‘It symbolizes the worst elements of colonialism’: Debate surrounding John A. Macdonald statue heats up
Published Thursday, August 9, 2018 6:52PM CST
The discussion surrounding the John A. Macdonald statue in Regina has heated up, after the city of Victoria announced this morning that it would be removing a statue of the first Prime Minister of Canada from in front of its city hall.
“In order to really commit to reconciliation, we need to remove the statue of John A. Macdonald from the front steps of city hall,” said Lisa Helps, the Mayor of Victoria.
Back in Regina, the statue in Victoria Park has been a contentious subject over the last few years. Colonialism No More circulated a petition last August asking the city to remove the statue. It has also been vandalized multiple times, as recently as February.
Del Crowe has been vocal in the community about getting rid of the statue in Regina.
“It symbolizes the worst elements of colonialism,” said Crowe. “They go back to the old argument. ‘That’s erasing history,’ it’s not about erasing history, it’s just choosing not to honour people like him.”
Victoria is following suit of a couple of other Canadian cities that have removed monuments honouring other controversial Canadian figures.
In January, Halifax removed a monument of its founder, Edward Cornwallis, who once offered a cash bounty to anyone who scalped and killed Mi’kmaw people. And last year, Ottawa changed the name of the building that houses the Prime Minister Office, which was named after Hector Louis Langevin another architect of the residential school system.
Crowe is glad that more attention is being given to some of the darker parts of Canadian history.
“It is more progress because people are finding out more about what happened in the past. It’s not being suppressed anymore,” said Crowe.
“The City of Regina respects Indigenous perspectives of Confederation. Public art often leads to public debate. Removal of statues from public parks require extensive community consultation. The statue is a part of the landscape in Victoria Park, a heritage district that would require special consideration,” the City of Regina said in a statement.