Elementary teachers wants John A. Macdonald’s name removed from schools.

A debate is going on in Ontario over whether public schools should bear the names of Canadian figures associated with this country’s legacy in relation to the treatment of Indigenous communities.

The union representing Ontario’s public elementary school teachers, ETFO wants the name of Canada’s first prime minister, John A. Macdonald to be removed from schools in the province.

Reasoning the motion, the union says it wants the name change because of what it calls Macdonald’s role as the “architect of genocide against Indigenous Peoples.”Felipe Pareja, a French teacher in Peel region just west of Toronto, is behind the motion.

Pareja says he acknowledges Macdonald’s foundational role in the country’s Confederation, but that having public schools bearing his name leaves out his role in the starvation of Indigenous people along the railway to facilitate its construction — along with Macdonald’s “central role as the architect of, really, what was genocide of Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island.”