Petition calls for Sir John A. Macdonald parkway to be renamed

The NCC is closing the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway on weekends in May (Photo courtesy: Twitter: NCC_CCN)

The National Capital Commission and the city of Ottawa are being urged to remove the name of Sir John A. Macdonald from the parkway and other sites in the capital that bears his name.

Two members of the Algonquin nation, Albert Dumont and Monique Manatch, along with Ottawa residents Roxanne Buckle and Brenda Mason have launched a petition demanding the immediate removal of Macdonald's name from the parkway.

The call to rename the parkway follows the discovery of a mass grave of 215 children at the site of a former residential school in British Columbia.

"That the name of John A. Macdonald, the first Canadian prime minister who so blatantly orchestrated crimes against humanity, is still honoured on unceded Algonquin territory is an insult to the many Algonquin survivors of the residential schools he played a fundamental role in creating," said the petition.

"We stand in wholehearted solidarity with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, devastated by the confirmation of the remains of 215 children buried at the site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School, and the residential school survivors of the Algonquin nation."

The petition calls on the NCC and the city of Ottawa to immediately remove Macdonald's name from the parkway, and consult with the 11 communities of the Algonquin nation on a new, Algonquin language name for the parkway.

The NCC and the city are urged to conduct a thorough review of the place names in the city, including public buildings and streets, to remove the names that honour the architects of the Indian Act and the Indian residential school system.

The former Conservative government announced in 2012 that the Ottawa River Parkway would be renamed the Sir John A Macdonald Parkway, to honour Canada's first prime minister.

On Wednesday, councillors Catherine McKenney, Jeff Leiper and Theresa Kavanagh released a public letter urging the prime minister to work with Indigenous communities to rename the parkway.

Other sites in Ottawa named after Sir John A. Macdonald include the Ottawa International Airport, the Macdonald-Cartier interprovincial bridge, the Sir John A. Macdonald building on Wellington Street and the Macdonald Gardens Park.