The Ontario government says it is willing to provide a new home for the Sir John A. Macdonald statue that was removed from the front of Victoria City Hall Saturday.
The statue of Canada’s first Prime Minister was loaded on a flatbed truck and taken to a storage facility after Victoria council voted eight-to-one last week to remove it as a gesture of reconciliation.
A plaque has been installed in its place explaining the city’s decision to remove the monument and describes Macdonald as both a national leader and a leader of violence against Indigenous peoples.
Ontario Tourism Minister Sylvia Jones said the province has sent a letter to Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps about acquiring the statue.
During Ontario’s question period Monday, Jones said “history matters”, and Ontario Conservative house leader Todd Smith, who wrote the letter to Helps, said the statue would stand on government property if acquired.
Smith offered to co-ordinate the transportation and delivery of the statue. He also praised Macdonald for his role in shaping the country.
“Our government does not believe his memory and legacy should collect dust in a storage facility,” Smith wrote.
“Tearing down statues does not erase the past.”
The mayor’s office said the city does not plan to sell or give the statue away, which was erected by the John A. Macdonald Society in 1982.
Helps said last week the statue will likely be erected somewhere else in the city in the future but with more details about the complex figure John A. Macdonald was.
Meanwhile, reactions to the statue’s removal have been mixed. After the statue was removed Saturday morning, the plaque that went in its place was vandalized.
The plaque, which outlines the reason why the statue was removed, appeared to have scratches in an “X” formation on the weekend, and “communism” and “1984” added later. The city has cleaned up the plaque that now resides in front of city hall.
But all markings were removed by 10 a.m. Monday.
With files from CBC.