The board of the cemetery housing the remains of Canada’s first prime minister has voted against relocating a statue of him at his gravesite citing his alleged flawed history.
Originally the statue was housed at Kingston City Park, but city officials had the statue removed last year pending further action.
Cataraqui Cemetery board members have since shut down a plan to relocate the statue to his place of rest.
“This update today is the first time staff were made aware that a reconsideration by the board was underway,” said Kingston’s director of heritage services Jennifer Campbell.
“As recently as June 27, staff were in communication with the assigned board representative to co-ordinate the completion of a site survey, as part of confirming the detailed mounting/installation plan.”
City councillor Jeff McLaren spoke out against the statue’s removal saying that “erasing history” was a bad move.
“I propose that this former statue space be used to present the perspectives of the different groups who were affected by Sir John A. Macdonald’s legacy,” said McLaren.
“The city should allow each group to commemorate in a culturally suitable fashion. Erasing history is never a good policy. However, it is by adding perspective that we advance history. This requires respect for the truth. This requires respect for the truth — especially when it isn’t a truth one likes.”
“Sir John A. Macdonald has achievements worth celebrating and commemorating. His achievements are not diminished by his flaws,” he continued.
The controversy surrounding Macdonald has also reached the federal government. Last year, a Toronto Star report prompted the federal government to delete a biography of Macdonald when Canadians tried to access Macdonald’s biography on Library and Archives Canada.
“Within hours of the Star requesting comment from the agency on Friday, notes appeared at the top of the Macdonald and Laurier biographies saying the pages had been ‘archived on the web,’” the article claimed.