John A MacDonald (Kyle Schole / Instagram)

The City of Victoria is hosting a public meeting to discuss the future of the controversial Sir John A. Macdonald statue that was removed from in front of city hall in 2018.

The free event is being held at the Victoria Conference Centre at 6 p.m. on Monday March 2nd and has already sold out online.

Led by members of Lekwungen Nations and the City Family, Dr. Cindy Blackstock, Mayor Lisa Helps and members of City Council, the meeting will start with a theatrical presentation about the life and work of Sir John A. Macdonald.

See also: Victoria mayor issues apology, pledges to relocate John A. Macdonald statue

As a disclaimer, the organizers of the meeting state that the purpose “is not to determine or debate the future home of the statue, but rather to help inform Council decision-making on next steps.”

The controversy surrounding the statue first emerged in August 2018 when Victoria council voted to remove the statue of Canada’s first prime minister John A. Macdonald that adorned the front steps of Victoria City Hall.

The decision to remove the statue was reached following a year-long process in which council created a City Family and met once a month with First Nations members.

While MacDonald is largely known for being the first Prime Minister of Canada, his legacy is complicated by the fact that he was instrumental in implementing Canada’s residential school system in which thousands of Indigenous children lost their lives.

Shortly after the statue was removed, Mayor Lisa Helps issued an apology for not including residents of the city in the decision.

“I didn’t recognize the great desire of Victoria residents to participate in reconciliation actions,” wrote Helps at the time. “The process going forward will enable this.”

The meeting on Monday evening is one of a six-part series of conversations that aims to “explore together what Reconciliation could look like”.

While online tickets have already sold out, organizers encourage people to still drop by the venue to see if space opens up due to last minute cancellations.

Sir John A. Macdonald in Conversation

  • When: Monday, March 2nd, 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
  • Where: Victoria Conference Centre, 720 Douglas Street.

 

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