Regina city council has voted to remove a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald from a park and place it in storage until a new home can be found for it.
Macdonald was Canada’s first prime minister but his role in establishing colonial systems, including Indian residential schools, led to calls for the removal of the bronze statue.
Council spent nearly four hours Wednesday hearing from people for and against removing it from Victoria Park.
John Hopkins, chairman of Reconciliation Regina, told council the statue is offensive to many people, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.
Trevor Lakness said he doesn’t have faith the city will put the statue in another location, pointing out that a statue of Metis leader Louis Riel has been in storage for many years.
Some people have suggested putting the statue in a museum, moving it behind the provincial legislature or to the RCMP Heritage Centre.
Others suggested the statue should stay put and have a plaque explaining the history of Macdonald and his influence on Confederation and Indigenous policies.
Conservative Senator Denise Batters said the statue is an enduring symbol of Confederation and should stay in the park.
“We cannot and should not erase our history, but we should add to it and we should give it full context, whether that is through additional interpretations or by adding other artworks or monuments to that particular site in Victoria Park,” Batters said.
A public consultation process is to take place to determine what the next steps will be.
The statue was officially unveiled in 1967, the year of Canada’s centennial.
In recent years it has been repeatedly vandalized, including with paint.
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