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A statue of Canada’s first prime minister has been removed from the grounds outside Victoria City Hall, days after the city council voted to remove it.

The city began discussions in 2017 to remove the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald as part of the reconciliation process with the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations, voting seven to one Thursday to have it removed.

Songhees Chief Ron Sam wrote in a July 31 letter to Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps that removing the statue is an important step in the city’s path toward reconciliation.

Minutes from the council meeting say the statue will be stored in a facility until the city determines what to do with the statue, adding they were not trying to “erase history.”

Supporters and protesters alike were visible at city hall carrying placards and signs, while some protesters wrapped themselves in Canadian and British Columbian flags and sang the national anthem.

Macdonald played a significant role in the creation of the residential school system that displaced thousands of Indigenous youth, and served as the MP for Victoria from 1878 to 1882.

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