The statue of Canada’ first prime minister in Regina’s Victoria Park has been spray-painted for the second time this year. Sometime between August 20 and the morning of August 21, John A. Macdonald’s hands were painted red.
Macdonald statues have become a controversial topic in recent years for his role in the creation of the Indian Residential School System.
Recently, Victoria city council had a statue of Macdonald removed from outside the front entrance of city hall.
Supporters of the removal said that the statue outside a government building sent a disrespectful message to Indigenous residents. Opponents said there was not enough public consultation, and the move amounts to erasing history.
The residential school system saw thousands of Indigenous children taken from their home communities and enrolled in these schools. They received a formal education, but a main goal was to assimilate the children into European society. Survivors of the schools have reported physical abuse if caught speaking in Indigenous languages, and there are stories of sexual abuse.
The final federally operated residential school was closed in 1996.
Back in February, Regina’s MacDonald statue was spray-painted head-to-toe in green and yellow; the colours of the Saskatchewan flag.
Mayor Michael Fougere has previously said he is against removing the statue from Victoria Park, but would like to see a plaque added to give Macdonald’s legacy greater context.
The City of Regina says that crews have been dispatched to clean the paint and it will be removed by the end of Tuesday. According to city records the statue has been vandalized three times in the past five years.
With files from Simon Little