, 06.09.2021 06:42 PM

Victory in PEC: the statue is gone

From the Picton Gazette:

“The ‘Holding Court’ statue of Sir John A Macdonald was removed from Picton’s Main Street Tuesday morning and will be placed in storage while municipal staff determine next steps for the sculpture’s location.

…During the four-and-a-half hour special council meeting Monday, 38 people provided comments on the issue, with only three speaking in favour of keeping the statue in its current space.

The municipality’s procedural bylaw that allows no more than 30 minutes of public comment was waived at the onset of the virtual meeting Monday night to allow for all pre-registered residents to speak.

The special meeting was held in light of last week’s discovery of the mass unmarked grave of 215 children at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Its intent was to discuss public safety and contractual obligations for the sculpture…

…Noted national political strategist and PEC resident Warren Kinsella told council his daughter is Indigenous and they reside in the home where Sir John A collected his mail when he was a young lawyer in Picton.

He said debates like this have been raging for quite some time and will continue.

“Opponents say correctly, in my view, that such monuments are painful reminders of violence and genocide and they argue that we should not ever celebrate hatred and I agree with that,” he said.

“Such monuments rewrite history, hide the truth, and celebrate a fictional, sanitized past and ignore the misery that men like this created. We now know that Sir John A Macdonald did create misery and he is not a man who we should be celebrating in this community or in this country. If you disagree, I would ask you to put yourself in the shoes of my daughter.”

He said statues of men like Sir John A Macdonald, as lifeless as they are, still hurt the living.

Coun. Andreas Bolik questioned whether council should rename the town of Picton as it is named after Sir Thomas Picton, who kept slaves. 

Kinsella said [people have enough] critical faculties to work on these kinds of changes and that though he was unaware of that fact, it should be done.

“It is an ongoing effort. It is not nearly enough to say, ‘We can’t do anything about it because there’s too much of it.’ We need as a people, collectively, to deal with this issue because it is an issue that is not only important to Indigenous people like my daughter, it is important to all.”


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    Phil in London says:

    I have no problem with statues toppling. Statues are monuments to victors, and rarely are they good testaments to history.

    I am not an expert on history but I believe as a student of history That the way I learn best from is to go seek it out, not to visit monuments.

    There is a simple answer to those objecting to this removal, a plaque, A simple plaque that notes the first prime minster of Canada had roots here.

    If I have any objection to the removal of statues it is simply that it must be consistent. Conservative and Liberal leaders together collaborated to create, continue and conceal the truth of the residential school system.

    Laurier too is guilty, the system grew under his watch. We need not weigh the sins of one against the other. Both men achieved great things for the nation and for their loyal communities. However, BOTH are complicit in this crime against humanity.

    I am sure there are many statues dedicated to Laurier that deserve the same treatment.

    Queen Elizabeth as head of the monarchy that is now and was then our head of state surely bears as much responsibility for the residential school system as does Pope Francis. Where are the demands for her to apologize for her successors roles? Especially in the time before Trudeau-un, all prime minsters were in a place to advise her and her ancestors on their rule of their dominion. NOTHING is more emblematic of colonial rule than SIR John A and SIR WILFRED as Sirs to the house of Windsor and it’s earlier existences.

    The cold hard truth whether French or English, or of other European stock, were any of our ancestors invited to homestead here.

    We of multiple generation hyphenated-Canadian stock are indigenous to nowhere if we are not indigenous to Canada. However we bare the responsibility of our own refusals to hear the cries of our native indigenous people. We should not be forcing them to honour our heritage.

    We simply cannot and should not re-write our history of European discovery of what to us is the new world. But, we sure as hell need to do a lot less talking and a ton more listening to those we’ve trampled upon.

    If those people the truly indigenous people of this land want to tell us what offends them and what we can do to better assimilate ourselves to their land, I say we need to hear the message.

    We may not agree to topple all statues but I think we of “good stock” would be better served if we first just listen damn it.

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    Peter Williams says:

    I am offended and hurt by the Trudeau’s, father and son. So please remove all references to the Trudeau name.

    A) Pierre’s treatment of First Nations, amongst other things.

    B) Justin’s wearing of blackface, his dressing up in costumes, his groping women, his unethical behaviour, his treatment of female members of his party, the Norman affair. And don’t forget the WE scandal where a so called ethics commissioner (appointed by Trudeau) found Trudeau not guilty and didn’t even interview Justin. What a farce.

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      Jeff says:

      Completely agree Peter!!

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    Gilbert says:

    I understand that this is a sensitive topic, but I don’t think we need to erase history.

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      The Doctor says:

      It would be interesting if someone pushed the envelope into historical statues that many consider to be genuine works of art, for example. I’m sure many “noble Greeks and Romans” did horrible things and had reprehensible views on things by modern standards. But of course their victims have been dead for millenia, rather than mere centuries or decades.

      The fact is, for the most part people are going after historical figures who date from the last 100-200 years or so. It’s almost as though there’s some unspoken statute of limitations on all of this.

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    Jim T says:

    Hey without Macdonald there would have been no Canada. As much as I admire Mr Kinsella and certainly his boss M. Jean Chrétien ( a great man indeed) , he ought to go back and redo History of Canada 101.

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