B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver is calling the decision by Victoria council to approve the sudden removal of the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald from in front of City Hall earlier this month “boneheaded”.
Weaver weighed-in on the controversial move in an interview with CHEK News before a community forum in Victoria on Wednesday evening.
“I don’t make this comment lightly, I think it was a boneheaded move, I think it was a boneheaded move by Victoria City Council,” he said
The statue of Canada’s first prime minister had stood in front of Victoria City Hall since Canada Day in 1982.
A group called the City Family — a collection of city councillors and Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations members – decided it should be removed as part of reconciliation efforts with local Indigenous communities.
“If you’ve been in a residential school, or your mom or grandmother has been in a residential school this isn’t just a statue this is the person that is responsible for setting up that system which is still having such a painful legacy today,” said Helps after announcing the move.
In a matter of days, on August 11th, the statue was wrapped up, hoisted onto a truck and carted away.
Weaver says regular people who wanted to support reconciliation were turned away and denied any input.
“You as elected officials…have a duty and responsibility to ensure actual reconciliation,” he said.
“This has not been a very well thought out move.”
The statue remains in storage, replaced by a plaque explaining the decision.
Helps says the statue will likely be erected somewhere else in the future, but with more details about the complex figure John A. Macdonald was.
Weaver also praised Geoff Young, the lone Victoria City Councillor to vote against the move.
“He actually provided compelling arguments why this is not the way to reconciliation.”