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Learn the lessons of history, don’t ‘cancel’ them, new Tory leader O’Toole says

OTTAWA — New Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says tearing down statues of the country’s founders dooms Canada to forget the lessons of history.

He made the remarks as he addressed his party’s caucus at a meeting in Ottawa today in the federal government’s Sir John A. Macdonald building.

In recent weeks, statues of Canada’s first prime minister have been toppled or defaced as part of protests against systemic racism and Canada’s colonial history.  

O’Toole talked about the incidents, saying that Macdonald’s legacy does deserve scrutiny, contrasting it with that of Louis Riel, the Metis leader Macdonald saw hanged for treason.

O’Toole noted Riel has been called both a hero and a traitor, and the intertwined stories of both men are what happens when Canada is divided.

O’Toole, who won the leadership last month, is pledging the Conservatives will be a unifying force for Canada and present a compassionate, ethical and serious government-in-waiting.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 9, 2020.

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press


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