The seven-foot-tall bronze statue of Sir John A Macdonald in Regina’s Victoria Park is being put into storage.
City Council voted 7-4 in favor of a motion which calls for broad public consultation on the future location of the monument.
Approximately 12 people spoke to Council, many suggesting that Macdonald’s harmful policies towards Indigenous Peoples be considered.
Councilor Daniel LeBlanc noted that Macdonald’s policies benefited white people at the expense of Indigenous People. LeBlanc said Macdonald starved, marginalized Indigenous Peoples in pursuit of colonizing the west.
He continued by stating that reconciliation is to consider Macdonald’s legacy through an Indigenous lens.
John Hopkins of Reconciliation Regina is in support of removing the monument, but not destroying it.
“[This] monument is offensive to many people both Indigenous and I think this is important non-Indigenous because not only was he the father of Confederation but also the father of residential schools,” explained Hopkins. “The time for talk is over and the time to take action is now.”
Several people expressed the possible locations for the statue would include the Legislative Assembly grounds, RCMP Training Depot and Government House, but with an educational component.
Regina resident Trevor Lakness was opposed to the removal of the statue claiming once it is removed, the statue does not return. He said the McKenzie Art Gallery has been housing a Louis Riel statute for decades.
He also points that while Sir John A. Macdonald did have faults, he is still Canada’s first Prime Minister and a part of history.
“We need our kids to know our history. Let’s bring that Louis Riel statue out of storage so that when my eight-year-old kid walks through the park, he knows who John A Macdonald and Louie Riel are,” Lakness said.
Councilors who opposed the motion spoke to a lack of public consultation on the motion, and the fear that once the statue is in storage, it would not be seen in the public again, similar to the Riel statue.
A report on the future of the Sir John A. Macdonald statute is expected to be delivered to council early next year.
(Photo: Macdonald statue vandalized. Courtesy of Veldon Coburn Twitter