WATCH: Four more candidates threw their hats into the Victoria municipal race today. And although it’s gone from city hall, the statue of John A. MacDonald may play a major role in civic politics over the next two months. Mary Griffin reports.
Former Victoria city councillor Shellie Gudgeon acts as emcee to introduce the newest candidates running for council on October 20.
“Friends, and neighbours, I am pleased to introduce you to Stephen Hammond,” said Gudgeon.
With the municipal election just over two months away, the campaign is underway in earnest.
Stephen Hammond is the mayoral candidate for the new party, newcouncil.ca.
“Newcouncil.ca came about because of a desire to bring about change,” Hammond said.
Hammond came to prominence as the voice of residents living near Victoria’s tent city behind the courthouse in 2016.
“They deliberately allowed the creation of the tent city,” Hammond told reporters, as the spokesperson for “Mad as Hell”.
Now, he’s wading into the controversy over the removal of Victoria’s John A. McDonald statue.
“The way we would have handled it is that we would not have excluded the public from this decision,” Hammond said Friday at Victoria’s Ship Point.
“It’s almost like mayor and council believe they don’t trust us to deal with complex and controversial and emotional issues that go to the core of who we are. And it’s insulting.”
And the controversy isn’t going away.
Vandals defaced Montreal’s statue of Canada’s first prime minister for the third time.
A self-described anti-colonial group is taking responsibility for this defacing, and in a statement, claim solidarity with the removal of Victoria’s statue and want their city’s statue removed as well.
The artist who created Victoria’s statue 32 years ago, John Dann, feels the removal here happened too quickly.
“It may be the right thing to do, I don’t know. But I didn’t think the way it was done was the right way, in that I never heard about it. I think that’s why it’s taking effect on the upcoming race in Victoria,” said Dann.
The statue may be gone, but its presence is still felt in Victoria.
“Let’s just say that newcouncil.ca we won’t be hiring the cranes until the votes are done,” Hammond said.