Hundreds march in protest of Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway name
Work on 'proposed review' of the name ongoing, NCC says
- UPDATE | NCC CEO Tobi Nussbaum said Oct. 4 the organization plans to provide a recommendation on the parkway name by January.
An orange banner obscured the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway sign in Ottawa on Friday as hundreds marched from the Canadian War Museum to Parkdale Avenue to protest the National Capital Commission's 2012 decision to name the road after Canada's first prime minister.
There have been fresh calls to change the name as the second National Truth and Reconciliation Day, observed Friday, approached.
"We're here because of the actions and decisions made by John A. Macdonald, who committed genocide in this country," said Albert Dumont, an Algonquin elder from Kitigan Zibi Anishinābe First Nation.
"He actually wanted to erase people from these lands."
Dumont organized the protest in an effort to accelerate the renaming process. Last year, three Ottawa city councillors published a letter calling on the federal government to select a new name for the roadway just west of the city's downtown.
"We're going to walk, and every step we're going to take is going to part of ... a ceremony to acknowledge the suffering and the deaths of the past," Dumont said.
In a statement emailed to CBC earlier this month, the NCC said work on "a proposed review of the name of the SJAM Parkway is ongoing."
Kitigan Zibi member Claude Latour, who attended the protest on Friday, said a name change is overdue.
"Here in Canada, we shouldn't be naming highways after those who participated [in] and well knew the outcomes of these basically prison camps that we call residential schools," Latour said.
The march was one of several events in Ottawa marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, including a gathering on Parliament Hill to honour Indigenous families impacted by residential schools and another ceremony at Beechwood Cemetery.