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

LETTER: Thanks to all who ran in election

To those that were elected, I look forward to your collective stewardship

Kettle Valley Steam Railway holds train ride of terror

Summerland tourist train will have Halloween-themed events

Ballet Kelowna to kick off 16th season with pair of premiers

Fresh off performances in Beijing and Toronto, company will perform at KCT Nov. 16 and 17

LETTER: Support candidates who will assist cannabis industry

Cannabis has often provided extra income for fruit growers or paid the bills for students

COLUMN: Life is So Good: A biography to remember

George Dawson was African American at a time of great racial discrimination

B.C. sailor surprised by humpback whale playing under her boat

Jodi Klahm-Kozicki said the experience was ‘magical’ near Denman Island

VOTE: Nature in Focus reader’s choice photo contest

The Penticton Western News Reader’s Choice photo contest

Who is running in Summerland’s election?

Introducing you to the candidates asking for your vote on Oct. 20

Ovechkin has 4 points as Caps rough up Canucks 5-2

WATCH: Defending champs pick up impressive win in Vancouver

World Junior Hockey fever hits Vernon

Vipers spice up floor ball demonstration at OK Landing School

Shuswap refugee family settles into new, more hopeful life

Father of 10th Syrian family to come to Salmon Arm says learning English, work, top priorities

RCMP seek missing Vernon man

Michael Ramsey, 49, was last seen Oct. 21

B.C. government moves to tighten resource industry regulations

New superintendent will oversee engineers, biologists, foresters

Most Read