PEI

Charlottetown council criticized for slow pace on updating text at John A. Macdonald statue

Almost seven months after Charlottetown council passed a motion to update the text beside the Sir John A. Macdonald statue, Coun. Mike Duffy wants to know what's taking so long.

'We're [almost] seven months [in] with only one task to perform: that's to rewrite the plaque'

Council in Charlottetown voted in June to open dialogue with Indigenous groups. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Almost seven months after Charlottetown council passed a motion to update the text beside the Sir John A. Macdonald statue so that it would address Canada's contentious history of its dealings with Indigenous people, Coun. Mike Duffy wants to know what's taking so long.

Duffy asked for an update at Monday's council meeting. Last June, council voted to keep the statue on display and open talks with P.E.I.'s Indigenous community.

Some members of Canada's Indigenous communities argue statues of Macdonald should be removed from public view because of his links to the formation of Canada's residential school system and harm caused to Indigenous people.

"We're [almost] seven months [in] with only one task to perform: that's to rewrite the plaque," said Duffy.

He said consultation with P.E.I.'s Indigenous community is crucial.

"To help us, they would redesign and rewrite the plaque," said Duffy.

Economic development and tourism chair Julie McCabe said the consultation has begun.

City workers remove red paint from a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald in June, following public demands for it to be removed from Victoria Row in Charlottetown. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

"We would like to be able to tell the full story," she said. "We want to give them an opportunity to contribute to the story of John A. Macdonald."

McCabe said the committee is working on a response, and is sending it to three P.E.I. Indigenous groups: the Native Council of P.E.I., the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I. and L'nuey.

She said the city is looking at adding another plaque at the site.

Duffy said he was satisfied with the answers given at the council meeting, and agreed it is a complex and sensitive topic.

He hopes the work is done in time for this summer, when he said more visitors are expected.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Brian Higgins

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