Bradley Clements can be seen holding up a sign in favour of the removal of the Sir John A. Macdonald statue from Victoria’s City Hall. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS

Removal of John A. Macdonald statue at B.C. City Hall met with divided crowd

People debated race and politics while Sir John A. Macdonald was removed from Victoria’s City Hall

A divided crowd made their way down to Victoria City Hall early Saturday Morning, either in protest or in support of the City’s removal of the Sir John A. Macdonald statue from City Hall’s front steps.

At 7 a.m., the City started to remove the contentious statue, and protesters bore signs that read “No honour in genocide” stood next to those wearing Canadian and British Columbian flags down their backs.

RELATED: Victoria to remove Sir John A. Macdonald statue from City Hall

“I disagree with the process that they did in order to get this removed. Three councillors pushed this through, they did not want larger debate on this,” said Matthew Breeden. “People opposed to this were never given a voice, never given a chance to say ‘You know what, we want to preserve our history and character, we want to have that statue remain there’, their opinion was forfeit.”

Supporters lined up along the temporary fence to see the statue lifted from its post.

“I think that there’s been a real correction happening here,” said Tsastilqualus. “I don’t have a problem with this statue possibly being put in a museum with true added history, and an explanation of why it’s there.”

Some supporters arrived early for a rally scheduled to start at noon.

“The statue is celebrating and glorifying a particular historical figure who was one of the leading architects of cultural genocide,” said Reuben Rose-Redwood, a member of the Indigenous Solidarity Working Group. ”We’re here to say we’re not erasing history, we’re making history.”

RELATED: Rally to save Sir John A. Macdonald statue heading to Victoria City Hall

Other protesters believed that context was important.

“Show me a man in 1860 who hasn’t said something or done something that is considered not politically correct to modern standards,” said John, who was uncomfortable giving his last name after people shouted at him in protest. “You’re not going to find such a person. What, are we going to tear down statues of everyone born before 1900?”

John was interrupted by booing from a man who questioned John’s ability, as a White man, to interpret Macdonald, who was a man responsible for genocide.

The man identified as one eighth Metis, but did not want to supply his name.

Debate broke out between both sides, with people shouting across the street to one another.

When the statue was lifted and placed on a truck, two songs began simultaneously, “Na Na Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye,” from supporters, and “Oh, Canada!” from protesters.

The statue was carried away to be put in temporary storage while a new location is decided upon. City staff immediately began installing an interpretive plaque where the statue once stood.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter
and Instagram

 

People shouted in protest and cheered in joy as the Sir John A. Macdonald statue was removed from Victoria’s City Hall Saturday morning. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS

People gathered aound Victoria’s City Hall Saturday morning to protest or support the removal of the Sir John A. Macdonald statue. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS

Just Posted

Ucluelet mayor thanks team at last meeting

Dianne St. Jacques is not running for re-election this month.

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

VIDEO: Rescued eagle released in Ucluelet

“I’m very confident that he’s going to make it. He’s done very well.”

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Only 40% of B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

VIDEO: Millionaire Lottery returns to give back and win big

Since 1996, Millionaire Lottery has raised $52 million for the VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation

Test case challenges a politician’s right to block people from Twitter account

3 people say Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them

‘A little odd’ B.C.’s biggest city celebrates cannabis without a legal store

On the streets of downtown Vancouver, notably the Wild West of illegal marijuana, not a single legal store opened Wednesday, making for a rather anticlimatic kick-off

Most Read