VICTORIA- The mayor of Victoria says a statue of Prime Minister John A. MacDonald will be removed from the front entrance to city hall as a gesture of reconciliation with First Nations.
In a blog post Wednesday, Mayor Lisa Helps says the statue will be taken down so that Indigenous people do not need to walk past the “painful reminder of colonial violence.”
MacDonald was the first prime minister of Canada, but Helps says he was also a “key architect” of the residential school system.
In 1879, she says MacDonald argued for the removal of Indigenous peoples from their communities and families so that they could acquire the habits and thinking of white men instead of the “savage” ways of their parents.
Although Helps has an undergraduate, master’s and partially-completed doctorate in Canadian history, she says she is ashamed that she was unaware of the first prime minister’s role in developing residential schools.
Helps says the city does not propose erasing history, but rather taking time to tell that chapter of Canadian history in a thoughtful way.
The statue will be removed Saturday and stored until an appropriate way to recontextualize MacDonald is determined.