Canada thrived despite the racists

It could be argued, for example, that the statue of William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada’s 10th prime minister, should be banished from its prominent spot on Parliament Hill because he turned back European Jews trying to escape Nazi atrocities, the most infamous being the docking refusal of the refugee-laden ocean liner, the MS St. Louis.

In fact, King was impressed with Hitler. As he wrote in his diary following his meeting with Hitler in Berlin in 1937, “[he] is really one who truly loves his fellow man.”

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I am completely opposed to taking down pictures and statutes of these racists and anti-Semites. Every time I paid my City of Victoria taxes, I walked by the statute of our first PM and thought that, along with King, Canada endured and thrived despite them. People need visual cues to focus their resentment/opposition of these individuals.

When I worked in Ottawa and walked by the statue of King, in its prominent spot on Parliament Hill, it reminded me of Holocaust education. My disdain for him is a motivating force and reminds me that there is much work to be done.

My father died four months ago and was a Holocaust survivor, so I can’t help but focus on the glint off the statute on Parliament Hill. If I am in Ottawa in the near future, I will point out to family: That is the Jew-hater who could have saved Jews.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Avi Ickovich


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