WARMINGTON: Father of Confederation’s statue history but his legacy can’t be erased

While the city of Victoria is about to tear down a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald, the province of Ontario is ready to stand him back up.

But will they be allowed to?

Or are the history re-writers going to scrub the Father of Confederation’s legacy all together?

Either way, the new Premier Doug Ford-led Progressive Conservative government wrote to British Columbia capital city’s Mayor Lisa Helps on Friday asking that Canada’s first prime minister’s statue be repatriated to Ontario to be proudly erected once again.

“As father of Confederation and our first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald holds a significant place in the hearts of many Canadians and should be honoured accordingly,” wrote Todd Smith, House Leader and Minister of Government and Consumer Services. “Sir John A Macdonald built and shaped this country and province. He connected the west to the east under one flag and one name.”

Letter from Todd Smith, House Leader and Ontario’s Minister of Government and Consumer Services, to Lisa Helps, the mayor of Victoria, B.C.

Now, not only will the bronze statue be toppled and removed instead of enjoying a new life and location in his home province of Ontario, the City of Victoria has decided to put him in mothballs and hide him away in a storage facility.

Scottish-born Macdonald, who at 18 years and 359 days is Canada’s second-longest serving prime minister, was a member of parliament for both Kingston and Victoria. He was also instrumental in creating the national railway that connected the country from east to west.

Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, is shown in an undated file photo. (The Canadian Press/National Archive of Canada)

Yet, citing concerns some Indigenous groups have with Macdonald’s speeches and policy positions following 1867’s confederation, a decision was made to remove his statue from outside of Victoria’s city hall.

The Ontario government says it will gladly take the historic artifact off their disrespectful and history-altering hands.

“Our government goes not believe his memory and legacy should collect dust in a storage facility,” wrote Smith. “The government of Ontario is offering to take ownership of the statue and we will proudly display the statue on Ontario government property.”

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For a while there it was looking like some common sense could help save the statue. But not for long.

“We are not getting rid of the statue,” Mayor Lisa Helps told The Sun, “It was a gift to the city.”

Disgracefully the answer is no.

“We will have a continued dialogue with the nations and the community as to the best place, way and context to place the statue that balances commemoration with reconciliation,” Helps said.

At this point that location will be a storage lock-up.

Lisa Helps, mayor of Victoria, B.C. (City of Victoria web site)

Earlier the city of Victoria vowed to remove the statue on Saturday and “install a plaque that details the city’s path of reconciliation with the Lekwungen peoples, the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations that led to the removal of the statue.”

Helps said in online post: “It is not until we began this witness reconciliation program that I learned about the role that Canada’s first prime minister played in developing residential schools, the effects of which are well-known to be still felt today both by school attendees and their children and grandchildren.”

The post says a “cleansing, blessing and healing ceremony” will be performed on that spot.

No word on what her plans are for dealing with crime, homelessness and drug abuse which, like the first nations problems, will not in any way be solved by this repugnant decision.

I find this punitive and selective erasing of many conservative historical figures’ achievements repulsive and a result of constantly bowing to revisionist bullying. So it was refreshing to read Smith’s letter, witness Ford’s resolve and see Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer tweet, “We should not allow political correctness to erase our history.”

The artist who sculpted the bronze statue in 1981 says he won’t stand in the way of its removal, even though he stands by his creation.

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“If my sculpture can engender a discussion about the violence inflicted on Native Peoples, then frankly, I am honoured,” John William Dann Tweeted Friday. “I am not sure that removing the sculpture is the best way to accomplish this, however, the sculpture belongs to the city and it may do with it as it pleases, governed, of course by law, including artists’ rights.”

Macdonald’s many grand achievements far outweigh his flaws and ideas from a very different time. Yet he and his character have long been vilified by the liberal left for political gain. And it’s still happening.

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This is also not Mayor Helps first foray into rejecting Canada’s history and traditions. When elected in 2014 she refused to take an oath to the Queen at her swearing-in ceremony, despite that fact her city is named after the very queen Macdonald served under.

She said that was for the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations too.

“If we really are sincere about reconciliation, we need to remove the statue, put it safely in storage and have a continued and larger conversation about the complex role that John. A. Macdonald played in Canadian history,” she told reporters.

This will start by locking up and hiding away the Macdonald statue.

Ontario PC energy critic MPP Todd Smith during question period at Queen’s Park in Toronto, Ont. on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. (Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network)

Smith strongly reminded “tearing down statues does not erase the past” and that “history is complicated and Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald’s history is complicated but serves as an opportunity to learn — for our students, for our visitors and for our decision-makers.”

Smith said he was hopeful “our staff can co-ordinate the transportation and delivery of the important monument.”

It would have been fitting to transport Sir John A. Macdonald back east by rail.

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Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies

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