'I just tipped it over': John A. Macdonald statue in Charlottetown damaged in protest again
Police say charges are pending for 2 Charlottetown men as a result of incident
- Man who damaged John A. Macdonald statue gets conditional discharge.
The statue of Sir John A. Macdonald in Charlottetown has been targeted once again — this time, the bench the statue sits on was knocked over and dragged.
The statue — and others like it across Canada — have been the focus of protest in recent months, because of Macdonald's treatment of Indigenous people, and because he brought in the residential school system which led to the abuse of Indigenous children for generations.
Macdonald was Canada's first prime minister.
In June, the Charlottetown statue was defaced with a large amount of red paint.
The latest incident happened late Monday evening. Gage Molyneaux said he had just left a restaurant on Victoria Row.
"Something just clicked," said Molyneaux, "Basically I just grabbed the bottom of the bench and heaved it. Just pulled a few times and came loose and I just tipped it over."
Molyneaux explained his actions by saying, "Somebody's going to do it eventually, I may as well make the statement myself. I don't think we should be celebrating a man like that in the way that we do. He's not a hero, he's a villain."
Molyneaux and another person were arrested shortly after. Molyneaux is set to appear in court later this month.
City staff have since returned the statue to its usual spot and cleaned it off.
"I don't feel bad about it," said Molyneaux, who said he intends to plead guilty to the mischief charge.
"I'm a little upset with myself because I have a criminal record now, and I feel bad for the guys that have to go to work to put it back, but I think it shouldn't be there in the first place."
In recent months, there have been calls to have the statue removed. In June, Charlottetown council voted to keep it — but pledged to start a dialogue with Indigenous groups about how to best present Macdonald's controversial history.
"It would be nice to see it removed — or maybe put something else … in its wake," said Molyneaux.
"Something that's not so offensive and controversial — either that or if they could give a detailed history, with not just the things they teach you in school that he did, but with his actual full history, the negatives and the positives."
City staff said discussions about what to do with the statue are ongoing. According to Mayor Philip Brown, discussions with L'Nuey and the Mi'kmaq Confederacy took place in early July, and the city is awaiting direction on next steps from Island First Nations chiefs.