Put it back or keep it away? Future of Sir John A Macdonald statue uncertain
MONTREAL -- A day after being torn down during a protest, the future of the Sir John A. Macdonald statue in Place du Canada is uncertain.
The statue, which has stood for 125 years, is currently being housed in a warehouse after suffering serious damage. City officials said it's not clear if it will be re-installed in the park or be moved.
On Sunday, all that remained in the spot where the statue once stood was traces of paint. The statue has been repeatedly vandalized over the years, including being beheaded in 1992. While some have revered Macdonald as an essential figure in Canadian history, in recent years a different legacy has become an important part of the narrative regarding the founding of the country.
Many Indigenous groups have also pointed to Macdonald's role in establishing Canada's residential school system, where thousands of Indigenous lives were ruined or ended.
In 1882, Macdonald insisted Chinese immigrants build Canada's railroad due to the lower cost.
“We do the history of French Canada, Black slaves that escaped the United States, Chinese workers for the railroad. In all these histories, Macdonald is not a revered figure,” said University of Ontario history professor Pierre Anctil. “He's a figure of oppression.”
In 2018, the City of Victoria removed a statue of Macdonald from city hall as a gesture of reconcilliation.
Not every political figure has decried Macdonald's legacy – Alberta Premier Jason Kenney took to Twitter to offer to take the Montreal statue and install it in front of his province's legislature.