says they’ll repay that federal loan over 15 years.

One thought on “Roundup: Let’s not efface Langevin

  1. “Let’s teach history – not bury it, which removing the name would be.” Hear, hear.

    Proposals to rewrite or efface history are, in my view, silly… just like putting a fig leaf on Michaelangelo’s David, or altering Champlain’s statue at Major Hill’s Park because he is shown holding the astrolabe incorrectly.

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