Charlottetown metropolis council has voted to completely take away a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald from a downtown intersection as a response to current revelations about Canada’s residential faculty system.
The choice late Monday adopted a vigil earlier within the day the place demonstrators positioned 215 pairs of sneakers subsequent to the statue of Macdonald, whose authorities launched the residential faculty system in 1883.
The sneakers have been in reminiscence of the 215 kids whose stays have been lately found on the website of a former residential faculty in Kamloops, B.C.
Charlottetown council had been planning to enhance signage and add an Indigenous determine to the Macdonald statue however determined to take away it fully on account of the general public outcry over the Kamloops discovery. Mayor Phillip Brown mentioned he has been flooded with emails.
“I’ve obtained emails like I’ve by no means obtained from residents earlier than,” he instructed the council assembly. “They simply mentioned, ‘This has actually struck a chord with me. Please do one thing now.’ ”
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Coun. Greg Rivard, who pushed to have the statue eliminated, mentioned the town had a chance to ship a robust message to the province and the remainder of the nation.
“That is my historical past of Sir John A. proper now: After I stroll by that statue, as I did right now, it jogs my memory of 215 kids who have been discovered final week,” Rivard mentioned. “That’s what it means to me proper now.”
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About 80 folks attended the Monday morning vigil on the nook of Queen Avenue and Victoria Highway the place the statue is situated.
“We’ve laid out 215 pairs of sneakers as a visible reminder of these little lives that have been misplaced,” organizer Lynn Bradley instructed the group. “2 hundred and fifteen pairs of sneakers, 215 hearts that now not beat, 215 households that deserve solutions, 215 leaders that can by no means be, 215 tales that can by no means be instructed.”
Somebody has splashed crimson paint on the palms of the statue, and Bradley instructed the group that the crimson paint represents the blood of harmless kids.
The statue has been vandalized quite a few instances previously 12 months, and Charlottetown metropolis council had determined lately so as to add an Indigenous determine on or close to the bench the place the determine of Macdonald is seated.
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Bradley inspired the group to make use of their voices to talk for the kids.
“Let’s not depart right here with anger,” she mentioned. “Let’s depart with love and a promise that we’ll do our greatest to make sure this type of horrendous act won’t ever occur to a different baby in any state of affairs. Nor will it ever be forgotten.”
Charlottetown councillor Alanna Jankov mentioned the choice to take away the statue doesn’t erase historical past. “We’re not eliminating historical past, we’re eliminating a statue,” she mentioned.
The statue can be positioned in storage, and council should decide in a while what to do with it.
This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Might 31, 2021.
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