Statues of Canada’s first prime minister and founding father, Sir John A. Macdonald, are disappearing or being vandalized across the country. The latest action occurred on Tuesday, the Globe and Mail reports.
Last week, Victoria, B.C. removed a statue of the Canadian icon and put it in cold storage. It even refused a request from the Ontario government for ownership of the monument. Member of the Provincial Parliament Sylvia Jones decried the city’s decision and told the Ontario legislature that “history matters.” Federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer criticized the “political correctness” of the statue’s removal.
But despite the pushback, attacks on Macdonald’s memory and his statues continue. Vandals desecrated a monument in Montreal with red paint Friday, leaving the message that the former prime minister was a “white supremacist” who “directly contributed to the genocide of Indigenous peoples with the creation of the brutal residential schools system.”
Then copy-cat vandals also used red paint Tuesday to protest Macdonald’s legacy in Regina, Sask. It was the second time this year that the statue was defaced; however, the vandals left no message to attempt to justify their crime.
Macdonald is in disfavor with some for similar reasons that revisionist historians are reshaping the memory of American titans from Thomas Jefferson to Stonewall Jackson: their attitude on race did not reflect the values and assumptions of 2018. As far Macdonald committing “genocide,” many critics consider this a suggestion a flagrant attempt at moral equivalency, suggesting the late-nineteenth century conflict between European settlers and First Nations was akin to the Holocaust.
The Trudeau government, despite chronically apologizing for various alleged historical wrongs, has not jumped on the anti-Macdonald bandwagon, urging restraint as far as the statue purge goes. When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about removing the name of Macdonald from federal buildings, he ruled that action out, saying “I can say, unequivocally, there are no plans by the federal government to change the name John A. Macdonald off of anything in our responsibility.”