by Jake Cardinal
(ANNews) – Months after the killing of George Floyd, the wake of his death is still being felt. Across the world statues of Confederate Leaders, Christopher Columbus, and prominent slave owners are being forcefully taken down by protestors.
Now the ripples of toppled statues and monuments are reaching Canada as a statue of John A. MacDonald has been destroyed in Montreal.
During a protest against police brutality in late August, activists toppled the statue of the first Canadian Prime Minister.
Current Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, stated that he was “deeply disappointed.”
“We have a lot of work to do, but choices like this – to rely on vandalism to advance causes – is not going to help anyone move forward the right way,” said Trudeau.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault, said that the removal of the statute is “unacceptable.”
“Of course we need to fight against racism, but that’s not the way to do it. We have to respect the history. We may have discussions in the next years about changes, but right now the decision is that it will be re-put in place.”
Indigenous Services Minister, Marc Miller said, “No one should break things to make a point in a democratic society.”
The discussions sparked by the statue’s demise has reached as far as Alberta, with Albertan Premier Jason Kenney saying, “A mob has torn down and defaced the statue of Sir John A MacDonald in Montreal. This vandalism of our history and heroes must stop.”
“Many of those on the extreme left responsible for this kind of violence claim that Canada is an illegitimate state, all the while enjoying Canada’s rights, freedoms, privileges and prosperity,” Kenney said. “None of those things were created by accident.”
“If the City of Montreal decides not to restore Wade’s statue of MacDonald to where it has stood for 125 years, we would be happy to receive it for installation on the grounds of Alberta’s legislature,” Kenney said.
In response, Chief Billy Morin of the Enoch Cree Nation and Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six stated that the statue is not welcome here in Alberta. “I agree history cannot be changed, I agree John A, MacDonald was a foundational part of Canadian History, but given our current work in Reconcilation, the focus today should be on that work which was started by the TRC, – and this Quebec statue of John A MacDonald is a distraction to that important work.”
Chief Morin also believes that if the statue were to be brought and erected tomorrow, “I think it would be taken down by protesters the next day.”
“I don’t see it as a fruitful next step in reconciliation.”
Jake Cardinal is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter.