PEI

Charlottetown defers again, while Regina removes its Sir John A statue

Charlottetown referred the question of what to do with a statue of Sir John A MacDonald to its economic development committee this week, nine months after issues regarding the statue’s offensiveness to Indigenous peoples were first raised.

Regina’s statue moving to storage while discussions of its fate continue

While discussions of the statue have carried on at Charlottetown council, the statue itself has been targeted by people who have knocked it over and splattered it with various substances. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC )

Charlottetown referred the question of what to do with a statue of Sir John A MacDonald to its economic development committee this week, nine months after issues regarding the statue's offensiveness to Indiginous peoples were first raised.

The concerns are connected to MacDonald's role in the creation of Canada's residential school system. In January, the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils made five suggestions to the city for amendments to the art installation.

While the discussions continue, the statue remains sitting on a park bench in downtown Charlottetown.

Regina has taken a different approach. While it is still discussing the ultimate fate of its Sir John A statue, in the meantime council voted last month to take it down and put it in storage.

Regina's statue will be in storage while a new location is discussed. (Matt Howard/CBC)

"The majority vote was to remove it to storage and allow, as some described it, some sort of neutral position where we are able to have the conversation with some openness and trust that we're able to move forward together," said Emmaline Hill, the manager of social and cultural development in Regina 

The Saskatchewan city has undertaken a review of its public art collection, with the understand that art can carry with it legacies of previous times that are offensive when looked at today.

The statue had been in Victoria Park, a green space at the very centre of the downtown.

Hill said council was clear the statue would not be returning there, because that central location virtually requires people to encounter it. She said the statue will most likely be relocated to a green space where people will be able to visit it if they choose, and it will include interpretive materials with a more complete account of MacDonald's legacy.

A deadline for making that decision has been set for early in 2022.

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With files from Island Morning

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