An Indigenous leader is telling Premier Jason Kenny not so fast when it comes to moving a destroyed statue of Canada’s first prime minister to Alberta.
And Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the the country needs to do some reflection on the life and times on John A. Macdonald.
A statue of Macdonald in Montreal was toppled and decapitated in Montreal on Saturday by protesters who were marching to defund the police.
An outraged Kenney said if the people of Montreal didn’t want the statue he would take it and erect in in the gardens of the Alberta legislature.
“He was an immigrant who suffered unimaginable personal trauma throughout his life, which he overcame to forge an enormous country out of divided factions. It’s right to debate his legacy and life. But it is wrong to allow roving bands of thugs to vandalize our history with impunity.
“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.”
During his time as prime minister, Macdonald’s government brought in the Indian Act and set up the residential school system.
That has Indigenous leaders tell Kenney to halt his plans.
“Treaty 6 Chiefs absolutely do NOT support bringing a John A. McDonald statue from Quebec to Treaty 6 Territory,” said Confederacy of Treaty 6 Grand Chief William Morin.
“I agree history cannot be changed, I agree John A. Macdonald was a foundational part of Canadian history, but given our current work in reconciliation, the focus today should be on that work which was started by the TRC [Truth and Reconciliation Commission], and this Quebec statue of John A. Macdonald is a distraction to that important work.”
Trudeau finally broke his silence on the issue Monday saying he was “disappointed” by the tearing down of the statue.
He said he understands the “impatience and frustration” of those who have experienced systemic racism and called for reflection on Macdonald’s accomplishments and mistakes.
“We are a country of laws, and we are a country that needs to respect those laws even as we seek to improve and change them,” Trudeau said in Montreal on Monday.
“Those kinds of acts of vandalism are not advancing the path towards greater justice and equality in this country.”