Reconciliation talk focuses on controversial figures in Victoria’s history

Reconciliation talk focuses on controversial figures in Victoria's history
WatchIn 2018, Victoria councillors voted to remove the statue of Sir John A. MacDonald from the front of city hall. That decision led to heated protests. It's also led to much more discussion about the future of controversial historical figures in the city. 

A non-descript plaque is all that remains of the John A. MacDonald statue in front of Victoria city hall.

Two years ago, council voted to remove the statue of Sir John A MacDonald. As the architect of Canada’s residential school’s system, his statue was seen as a barrier to Indigenous people visiting city hall.

But that decision sparked heated protests.

READ MORE: John A. Macdonald statue taken down from Victoria City Hall

Mayor Lisa Helps stood by the decision to remove it. But any future decisions will involve more discussions.

“It was absolutely the right decision to remove it. The decision to remove the statue has led to this reconciliation dialogue series,” Helps said.

Hundreds are expected at Monday night’s event, one of Victoria’s Reconciliation Dialogues,at the Victoria Conference Centre for a discussion about Sir John A. Macdonald.

Organizer Dr. Cindy Blackstock believes there is so much interest because of recent events with First Nations across the country.

“I think that Canadians do care and we should all be speaking up so that those solutions actually get manifested in the real lives of not just Indigenous people, but non-Indigenous people too.”

Helps said the public response to the series is overwhelming.

“I was very very heartened. We had the first dialogue here at City Hall and it was literally so crowded that our fire chief said, you’re going to have to find another venue,” Helps said.

The event began at 6 p.m. at the Victoria Conference Centre.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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