Judge Begbie statue in front of provincial courthouse in New Westminster. (Google Maps)

Should Judge Begbie statue be removed from B.C. courthouse square?

Two New Westminster councillors’ motion will be debated and voted on Monday at a council meeting

City councillors in New Westminster were set to discuss at their meeting Monday night whether to remove the long-standing statue of Judge Matthew Begbie from the front of its provincial courthouse.

Councillors Nadine Nakagawa and Chuck Puchmayr were set to table a motion that seeks to remove the statue because of Begbie’s role in the wrongful hanging of six Tsilhqot’in Nation chiefs in Quesnel in 1864 and 1865.

READ MORE: Trudeau exonerates hanged war chiefs of 1864 on B.C. Tsilhqot’in title lands

The chiefs had attacked and killed members of one of the colonial government’s road crews after the crew had trespassed on their territory. The government offered a meeting to discuss peace, but when the Tsilhqot’in chiefs arrived, they were instead arrested, convicted and hanged.

Begbie had been the judge presiding over the trial that resulted in the wrongful hanging.

His statue is a “symbol of the colonial era and this grave injustice,” reads the motion, which also proposes to put the statue somewhere else and that the city engage with the Tsilhqot’in Nation.

“The City of New West is working on moving forward with truth and reconciliation and we have a lot of work to do as the first city of British Columbia,” said Nakagawa.

She said she has received mixed reaction, some supporting the removal while others saying it is erasing history.

“The statue, as it stands, doesn’t represent history, and the motion really offers an opportunity for us to tell a nuanced history of who Begbie was.”

Nakagawa said she doesn’t know yet where the statue might be moved or what might replace it, but that it will be decided after a public consultation should the motion move ahead.

In 2017, the Law Society of BC removed a statue of Begbie from its downtown Vancouver lobby.

READ MORE: Reconciliation walk builds relationships between settlers and Indigenous peoples



joti.grewal@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Fire ban back in effect for Northwest Fire Centre region

Starting May 24, both Category 2 and Category 3 prohibitions will be in place

Kelowna company wins contract for LNG Canada project in Kitimat

SK Form & Finish will work with equivalent of 4,000 fully loaded concrete trucks

U.S. tariffs on Canadian aluminium scrapped

Joint effort by industry, government and unions secures deal

Rio Tinto BC Works watching Nechako reservoir levels closely

Dropping water levels could threaten power generation operations

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

B.C. port workers set to strike on Monday in Vancouver

A strike at two container terminals would affect Canadian trade to Asia

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

B.C. man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Nanaimo’s James Farkas, who broke his hip in a fall, saves eagle on same beach months later

Most Read