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

Rio Tinto donates $50K for Shames Mountain chairlift upgrades

The money was used to purchase the chairlift’s bull wheel replacement last summer

Broken axle caused New Hazelton train derailment: TSB

It could happen again without a different way to inspect trains

Cullen remains uncertain about political future

Says he’ll make decision in early March

Spring fishery closures mulled for south coast

Fewer fish are returning to rivers and more conservation needed, say feds

Terrace resident’s bill banning single-use plastics introduced in Ottawa

MP Nathan Cullen’s presented Ben Korving’s private member’s bill Wednesday

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

Most Read