Dr. Patrick Deane, Principal
Dr. Mark Green, Provost & Vice-Principal
16 June 2020
Dear Principal Deane and Provost Green,
I am writing on behalf of the Department of Gender Studies to support the petition initiated by Sebastian DeLine to change the name of Sir John A. Macdonald Hall to Patricia Monture Hall. I expect that you are familiar with the details of the petition; I will not repeat them in full here. Certainly, this is not the first time Queen’s memorialization of Sir John A. Macdonald has been challenged.
Gender Studies faculty members, graduate students and staff are united in supporting the name change to honour an Indigenous woman and Queen’s alumna. Patricia Monture has had a profound impact on the administration of justice in this country, as well as upon the fields of Indigenous Studies, Law and Gender Studies, among others.
In this historical moment, as media attention seems to pivot heavily between the anti-Black violence of policing in the United States to police violence against Indigenous people in Canada, it is important that we reckon with the historical and ongoing realities of colonization in which anti-Black and anti-Indigenous violence are intimately, and inextricably, connected in both countries. Sir John A. McDonald’s policies, from the creation of Residential Schools and the North West Mounted Police, to the Electoral Franchise and Chinese Exclusion Acts, wove racial violence into the fabric of the emerging settler state that we call Canada.
Some will object to changing the name of Sir John A. Macdonald Hall citing Queen's long history and traditions. As an institution of higher learning, research and education we have an obligation to examine our history and traditions for racism and injustice, to chart a new course that is more just, and to explain why our new direction is the right thing to do. It may seem a bold and courageous move for Queen’s to rename Sir John A. Macdonald Hall; as a Department we strongly believe that this petition presents an opportunity as well as an obligation for Queen's to show leadership in moving towards a more just future.
Renaming the building that houses the Faculty of Law would be a symbolically important step for Queen’s as we seek to repair relations with Indigenous, Black and racialized peoples.
Elaine M. Power, Ph.D.
On behalf of the Department of Gender Studies