Canada’s first Prime Minister, John A Macdonald, was also a prime architect behind the Indian Act, a racialized and oppressive system designed to subjugate, isolate and ultimately eliminate First Nations. The Nazis and South Africans borrowed from this act in designing their own models of genocide. Macdonald was also a mastermind behind the atrocities committed in residential schools throughout this country.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has laid these facts bare and called on governments at all levels to tackle their unsettling history and seek a new relationship with First Nations. In fact, Victoria City Council has named this the Year of Reconciliation. As the TRC makes clear, reconciliation cannot occur without disavowing the atrocities of the past, including those pioneered by John A Macdonald.
In spite of this, City Hall continues to display a statue of Macdonald near its front doors. Its presence signals to everyone the continued whitewashing of history, papering over the overt racism that lies at the heart of our sordid colonial heritage. This sort of historical denial is no path to reconciliation.
We, the undersigned, therefore call on Victoria’s Mayor and Council to immediately remove the John A. Macdonald statue from in front of City Hall and replace it in consultation with the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations. This is how we start to tackle our regrettable history in an honest manner. This is how we begin to move forward together.