Saturday’s toppling and defacing of a statue of Canada’s first prime minister continues to have people talking.
It happened in Montreal where police confirm that the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald was unbolted, pulled down and sprayed with graffiti, its head disconnected from its body in the process.
There is also a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald in Kingston’s City Park at the corner of King Street East and West street. The bronze statue was erected in 1895. The town of Picton also has a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald called “Holding Court”, which was unveiled in 2015.
Now, both of municipalities are considering the legacy of Canada’s first prime minister. Through the Black Lives Matter movement, protesters point to Macdonald’s poor treatment of Indigenous people and Chinese Canadians in building the nation.
Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson is the mayor of Kingston he shares his thoughts about Saturday’s incident in Montreal.
“I certainly welcome healthy debate — discussion, differing points of view — but when it comes to vandalism, that’s where you draw a clear line,” Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson said about Saturday’s incident in Montreal.
“There’s no place for that — it’s not acceptable and frankly, it turns people off.”
When it comes to debate on whether or not to remove Kingston’s statue, Paterson says it should be a case of addition, not subtraction.
“We heard very clearly from the community that the statue should not come down,” he said. “We’re not going to take it down, but what we are going to do is rewrite the plaques of the statues as well as at a couple of other locations. We’re going to talk about not just the good but the bad in Macdonald’s legacy — I think that’s the way forward.
“That’s how you learn from history. You add to it, you don’t take away from it.”
Meanwhile, in Picton a working group has been tasked to look into the fate of its own statue.
There is a large sign on the front of the installation telling those walking by that a working group is developing a recommendation for the future of the statue.
Steve Ferguson said.
“Those meetings and conversations only recently started,” Prince Edward County Mayor Steve Ferguson said. “There will be public input through various methods, including our ‘Have Your Say’ platform as well as direct delegations to the working group, as I understand it. So there’s an on-going process.”
The Picton statue has been the target of vandalism a couple of times this summer. On both occasions, spray paint was used.