The statue honouring Sir John A. Macdonald outside Victoria City Hall will be removed Aug. 11. Dawn Gibson/BLACK PRESS

B.C. city to remove Sir John A. Macdonald statue from City Hall

Decision made in 2017 through approval of Witness Reconciliation Program

Sir John A. Macdonald will no longer guard the doors of Victoria City Hall.

In a statement to her campaign website, incumbent Mayor Lisa Helps announced Wednesday morning the statue of the former Canadian prime minister who also served as Victoria’s MP, will be removed Saturday (Aug. 11).

As the Minister of Indian Affairs during Canada’s implementation of residential schools, Macdonald’s legacy is a controversial one.

In her post, Helps included a quote from Macdonald: “When the school is on the reserve, the child lives with its parents, who are savages, and though he may learn to read and write, his habits and training mode of thought are Indian,” he said in 1879.

“He is simply a savage who can read and write. It has been strongly impressed upon myself, as head of the Department, that Indian children should be withdrawn as much as possible from the parental influence, and the only way to do that would be to put them in central training industrial schools where they will acquire the habits and modes of thought of white men.”

The decision to remove the statue was made in June 2017 through the City’s Witness Reconciliation Program and City Family.

The two groups were formed between the City and the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations in an effort to lead a more “Indigenous-focused approach” to reconciliation.

“We will remove the statue of Sir John A. MacDonald from the front doors of city hall so that the family members and other Indigenous people do not need to walk past this painful reminder of colonial violence each time they enter the doors of their municipal government,” Helps said.

RELATED: Rewriting history simply complicated

The statue – in place since 1982 – will be stored in a city facility until a decision is made to “recontextualize” Macdonald, according to the statement.

In its place a plaque will be installed and eventually, a cleansing, blessing healing ceremony will be held, followed by a piece of art representing the Lekwungen culture (as determined by council in 2016).

“We do not propose to erase history but rather to take the time through the process of truth-telling and reconciliation as part of the Witness Reconciliation Program to tell this complex and painful chapter of Canadian history in a thoughtful way,” Helps said.

For the full statement visit lisahelpsvictoria.ca.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Last of southern Selkirk caribou relocated to Revelstoke area

One cow from the South Selkirk herd and two from the Purcells were moved this week

How to stay safe in the Nakusp backcountry: BCSARA

The B.C. Search and Rescue Association recommends planning, training and taking the essentials

Skier caught in backcountry avalanche near Rossland

‘The man was lucky he had the ‘A-Team’ of ski patrol people able to respond as quickly as they did,’ says Rossland rescue spokesperson

Self serve doggy-wash poised to change dog grooming industry

Add money, start spraying to wash dog in the K9000

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

For two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years

Burnaby byelection turmoil sparks debate about identity issues in politics

The Liberals still have not said whether they plan to replace Wang, who stepped aside Wednesday

B.C. woman planned to donate a kidney to her husband, then found out she has cancer

Richard Stuart needs a kidney, his wife Tracy has been diagnosed with cancer

Most Read