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 It has been strongly impressed upon myself, as head of the Department, that Indian children should be withdrawn as much as possible from the parental influence, and the only way to do that would be to put them in central training industrial schools where they will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

Gitdumden checkpoint blocks access to Unist’ot’en camp

Wet’suwet’en clan members say Morice Lake Forest Service Rd checkpoint in effect until further notice.

Column: Windows can be bad news for birds

Dianne Bersea is a member of the South Okanagan Naturalists Club

23-year-old missing from Prince George since Dec. 1

Kari Baxter has a dreamcatcher tattoo on her neck

Passport services expanded to 300 locations across Canada

At Service Canada outlets officers can review applications, validate supporting documents, collect fees and forward applications

Two Vanderhoof students awarded scholarships for post-secondary education

Indigenous students awarded to further their studies

VIDEO: Ex-NASA engineer pranks mail thieves with glitter bomb trap

Package thefts are common this time of year, but YouTuber Mark Rober used his engineering skills

Lightning top Canucks 5-2 in feisty battle

NHL’s No. 1 team too much for Vancouver

FortisBC says you can return to normal gas use following pipeline fire

Utility says increased pipeline capacity, warmer weather have allowed supply to reach normal levels

CSIS collected info on peaceful groups, but only in pursuit of threats: watchdog

Security Intelligence Review Committee says fears unjustified after reviewing evidence, testimony

Canada ranks 16th on annual gender gap list

This is the second year Canada has placed 16th in the World Economic Forum’s list

VIDEO: Tornado rips through city west of Seattle

Reports indicate five to seven homes damaged in Port Orchard, Wash.

Trial date postponed for man charged with killing Abbotsford police officer

Oscar Arfmann’s trial pushed back from January to May 2019

Privacy watchdog says legal cannabis buyers should use cash, not credit

Some countries could bar entry to individuals if they know they have purchased cannabis

‘A start:’ Alberta critical of Ottawa’s $1.6B package for ailing energy sector

A further $150 million is to be used for clean growth and infrastructure projects

Most Read