“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.”