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The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario has voted to urge school boards to remove John A. Macdonald’s name from public schools. (CP/National Archive of Canada) Premier Kathleen Wynne has weighed in on a controversial proposal by the Ontario elementary teachers union to rename public schools bearing the name of Canada’s first prime minister, saying it has "missed the mark."

The remarks come one day after the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario made headlines with a proposal to strip public schools of Sir John A. Macdonald’s name.

The proposal drew the praise of some who agreed that naming schools after Macdonald was tantamount to celebrating his controversial legacy, and was denounced by others — including former foreign minister John Baird — as "political correctness on steroids."

In her statement Thursday, Wynne acknowledged the union is "coming from a good place," but said she disagreed Macdonald’s name should be removed from schools in the province.

"Sir John A. MacDonald was far from perfect," said the premier. "Certainly his decision to open residential schools was among the most problematic in our history."

But, she added, he remains an important part of history.

"We need to teach our children the full history of this country — including colonialism, our Indigenous peoples and their history and about what our founders did to create Canada and make it the country it is today … We need to understand our history, the good along with the bad."

More to come

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