11 May 2021 0 Comments Posted By : CBC News

Charlottetown's John A. Macdonald statue defaced again

Charlottetown's downtown statue of Sir John A. Macdonald has been defaced again, this time with red paint across its face. 

The statue at the corner of Queen Street and Victoria Row has created controversy because of Macdonald's role in the creation of residential schools for Indigenous people.

Charlottetown Deputy Chief Brad MacConnell said an investigation is underway. 

"We do have several cameras in the area that we're reviewing video footage, and as the investigation unfolds … we will certainly keep the public updated."

Many on P.E.I. have called for the removal of the statue, and discussions about removing it have taken place at Charlottetown council.

In the time those discussions have been going on, the statue has been tipped over and defaced several times, with red and yellow paint as well as chowder.

The city paid $1,700 to clean up red paint on the statue last summer, and $1,200 to remove yellow paint from it in March of this year.

An official with the city said it cost $1,200 to clean the statue Friday.

The Native Council of P.E.I. issued a statement, saying "the repeated vandalism of the Sir John A. Macdonald statue located in downtown Charlottetown is a sad indication of the growing frustration from Charlottetown's Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents."

"NCPEI does not condone these acts of vandalism and strongly favours peaceful discussion over violence."

NCPEI said it will continue to consult with the Aboriginal Consultation Working Group (ACWG) to "explore alternative solutions that address reconciliation and understanding of Sir John A. Macdonald's divisive past."

Committee meeting on May 5

This week, Charlottetown referred the question of what to do with the statue to its economic development committee, nine months after issues regarding the statue's offensiveness were first raised.

Coun. Julie McCabe is chair of the city's economic development committee and said a meeting was originally scheduled for May 19 to discuss the statue, but a special meeting of the committee has been called for May 5.

"The Sir John A. Macdonald statue is the only topic that will be on the agenda for this meeting and, as of now, it will be held in open session," McCabe said.

The idea is to take formal recommendations from that meeting to council on May 10.

City staff began covering up the statue around noon on Friday.

By 1 p.m. the statue was covered with a wooden and plastic frame to let the cleaners work, and the paint had been removed. 

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