Saskatchewan

Petition calls for removal of John A. Macdonald statue in Regina

A Regina group launched a petition for the removal of a statue of Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, at Victoria Park in Regina on Monday.

Rally held Tuesday to call for removal of statue in Victoria Park

People called for the removal of a statue of Sir John A. MacDonald at a rally in Regina on Tuesday. (Rob Kruk/Radio-Canada )

A Regina group launched a petition for the removal of a statue of Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, at Victoria Park on Monday.

Organized by Colonialism No More and the Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism, the rally called for the removal of the statue over Macdonald's involvement in colonialism and the residential school system.

The petition comes after the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario kicked off a national debate when it passed a motion calling on school districts to "examine and rename schools and buildings named after Sir John A. Macdonald."

Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first Prime Minister, supported the creation of residential schools and the Indian Act. A group gathered in Regina on Monday to call for the removal of his statue at Victoria Park. (Rob Kruk/Radio-Canada)

"We, the undersigned, hereby petition the Council of the City of Regina, as part of the process of reconciliation, to authorize and arrange for the removal of the statue of John A. Macdonald from Victoria Park," reads the petition.

"And to arrange for it either to be stored out of public view or to be placed in a museum where it can be used to educate the public about the history it embodies."

Heather Bear, vice-chief with the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, said last week she supported the Ontario teacher group's motion.  

But Premier Brad Wall called it "a slippery slope … that threatens the preservation of all our history."

In a Facebook note, Wall acknowledged Macdonald used the word "savages" to describe Indigenous peoples, but also listed some of Macdonald's accomplishments, such as completing the railway across Canada and the establishment of the North-West Mounted Police.

The petition will be delivered to Regina Mayor Michael Fougere. As of Tuesday afternoon, the petition had 265 signatures.

The Macdonald statue is located on the south side of Victora Park close to Cornwall Street. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

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