Richard Gwyn is author of the two volume biography of Sir John A. Macdonald: John A: The Man Who Made Us (2007) and Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times (2011).
Here are some of his comments regarding Sir John A. Macdonald’s legacy.
From The Ottawa Citizen, August 23, 2012
“John A. Macdonald was ahead of his time”
By Richard Gwyn,
“Tim Stanley, in his recent Citizen opinion article, is quite right to severely criticize John A. Macdonald for revising the Franchise Act to withdraw the vote from Chinese-Canadians. In my biography of him, Nation-Maker, I did the same.
“But to go on to describe Macdonald as “a racist” is pure, and smug, “presentism,” or the judging of the past by the standards of the present, thereby proclaiming our moral superiority to all Canadians who lived earlier. It’s the equivalent of condemning Macdonald for not having implemented same-sex marriages.
“More to the immediate point, it is grossly inaccurate. On most matters concerning race and ethnicity, Macdonald was far ahead of his times and he would remain ahead for decades to come in many respects.”
“Did Canada really commit ‘cultural genocide’?”
“How Macdonald almost gave women the vote”
“Macdonald: The Man Who Made Us”