Adrienne Clarkson says our days of "pathetic colonial bootlicking" are over.
On Tuesday afternoon, Mayor John Tory's Executive Committee voted unanimously to rename Dundas Street and all other civic assets with the same name, including Dundas Square.
The decision will be reviewed at the next City Council meeting on July 14 for final approval. Then, the City will consult a committee of "Black and Indigenous leaders and representatives from the diverse communities represented along Dundas Street" for input on new names, which will be submitted in a report in 2022.
"It means a lot to me, I can tell you, as a former governor-general that we have a parliamentary peaceful system and that we have an inclusive society and we are past the days of pathetic colonial bootlicking," said Adrienne Clarkson during the virtual meeting. "He doesn't deserve to be honoured by anything in Toronto or in Ontario, which is a home to the world in its diversity."
"The name of Dundas has no relevance to Canada [...] he has no connection to Toronto," she said, an observation that mayor John Tory made in a recent statement.
Henry Dundas was a Scottish politician involved in delaying the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, which impacted more than half a million Black people who were enslaved by the British Empire.
"No amount of money can expunge the sin of slavery. No amount of money can right that terrible wrong. But we can do this very real thing and remove the name of Dundas from our collective memory and show that Black lives do matter. That we care, as people are able to learn from our history," said Clarkson.
According to the City's agenda, the estimated cost to rename Dundas and its assets is between $5,100,000 and $6,300,000, with $300,000 going towards Dundas Square alone.