After a lengthy, and emotional debate, Regina City Council voted in favour of removing the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald from Victoria Park on Wednesday.
The motion, which passed 7-4, will see the statue put into storage for a maximum of one year as the city searches for a new home for it.
The statue has been a hot issue since 2020, in regards to Macdonald’s role in the implementation of the residential school system.
Those that voted against the removal include Councillors Bresciani, Hawkins, Shaw, and Findura, as they pushed for a full and inclusive public consultation process.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting Mayor Sandra Masters wants it to be clear they are not trying to erase history.
“We’re not interested in erasing history, this is not cancel culture,” she said. “We’re interested in putting it in a place of education and respect for contributions to history, as well as some of the legacy that is perhaps negative for our community,” Masters said.
When the statue is re-homed, there will be a plaque depicting Macdonald’s full legacy, including his involvement with residential schools and Indigenous segregation.
Masters said those who are concerned that the statue will stay in storage longer than planned, need not worry.
“The commitment that I have an I know other councillors have, is to ensure we find a home for it that is respectful, in terms of his (Macdonald) being the father of confederation,” Masters said. “The city of Regina exists because the CPR Rail came through our city, and that is significant in and of itself for our history,” she said. “So I would very much like to see something like a hall of history, that’s something I did say in executive committee,” Masters said.
The statue was built in 1967 and is part of Regina’s Civic Art Collection.
(Files from Drew Postey)