A statue in Montreal is once again stirring up controversy. A petition to remove the Sir John A. Macdonald statue in downtown Montreal is circulating and has gained over 2,100 signatures. The statue to perhaps Canada's most polarizing political figure has been at the centre of controversy and has been vandalized several times over the past few years.
The petition's organizers are calling on the Plante administration to remove the monument, which they say celebrates the legacy of a "racist, colonial, white nationalist" on unceded Indigenous land.
"The very fact that this monument exists is an example of the whitewashing of cultural history, and true 'reconciliation' does not include the glorification of those that actively pursued Indigenous genocide," write the organizers.
"In the words of art historian and McGill professor Charmaine Nelson: 'these monuments are not meaningless, insignificant, inanimate objects. Rather, they are being strategically used by white supremacists as a talisman in their tactics of racial hatred.
"'We must ask also if it is right that Black Americans be forced to live with public sculptures and Confederate flags as constant reminders of the supposedly noble white men and women who sought to hold their ancestors in bondage.'"
The recent anti-racism and anti-policy brutality protests in Montreal have renewed the motivation to remove the Sir John A. Macdonald statue.
Canada's first prime minister has a complicated and bloody legacy of Indigenous oppression and white supremacy.
An anonymous activist group calling themselves “anti-colonial zombies” has claimed responsibility for splattering o… https://t.co/kub9lN6X2z— APTN News (@APTN News) 1572562429.0
Sir John A. Macdonald is directly responsible for opening residential schools, established in 1883, to assimilate Indigenous children into European culture through systematic isolation, abuse, and cultural erasure.
Macdonald also oversaw the largest mass execution in Canadian history.
In retaliation for the Frog Lake Massacre, Macdonald brought the military to bear on Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan, hanging eight men said to be responsible for the Indigenous uprising.
defaced statues of sir John a MacDonald for the soul https://t.co/3rMK9bIDfO— optimus pride (@optimus pride) 1591628348.0
In a now shocking speech to the House of Commons in 1882, Macdonald explained how government agents in Western Canada withheld food rations from starving Indigenous people to save money.
"I have reason to believe that the agents as a whole […] are doing all they can, by refusing food until the Indians are on the verge of starvation, to reduce the expense," said Macdonald.
"Montréal public spaces should celebrate collective efforts for justice and liberation, not genocide and white supremacy. This is not a stand-alone issue," said the petition's organizers.
"There are many monuments of racist white nationalists in Montréal- and one by one they will ALL see their fate."