Politics Briefing: Little appetite to rename John A. Macdonald properties, poll suggests

Good morning,

Earlier this summer, the Prime Minister renamed a building and opened up a can of worms. The Langevin Block, the building across the street from Parliament Hill that contains the offices of the Prime Minister and the Privy Council, was renamed to, well, the Office Of The Prime Minister And Privy Council. Hector-Louis Langevin, for whom the building was named, was an architect of the horrific residential school system and Justin Trudeau said he made the change as a symbol of reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous communities.

A new poll from the Angus Reid Institute suggests Canadians are supportive of the change. But what they do not support is the far more contentious topic of stripping symbols of John A. Macdonald from public spaces. That debate began because the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario said Macdonald’s name should be taken from schools because of his attitudes towards Indigenous people, something Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says will not happen. Robert-Falcon Oullette, a Liberal MP who is Indigenous, acknowledged our first prime minister wasn’t perfect and put it this way: “Everyone has warts. That’s what makes us human beings.”

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay in Ottawa and Eleanor Davidson in Toronto. If you’re reading this on the web or someone forwarded this email newsletter to you, you can sign up for Politics Briefing and all Globe newsletters here. Let us know what you think.

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