The city of Kingston is stepping up security around a statue that has been mired in controversy in recent years.
Officials have installed security cameras around the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald in City Park. They say it’s all about protecting an asset and has nothing to do with the recent toppling of a “Sir John” statue in Montreal.
Now it’s a case of while you’re viewing the statue, cameras are viewing you.
Colin Wiginton, the city’s cultural director, says it’s all about protecting property and that includes the statue —one of the city’s older assets.
“It’s not a new kind of thing that we do in the city, but there are cameras that have been put on the monument for the first time,” Wiginton said.
Wiginton acknowledges that while the statue is one of the city’s older assets, it’s also one of the most controversial.
“As a municipality, we have a responsibility to maintain our assets and we just want to make sure we do the most that we can to preserve the things that we are responsible for and then to monitor activity that may be concerning.”
The monument isn’t going away, anyway. Kingston’s Mayor, Bryan Paterson, has said that on numerous occasions.
“The community has said loud and clear that we shouldn’t take the statue down — we’re not going to do that,” Paterson told Global News a couple of weeks ago.
“But we are going to re-write the plaques. We are going to talk about both the good and the bad in Macdonald’s legacy and I think that’s how you find a way forward on such a divisive, controversial issue like this.”
Along with the cameras, signs have been posted, telling the general public that the area is under surveillance.
Wiginton says the installation of cameras is not a direct result of the Montreal toppling of a Macdonald statue.
“Not specifically,” he said “Obviously, in 2020 there’s been a lot of interest in this topic and activity. We’ve seen events earlier this year with protests, and so this is just a pro-active effort on our part to make sure that we’re monitoring that as we do any other things in the city that we’re responsible for.”
Macdonald’s statue has stood in City Park since 1895.