Plaque that replaced statue of John A. Macdonald vandalized

Marco Green
August 16, 2018

Picasso was interested to hear about Macdonald's key role in the birth of Canada and its democratic system and his role in the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway, but Picasso was shocked to learn of our first prime minister's role in the establishment of residential schools and the poor treatment of Indigenous people: "I didn't know about that, oh my goodness".

Following the removal, Ontario MPP Sylvia Jones said the Ford government wrote to Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps about relocating the statue to Ontario.

Close to 150 people - both for and against the move - gathered at city hall on Saturday when the statue was coming down, Helps said.

The statue is being kept in storage until the city finds an appropriate way to "recontextualize" it, says Helps.

Jones went on to say that Macdonald's record "is a cause for much discussion" and encouraged Ontarians to visit statues to learn more about Canadian history. "It was a gift to the city", she said in her text to The Canadian Press. "We will have a continued dialogue with the nations and the community as to the best place, way and context to place the statue that balances commemoration with reconciliation".

"If we had done engagement with the larger community, the question would have been, 'Do we keep the statue or do we remove the statue?' and that's not the question we need to ask as a community".

Ghamari responded by saying "1867 was a different time and we should not judge our founding fathers exclusively on the knowledge we possess today".

Helps has been criticized for fast-tracking the statue's removal just two days after council vote on Thursday, but she dismissed complaints about a lack of consultation.

"I guess it was to be expected", she said.

The Ontario Conservatives announced Monday that they would be willing to relocate the Macdonald statue rather than have it placed in storage.

"There are some people, certainly from the emails I'm getting, who don't believe in reconciliation and those kinds of things and I don't think we're ever going to be able to satisfy those concerns, but there are people who do who had difficulty with this process and I think that's a sign of how we failed", she said.

"I would say that I would feel upset too, and this whole process of reconciliation is very upsetting, it's very unsettling, it's very hard".

Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer described turfing the statue as an attempt to "erase history" and said Macdonald's "mistakes" could be acknowledged even with the statue remaining in place.

Other councillors who voted for the statue's removal agreed on this point, explaining they learned about the removal plan only when it appeared on a committee-of-the-whole agenda on Tuesday or on the mayor's blog on Wednesday.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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